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The pressure of perfectionism.

Person concentrating at a computer

Do you ever experience the pressure of perfectionism? Perhaps we could think about being organised as a spectrum? On the one side we have perfectionism and on the other side chaos. Being on the far end of either side is not ideal. What we want is to be in the middle.

Obviously our habits can be difficult to change though. So how do we get nearer to the middle?

Unhealthy Perfectionism and our Mental Health

Being organised has many benefits. But there is such a thing as excessive organisation. Unhealthy perfectionism is driven by internal pressures such as a fear of failure.  Secondly striving to meet expectations can be exhausting. We often blame ourselves or those around us when our unrealistic expectations aren’t met. This can negatively impact our relationships and it can cause conflict at home or at work.

The three domains of unhealthy perfectionism:

  1. Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself (Self-orientated perfectionism).

  2. Having unrealistic expectations from others (Other-orientated perfectionism).

  3. Perceiving unrealistic expectations from others (Socially-prescribed perfectionism).

What can happen when we blame ourselves?

  1. Anxiety.

  2. Depression.

  3. Self-criticism.

  4. Self-sabotage.

  5. Eating disorders.

  6. Procrastination.

  7. Rumination.

How do we break free from the pressure of perfectionism.

Due to the fear of failure some tend to adopt avoidant behaviours. As a result, our tasks aren’t completed and start piling up. Our growing To-Do-Lists can further increase the pressure. We can eventually reach a tipping point into chaos. So how do we break the perfectionist cycle, and adopt a healthy level of organisation?

Step 1

Recognise and accept that perfection is a hoax. It is unattainable not just to you but to everyone. You may fulfil a goal that you thought would bring you happiness, but your inner perfectionist will tell you otherwise.  “You could do better” or “You could have finished it faster”. Accept that being “perfect” is unachievable. You can begin to challenge and reframe these harmful thoughts.

Step 2

It is import to develop healthy goals within your capabilities. Because you can still strive to achieve your goals. Make sure your goals are realistic and can be achieved within the set timeframe

Step 3

Be patient with yourself. Especially making sure to give yourself room to make mistakes and learn from them.


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