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Overcoming Perfectionism

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Definition: A combination of excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations

Perfectionistic Traits:

1. All or nothing thinking - perfectionists rarely feel a sense of achievement, anything less

than perfect is equated to failure.

2. Highly Critical - perfectionists tend to be critical of themselves and others.

3. Unrealistic Standards - perfectionists set goals that are often unachievable and then

weaponize any failure against themselves leading to creating a loop of negative thinking.

4. Results focused - perfectionists are unable to enjoy the process toward a goal because

they are highly attached to a perfect result.

5. Fear of failure - because perfectionists put so much emphasis on results being perfect, it

can feel scary to try new things or enjoy the process of learning new skills.

6. Defensive - perfectionists' fear of failure leads to defensiveness with any form of

feedback that recommends change.

7. Procrastinate - perfectionistic people often struggle to start projects or complete projects

because they are haunted by the need for it to be perfect.

Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

Become aware of the tendency - take time to think about and observe your thoughts and tendencies, note how you feel about failure and how you talk to yourself about failing.

Set achievable goals - Reevaluate your goals to assess more accurately how achievable they are. Setting smaller, more manageable goals can reduce anxiety.

Allow yourself to make mistakes - Reframe how you see mistakes. Allowing yourself to make mistakes, especially when learning something new, can enhance the experience and make it more enjoyable.

Learn to accept criticism - making mistakes is a normal part of learning and being able to listen to constructive feedbacks leads to a greater understanding in the process.

Avoid comparison - Comparison is the thief of joy. If we focus on others and compare ourselves, it makes it much harder to enjoy the process of learning new skills.

Try not to procrastinate - Procrastinating is a hallmark of perfectionism that can lead to greater negative self talk. Try and just begin a rough draft, allowing for it to have mistakes. Getting started is the hardest part.

Seek assistance from a licensed therapist - if the above tips are not helpful, seek therapy. Therapists can help reframe thoughts and reduce the amount of negative self talk and, ultimately, increase self-esteem.

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