“There is no way to genuinely, powerfully, truly love yourself while crafting a mask of perfection.” ― Vironika Tugaleva
‘Nobody’s perfect’ is a line that’s old as time. Growing up, we’ve heard this countless times in various environments or circumstances. On the other hand, there are people who are inclined to achieving perfection - these people are often called perfectionists.
Perfectionism is a personality trait that roots in the belief that self-worth is based on your achievements. Thus, people with this trait have the need to be or appear to be perfect, or even to believe that it’s possible to achieve perfection. As they struggle to achieve perfection, things get compromised along the way. In addition, for them, there’s a thin line between striving for excellence and perfectionism.
For some, perfectionism is positive. The truth is, not all of it. Just like other things, it has its own pros and cons. In this discussion, we’ll tackle the downsides of perfectionism.
Perfectionists achieve things because they are afraid to make mistakes but this holds them back from being their most successful, productive selves. They tend to criticise themselves for not being good enough that’s why they continue to chase after achievements thinking that it would make them happy. However, at the end of the day, they blame themselves for not getting as much as they want to be done, leaving a hole of unhappiness.
People with this trait fail to ask help from others that’s why they sulk when things don’t go as they planned. Plus, they lack self-compassion which deeply takes its toll when things get rough.
People striving to be perfect miss out a lot due to their ability to easily spotting mistakes, therefore wanting to correct them right away. They put a lot of effort into making things work out perfect, that they forget to stop and appreciate the things around them and being present in the moment. They get caught up in correcting mistakes, spending hours of their time doing it right.
At some point, they have a skewed perception of what’s good or not good enough. Perfectionists tend to inhibit themselves when they are busy making things right or how they want the result to be.
Due to lack of self-compassion, perfectionists have difficulty in letting things go even if it already belongs to the past. Self-forgiveness doesn’t come easy for them because when things go wrong, the first and only person they blame is themselves. If the results of their work are less than perfect, they automatically think that they are not good enough, thus, this circumstance will haunt them for a long time.
In addition, people who strive for perfection find it hard to let go of tasks - they fail to delegate. It’s their way of saying that they don’t trust other people because they might make mistakes (which perfectionists dread). They end up micro-managing despite their team’s good efforts.
Most of us want to have healthy relationships. However, it’s a challenging thing for perfectionists to achieve because they set high standards. There’s nothing wrong with it, but not everyone can handle being corrected with every move. Plus, being in a relationship with them means that they will prioritise work over their special someone.
Some perfectionists bring their work struggles into their relationships, lashing out at their loved ones when things are not going well. Truth be told, that’s a toxic relationship and some people don’t have much patience for that. In the end, perfectionists end up being alone because their actions push people away, including their family.
Perfectionism isn’t always bad, though. Despite its downsides, it can still be used for the better when you learn how to manage perfectionism and manage it such that it doesn’t compromise on your health or your life. There’s always room for improvements and give yourself time to work things out. Most of all, don’t be afraid to fail - it’s part of growth.