Perfectionist Traits: Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

Do you often find yourself getting caught up in striving for perfection so much it holds you back from actually producing a good result? If so, you may be dealing with perfectionist traits. Perfectionist traits can be both beneficial and detrimental to personal growth, depending on how effectively they are managed. 

Understanding the common characteristics of perfectionism helps to identify it within yourself, as well as effective strategies for overcoming its potentially negative impacts. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the most common perfectionist traits and explore ways to effectively manage them.

What Is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a personality trait that refers to the tendency of people to strive for perfect or extremely high standards in their work, personal lives, and relationships. Perfectionists often have high expectations for themselves and for others, which can create stress and difficulty in meeting goals. They also tend to make more mistakes than people who do not have a perfectionistic personality traits.

While perfectionism can be a helpful tool in achieving excellent results, it can also be harmful if it becomes an obsessive habit. In healthy perfectionism, the goal is to balance striving for excellence while accepting responsibility for one’s own mistakes.

What Causes Perfectionism?

What causes perfectionism? Some people may be born with a strong sense of needing to be perfect, while others may develop it as a result. Perfectionism can be caused by a range of mental issues, such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), or personality traits such as self-criticism. The following are some reasons people suffer from perfectionist tendencies.

All-or-Nothing mentality

People with an all-or-nothing mentality try to do everything perfectly, or not at all. This can lead to them being very anxious and stressed out, as they are always worried about making mistakes. It can also be difficult for them to take risks, as they may feel they have to achieve 100% success in every situation. In short, an all-or-nothing mentality is detrimental to both your mental and physical health.

Being too critical of yourself and others

Being too critical of yourself and others can lead to perfectionism. This often results in people feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and unhappy. It is important to try to be less critical of yourself and instead look at your achievements in a positive light. When you are positive and focused on your goals, you will be more likely to achieve them.

Letting fear push you

Letting fear push you.

If you’re afraid of failure, then you might be pushing yourself too hard to be perfect. It’s important to remember that failing is part of the process of success. You can’t be successful if you don’t try at least 100 times. So, embrace your fear and give it a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Setting your standards too high

Setting your standards too high can lead to perfectionism. This can be very difficult to live with, as it can often feel like you’re not good enough. It’s important to set realistic standards and try not to overthink things. Ultimately, it’s best to just go with the flow.

Focusing too much on results

While it may seem like achieving perfect results would be beneficial, in reality, it can be damaging. When you are constantly striving for too much perfection, you can lose focus on what is important, eventually hindering progress. When you establish realistic goals and allow for mistakes, you can achieve great things while still enjoying the process.

Letting unmet goals take control

People who are usually categorized as perfectionists tend to let unmet goals inhibit their future performance. This might be because they think that if they don’t meet their standards then they will look bad in the eyes of others or it might just be a habit that they have become used to.

Either way, it is important to try and break this habit to achieve better results in the long run. When working towards a goal, do not let yourself get bogged down by what you believe are unimportant details. Instead, focus on the bigger picture and see how you can make your goals a reality.

Is perfectionism bad?

 Perfectionism can be good or bad, depending on how often it is used and what the results are. If perfectionism is used excessively and leads to a lack of results, then it can be considered bad. However, if perfectionism is used responsibly and leads to better results than if it wasn’t used at all, then it can be considered good. It is important to use perfectionism responsibly so that you can achieve your goals and improve your skills.

Perfectionist traits and characteristics

Like most traits, there is no one-size-fits-all definition of a perfectionist. But generally speaking, these individuals are highly driven and obsessive about achieving their goals. This can lead them to work excessively hard and become easily stressed. In addition, they tend to be very critical of themselves and their abilities, which can make it difficult to take risks and advance in their careers or personal lives.

Despite these challenges, some perfectionists do manage to reach impressive heights. However, it takes a lot of patience and determination. Two qualities that tend to be in short supply for this subset of people. So if you’re struggling to overcome any of the traits mentioned above, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to work through these challenges and reach your full potential.

Perfectionism and burnout

Perfectionism is often associated with a high standard of excellence. Perfectionists believe that if they don’t make every effort, there is a very high chance that they will not meet that standard. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and even burnout.

