LeaderShift Project ArticlesFrustrated artist

How Perfectionism is Ruining Your Life

It might be hard to believe, but I’m a #recoveringperfectionist. Before overcoming perfectionism, I used to focus on insignificant details and worried so much that that my personal life suffered. But the sad truth is NOTHING IS PERFECT. But flaws make us who we are and by working on them, we reach closer to an ideal version of ourselves. I’ve grown and left those toxic mental habits behind, but striving for perfection can, and has, ruined lives.

What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism is finding ways to make a creation or a result better than what it actually is. But a perfectionist will never be happy with their work. Perfectionists will always think the result is not good enough or it could have been better. There are people who believe that perfectionism is a healthy way to motivate yourself to be better. That is only true- but only when you know when to stop and accept the final product. Toxic perfectionism can fill you with depression, anxiety, anger, insomnia, and OCD tendencies. These impossible high standards will eat away at you. Perfectionism can be good, but toxic perfectionism can slowly ruin your quality of life and affect relationships that are near and dear to you.

Symptoms of perfectionism

  • The feeling of failure in everything you try.
  • Struggling to relax and share your thoughts.
  • Become controlling and of others.
  • Become obsessed with work and rules.
  • You procrastinate to find your wanted result.

How perfectionism ruins you

  1. Perfectionism gives you false motivation

Perfectionism is a lie. It’s constantly telling you that your hard work is not enough. It could have been better. You can do better. You should have done better. That little voice in your head belittles you. The point is that nothing can be made perfect. There will always be some flaw. Nobody lives a perfect life or nobody is perfect at their job. Your frustrations on imperfections will slowly kill you. I am not saying don’t try, realize when it’s enough and this is as far as you can go.

  1. Creativity is lost

Creativity, I argue, is another way to embrace imperfections. High standards can lead to successes, just look at the Renaissance sculpture Pietà by Michelangelo Buonarroti. And he knew it to be a masterpiece because that’s the only work he’s ever signed. But achievements like these make it easy to forget that every artist, successful CEO, thought-leader, multi-billionaire has seen failure before success. Deep down, we know that perfection is unattainable and that’s why we tend to chase towards things that are safe and easy to obtain. But I insist that you live with #noregrets. Be brave. Chase your dreams. There will be many struggles and many failures, but it’ll be a life worth living. Do not let perfectionism kill your dreams. See where your imperfections take you.

  1. Criticism becomes difficult to accept

“Flawless.” “Impeccable.” Perfectionists seek for these compliments and if feedback is anything but “perfection”, they become broken. A perfectionist thinks anything not perfect is downright worthless. They do no comprehend different views and the concept of “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Every leader knows that you cannot make everyone happy. After receiving criticism, a perfectionist will literally work day and night to reverse it. But even Picasso didn’t churn out masterpieces every time he sat down to paint. Perfectionists need to realize that there are some flaws you just can not fix. Criticism is meant to help you, not to ruin you.

  1. Perfectionism slowly eats you away

What I mean by this point is that your addiction to perfectionism is slowly killing you, making you exhausted and there will come a point when you will have a creator burnout. You won’t be able to make anything. The live example of this is the content creators of YouTube. Every now and then you will hear a content creator taking a break because of creator burnout. They work on their YouTube projects for so long thinking it will be the next big hit and they try to make it perfect. But if it doesn’t work out they hit a major wall that forces them to leave on a big break from their job as a content creator on YouTube. Perfectionism constantly makes you want to double check if your work will be good enough. People need to stop chasing perfection as it becomes exhausting at one point and you just cannot make more unique creations. It damages your imagination and blocks your ideas. Know when to stop perfecting one project and start working on the next.

  1. Perfectionism is stealing your happiness

Perfectionism is… kind of boring. You have this unique opportunity to do anything with your life and yet you choose to focus on one thing. You are thief of joy! (which quote is that movie from?) Your lack of flexibility is stealing your happiness of work. Perfectionists also tend to take control of others, ultimately harming your relationships, in work and in your personal life. Remember: enjoy the little things. I recommend you watch the Pixar movie “Soul.” There’s a scene in the movie that embodies everything about that quote, and it may even help you cope with living an imperfect life.

Consequences of perfectionism

Medical studies have shown that people who are perfectionists often suffer from depression, anxiety, obsessiveness, compulsiveness and even suicidal thoughts. They struggle to find happiness in flaws. Pride is something perfectionists don’t experience very often. So, they keep on pushing themselves until they are burnt-out. People with perfectionism have been seen to have test anxiety. They are socially awkward. They sometimes face a creative block that they just cannot overcome and because of their perfectionism often times they are lonely, impatient and frustrated with their life.

Do not let perfectionism ruin your life.  Find out your definition of “done” and stop there. Practice mindfulness with yoga, meditation, journaling, even something as simple as walking outside can help. Trust me, it’s time to detox. The constant desire to be perfect makes it difficult for you to live your life to the fullest and undermines your success in all areas.

If you are committed to overcoming perfectionism, join me and other recovering perfectionists in an 5-week journey to detox your life of impossible high standards.

Learn more about my latest offering, “Perfectionism Detox: Rewire Mental Habits To Be More PRESENT, PATIENT, AND POISED.”

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment