Have you ever struggled with the need for perfection and wondered how it affects your life?

I like to call myself a recovering perfectionist.  In the past, I have gone to extreme measures to be perfect.

However, what I’ve done in my past stays in my past.  I don’t have to let it define my future.

If you want to know if you suffer from these tendencies, then you’ll want to listen to this episode.  We’ll dive deep into what perfectionism is and how to break through where perfectionism may be holding you back.

What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a personality disposition characterized by an individual’s concern for flawlessness and is often accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and worries about others’ evaluations. Perfectionists tend to have very high standards and thrive on organization and structure. They’re ambitious goal-setters who have difficulty overcoming even small mistakes and are prone to procrastination.

We explored the fascinating and often challenging area of perfectionism. Many of us have wrestled with the need for perfection and felt its impact on various aspects of our lives.

Examples of Perfectionistic Behavior

Perfectionism is easier to spot when it broadly impacts many different areas of a person’s life but many people display specific perfectionistic tendencies in one or more areas of life.

Some examples of the more specific ways perfectionism can manifest include:

1. Body Image

Perfectionism is closely linked to eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, where it shows up as being focused on maintaining a certain weight or restricting to a certain number of calories. People with these disorders tend to have a distorted negative view of their body and resort to extreme and unhealthy habits in pursuit of attaining a specific goal weight or ideal body.

2. Academics

Perfectionists focused on academic achievement are often straight-A high-achieving students and tend to be anxious about their grades and distressed at grades less than a perfect score. They might read, revise, and edit a paper, project, or assignment several times to ensure there are no errors, and may even request other people look over it before they submit it.

3. People Pleasing

Perfectionists tend to be hypersensitive to the needs, preferences, and expectations of other people and have an intense fear of upsetting or disappointing others. This can lead them to develop unhealthy and possibly codependent relationships where they neglect their self-care to cater to the needs and wants of others.

4. Parenting Style

Some parents who struggle with perfectionist tendencies themselves may unconsciously put a lot of pressure on their children to excel in school, sports, and other settings. While well-intentioned, they may be critical when their child makes small mistakes or isn’t excelling. Parent’s disappointment and criticism can cause children to feel as though they only love and accept them when they meet all of their expectations.

5. Routines

Perfectionists may rely on a very specific, strict routine that involves doing certain tasks at certain times or in certain ways, and they may become upset or anxious when this routine is interrupted. For example, they might have strict bedtimes, exercise schedules, or meal plans that they need to adhere to.  Also, they may take on extra tasks and not ask for help because others don’t do it well enough.

However, we have two unique approaches to perfectionism: the creative perfectionist and the creative pragmatist. Understanding these approaches can help you navigate the complexities of perfectionism and equip you with valuable strategies to embrace imperfection.

Creative Perfectionist Approach

In the creative perfectionist approach, individuals often get stuck at the start, lost in the middle, or refuse to finish tasks due to their obsession with perfection. They may dread feedback and have a fear of failure.

Creative Pragmatist Approach

On the other hand, the creative pragmatist approach involves being pragmatic, sensible, and realistic. These individuals understand that there’s never an ideal time to start, are willing to produce ‘good enough’ work, and appreciate feedback as a means to improve their work. This approach can lead to less stress and more productivity.

Quick Ways to Manage Perfectionism

Beyond understanding and managing perfectionism, our episode also delved into the pivotal role self-compassion plays in boosting happiness and productivity. Life doesn’t always go as planned and learning to navigate these twists and turns with flexibility and kindness toward oneself can make all the difference. We invite you into a world where perfectionism is not an obstacle, but a trait that can be managed effectively.

Practicing self-compassion means being kind to oneself, maintaining a sense of humor in difficult times, trying to do difficult tasks, and allowing oneself to make mistakes. It involves understanding that perfectionism is a changeable personality trait and that you can manage it with practical tips and strategies. We encourage you to become part of our supportive community, where we offer resources and support to help you deal with perfectionism and enhance your happiness and productivity.

In conclusion, perfectionism can be a challenging trait, but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. By understanding its nuances, adopting a pragmatic approach, and practicing self-compassion, you can transform your relationship with perfectionism and enhance your happiness and productivity. We hope you found this episode insightful and empowering, and we look forward to accompanying you on your journey towards a happier, more productive life.

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