The high standards that perfectionists seek can be impossible to reach and often result in needless stress and pressure. This can cause a person to feel overwhelmed and unable to complete their work or tasks due to the intense pressure they are under. In extreme cases, perfectionism can become a mental disorder, resulting in serious damage to the individual’s well-being.

Tips to overcome perfectionism

Person sitting at their computer looking stressed out

Practice Self-Compassion

We all have moments when we feel down about ourselves. It can be difficult to practice self-compassion, especially if we’re perfectionistic. But it’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes and everyone has times when they don’t feel good about themselves.

Self-compassion doesn’t mean self-pity. It means understanding and accepting ourselves as we are right now. When we practice self-compassion, we learn to be kind to ourselves even when we don’t feel up to it.

Be more flexible

Perfectionism can be a very rigid mindset and can prevent people from adapting to changing circumstances. But with training and practice, anyone can become more adaptable, and able to adjust their behavior and attitude to achieve their goals.

By being flexible, you’ll not only be able to more easily adapt to new situations, but you’ll also set yourself up for success in the future.

Step out of your comfort zone

To stop being a perfectionist, you need to get out of your comfort zone.  To escape our comfort zones, we need to be willing to put ourselves out there and experiment a little bit. There’s no shame in trying new things or taking risks as long as you’re comfortable with the results. After all, life is too short to waste time stuck in our own little world.

Understand that mistakes will happen

Don’t be afraid of making some mistakes. It’ll help you learn and grow. Making mistakes isn’t always a bad thing. It shows that you’re willing to take risks, try new things, and expand your horizons. So start taking some leaps, and see where life takes you!

Stop going back over your work

People who are classified as perfectionists tend to spend a lot of time going over their work, in an effort to make sure that it is perfect. Sometimes, the first draft is good enough and doesn’t need to be changed.

However, perfectionists often become obsessed with their work and lose sight of other aspects of their lives. Try to relax and stop being worried about making mistakes. This will make it much easier for you to achieve your professional goals.

Don’t be too critical of yourself

 If you’re a perfectionist, you may feel like you’re never good enough. It’s hard to be perfect in every instance, but that doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up. Try to remember that it’s impossible to be perfect, and focus on doing your best. Don’t be too critical of yourself, and you’ll be more likely to see the success and happiness you deserve.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Person comparing themself to others.

People who are considered to be perfectionists tend to compare themselves to others to measure their worth. They often become extremely anxious and worried about how they measure up in comparison. This can lead to a lot of self-judgment and stress.

It is important to remember that everyone is different and that comparing yourself to others is not always a fair or successful process. Instead, focus on your own accomplishments and strive for excellence in what you do.

Stop spending so much time on the small details

We often try to be too perfect and spend too much time on the small details, but is it really worth it? It’s important to remember that the small details don’t matter as much as we think they do. These small details can take up a lot of our time. It’s important to determine if the small details are actually worth the effort. Cutting corners is not always a bad thing.

Trust your gut

Trust your gut! First instincts are often correct. Don’t be afraid to make decisions based on what feels right to you, without second-guessing yourself. The second-guessing part is something perfectionists often struggle with. Try to eliminate the second-guessing as much as you can. 

Celebrate your successes

person celebrating

Everybody enjoys success once in a while and that includes perfectionists. Perfectionists tend to forget to celebrate success even when something goes right it’s not good enough, and that can be detrimental to their mental health in the long run.

When you DO celebrate your successes, make sure it’s done in a way that makes you happy and doesn’t put too much pressure on yourself. Remember, life is full of bumps in the road and sometimes things don’t go as planned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still achieve your goals. Just take a deep breath, roll with the punches, and keep going!

Ask for help if you need it

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your perfectionism, it’s OK to ask for help. You don’t have to be perfect, and trying to meet unrealistic goals can lead to frustration, anxiety, and even depression. Talking about your concerns with a trusted friend or family member can help you feel better and make progress. You may also find that a therapist can provide helpful support and resources.

Try to not overthink it

If you want to achieve something, you mustn’t overthink things. This can lead to frustration, as overthinking can make it difficult to get things done. The key is to focus on the task at hand, and then take steps toward completing it. If you find yourself constantly worrying about what could go wrong or how you can improve upon a previous step, try to stop and take a breath. Stopping yourself from overthinking will help you out a lot in the long run.

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