We may not realize it, but our desire to meet lofty, unrealistic standards may harm us more than it helps us.
As the level of competition in today's world increases, people are being held to insane standards of perfection that very few can actually meet. We're always pushing ourselves to be better because if we fall behind, we get left behind.
Unfortunately, the negative impact of this is that we're constantly judging ourselves and judging others, and being exacting to the point where it frustrates us and the people around us who see us going insane trying to be unrealistically perfect.
According to Psychology Today, here are the ways in which you may be ruining things for yourself with your perfectionism:
This can encompass a lot of areas in your life - you may be afraid to make impromptu travel plans because you're worried that you haven't taken into account everything that could go wrong, or you may refuse a job promotion because you don't feel completely suited to the task.
You miss out on a lot of opportunities for growth and for learning, and you never get to have unique experiences because you want to do everything right, without ever learning to go with the flow and enjoy the thrill of not knowing.
In order to overcome this, you need to push yourself to do the little things that you're not completely ready for before you can move on to bigger things that you're afraid to try. Write down the important things you need to do and tackle them, whether you can complete them perfectly or not.
When you feel like you have to reply to every mail and message or clean every single ornament in the living room or check all your social media accounts before moving on to other tasks, you may have a problem.
You find yourself obsessing about doing everything and doing them perfectly. You end up exhausting yourself and taking away precious time from doing important tasks such as that paper you had to write, or that call you had to make, or that report you had to draw up.
If you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of each task you need to accomplish every day, try to isolate what the most important parts of each task are. For example, if you need to clean your room - try to make it presentable rather than have every single shoe pointing in the right direction.
If your colleague can't make a presentation perfectly, with perfectly aligned borders and margins, matching fonts in all slides, and perfect grammar and punctuation, you will refuse to let him/her help you, even if you have no time to do it yourself before the deadline.
Even things that would benefit you, you may reject, because it doesn't match your high expectations. You may bottle your feelings up because none of your friends give you the reaction or response you want, or you may try to treat a toothache at home because your dentist filled your cavity and now you bite funny.
Try to acknowledge that a good but not perfect outcome is better than no outcome at all. If you can get a decent haircut instead of the magical aerodynamic haircut of your dreams, it's better than growing out a lion's mane and blocking the view of everyone three rows behind you at the movies. If someone does a task faster than you, try to learn how you can cut down on time yourself.
As self-destructive as never attempting a difficult task is aiming too high for even simple tasks and ending up making things too hard for you to do. You may decide to only write your research paper once you've read every single paper on the topic and realize 10 papers in that there's still 200 more to go.
When you burden yourself unnecessarily with demands and expectations from yourself of the standard with which you need to do a job, you eventually give up and abandon the project before it's done, which is deeply unsatisfying for you as a perfectionist.
The same advice for the second point applies here. Identify what the overarching goal of the task is and ask yourself what is the bare minimum you can do to achieve that. Resist adding too many layers or details to that, so that you can make it a realistic goal.
Do you often find yourselves hovering around other people, trying to make sure that they do everything exactly right? Do you love being 'helpful' and pointing out every single mistake that a person is making?
Not everyone has the patience to deal with constant criticism and correction, and sometimes you may find it hard to resist commenting on something that isn't done right. People may avoid helping you or avoid you altogether unless you find a way to relinquish control.
When you look at the details, you may eventually lose sight of the big picture. Try to hold back from fixing the little things and see if the outcome is still desirable. Then try to adopt the simpler methods the people around you use and see if that saves you time and effort. This can help you avoid frustrating the people who love you.
One of the ways in which perfectionists end up making things worse for themselves is because they are looking for perfect outcomes and solutions, but are often blind to short-term solutions that can make something better for a while.
You may even criticize colleagues, friends, or family members who have been trying hard to change for the better because you may think they haven't been doing enough, even if they've made remarkable improvements.
Rather than be dismissive of less than comprehensive solutions, see if they can ameliorate a problem in any way. And rather than look for the little mistakes or slip-ups, use your incisiveness to discover the tiny ways in which people around you are improving and acknowledge their efforts.
When you agonize over the logistics involved in planning a small get-together with friends, or you spend hours worrying about the minor details in a vacation, you end up losing hairs over what are supposed to be fun activities.
You can become exhausted by the little things that nag at you and eventually forget to give importance to tasks of high priority that require more planning. When you're undecided about something because you don't have ALL the information you need to make a decision, you ended up stalling and wasting precious time or overworking yourself.
To avoid falling into this trap, make sure that you condition yourself to focus on the most important things you need to do before you worry about the details. Try making decisions instantly by keeping in mind a benchmark for what is worth doing. For example, if a task has a deadline of less than a day, that takes precedence over everything else you need to do.Disclaimer : This article is for your entertainment / infotainment purposes.