What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a trait that makes life an ever striving quest for accomplishments or physical attractiveness. In small measure, it can be self-motivating and drive you to overcome adversity and achieve success. However, unhealthy levels lead to an impossible reality and unhappiness.  This striving for perfection can lead to negative outcomes like procrastination, a tendency to avoid taking on new challenges, rigid all-or-nothing thinking, unrealistic comparisons and a lack of creativity.

At it's core, perfectionism is not striving for success but actually an the avoidance of failure, resulting in a negative orientation.  It is the lack of belief in unconditional love and expecting approval and affection to be dependent on a flawless performance.

Many perfectionists feel unworthy, have low self-esteem, and have adverse childhood experiences.  Perfectionism is frequently accompanied by anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders and suicidal impulses.


Common Symptoms of Perfectionism:

  • Setting unrealistically high expectations for self and others

  • Quick to find fault and overly critical of mistakes

  • Tend to procrastinate a project out of a fear of failure

  • Dismissing compliments

  • Forgetting to celebrate successes

  • Looking to specific people in your life for approval and validation.


How can Counseling/Therapy help?

Because perfectionism is driven by a negative orientation, it requires the need to address faulty thinking.  Probing adverse childhood experiences and reframing them with more realistic thoughts is at the cornerstone of treatment.  A counselor can help you gain new perspectives about yourself and your goals. This may reduce your levels of negative emotion and even help you achieve your goals more efficiently.


Think you may have a problem with perfectionism?

Click Here to Take a FREE Perfectionism Assessment.