Perfectionism: a term often glorified in our society, synonymous with success and high standards. But beneath its polished exterior lies a complex and often detrimental mindset. It’s the unrelenting pursuit of flawlessness, driven by the fear of failure.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into what perfectionism really is, some telltale signs that you may have a less-than-healthy dose of perfectionism running through you, and provide you with five practical tips from a psychologist in North Carolina to help you break free from perfectionism. We’ll also explore how a therapist in North Carolina can help you on this transformative journey.

What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is way more than striving for excellence or setting high goals; it’s an extreme and unhealthy desire for flawlessness. Those who grapple with perfectionism tend to set unrealistically high standards for themselves and others, leading to persistent feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Perfectionists often tie their self-worth to their achievements, making them vulnerable to high levels of self-criticism, negative self-talk, and feelings of lowered self-worth and self-confidence.

Signs of Perfectionism to Look Out For:

  • All-or-Nothing Thinking: Perfectionists often see things in black and white. If they can’t do something perfectly, they may not even attempt it, leading to procrastination or avoidance.
  • Never Feeling Good Enough: Perfectionists are their own harshest critics. They consistently feel that their efforts fall short, even when others praise their accomplishments.
  • Fear of Failure: Perfectionists oftentimes dread making mistakes or failing, which can lead to a freeze response, hindering both personal and professional growth.
  • Procrastination: Sometimes, the fear of not meeting their own impossibly high standards can lead to chronic procrastination. They may delay tasks indefinitely rather than risk imperfection.
  • Micromanagement: Perfectionists may also micromanage tasks or find themselves struggling when not in control of everything, which can strain relationships and create unnecessary stress.

5 Tips for Moving Away from Perfectionism:

  • Reframe Your Thoughts: Challenge the all-or-nothing thinking by reframing your thoughts. Instead of demanding perfection as the only appropriate end goal, aim for progress and learning. Understand that making mistakes is an integral part of growth.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Break your goals into smaller, achievable steps. This not only makes them more manageable but also helps you to celebrate those small, deserved victories along the way.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend. When that internal monologue starts ramping up ask yourself, “Would I say this to a friend? Would I let a friend say this to me?” Remember, nobody is perfect, and it’s okay to have flaws.
  • Seek Feedback: Instead of fearing criticism, welcome it as an opportunity for growth. Constructive feedback can help you improve and reach your goals more effectively.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Incorporate mindfulness practices and relaxation techniques into your daily routine. These can help you manage stress and anxiety, reducing the perfectionistic tendencies.

Share your thoughts and comments.

Our members are talking about this article on Belongly.
Register today and join the conversation.

Dr. Bate leads several therapy groups, which may be accepting clients. As a PSYPACT provider, Dr. Bate can service clients in over 30 states and jurisdictions. Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT) under the PSYPACT* Commission E. Passport issued 2/11/21 Mobility Number # 6459. Specialty areas: Queer and/or gender diverse folx, couples/relationships, and families. Trauma, PTSD, grief, bereavement, loss. Substance use/substance misuse, addictions. Relationship stressors and communication issues. Student-athlete stress. Court-ordered therapy and sex offender treatment. Mental health evaluations in the context of high-conflict divorce. Criminal and Civil Forensic Assessment. Email: [email protected] to schedule your free consult or request an appointment here. I help people who feel stuck, numb, or who are gripped by grief, loss, and unresolved trauma experience deeper, more fulfilling relationships and life outcomes. I assist people and families working through addiction find a path towards wellness. I work with individuals who may feel lost, scared, or alone to better understand their gender identity, sexual, relational, and romantic orientations. I also help intimate partners and families understand each other and communicate more effectively, including about matters of identity.

Keep Reading

Want more? Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in.