It is often seen as a positive trait that boosts up the chances of success. However, it can lead to self-defeating behaviors and thoughts that really makes it harder to achieve one’s goals. On the other hand, it also causes mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
What is Perfectionism?
It is often defined as the demand to be perfect, and even to think or believe that perfectionism is attainable. It is always considered a positive trait instead of a flaw. It is a trait that makes life a report card full of positive looks and accomplishments.
To justify perfectionistic behavior, people may use the term healthy perfectionism. When healthy, it can motivate you and lead you to control adversity and achieve success.
Brene Brown, a researcher and writer at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, differentiates healthy behavior from perfectionism. She explains, “Perfectionism is not about doing struggle to be your best. Perfection is not about growth and healthy achievements.” She also explains that it is used by many people as a protection to defend against the pain of shame, judgment, and blame.
Examples of perfectionism
People suffering from clinical perfectionism can spend 30 minutes in writing and rewriting even a two-sentence email. They find it difficulty to be happy for others who are successful, and their main focus is just on the end product rather than the process of learning.
How to find a Perfectionism Therapist
If you are looking to find the perfect Perfectionism therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a Perfectionism therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.
Signs of Perfectionism
Most people experience perfectionism from time to time, usually when struggling in certain areas of life. People with complete perfectionism may always wish to achieve perfectionism in their goals constantly.
The following are some of the signs that an individual suffering from clinical perfectionism shows:
- They usually share their thoughts and feelings to get relaxed
- They become extremely apathetic and obsessed with rules and work
- They feel like they fail at everything they try
- Procrastination is a huge sign of perfectionism. They may be afraid of starting a task and may think that they will be unable to do it perfectly.
Types of perfectionism
There are few distinct kinds of perfectionism that exist, even though they share similar types of outcomes, behavior, and motives.
Personal standard perfectionism: People in this type of perfectionism adhere to a set of standards that always motivate them. This type of professionalism is found in those people whose goals make them feel energized and overwhelmed.
Self-critical perfectionism: This type of people are more prone to not achieving the goals they set for themselves. They criticize themselves so much that they feel demotivated. It has been found by several studies that it can lead to negative emotions such as self- condemnation, anxiety, avoidance, and distress.
Socially prescribed perfectionism: It explains the demand for superiority and excellence that is often placed on people with some job positions that need utmost precision. For example, medical professionals, lawyers, or architects suffer from this type of perfectionism. Individuals who experience this type of perfection are led to more stress, self-harm, hopeless thoughts, and even suicide.
Causes of Perfectionism
In the development of perfectionism, several factors can contribute.
Perfectionists suffer from a frequent fear of disapproval and feel insecurity and inadequacy. In addition, mental health issues like depression and anxiety can be also lead to perfectionism. There is a correlation between perfectionism and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It should be noted, however, that not all individuals with perfectionism have OCD, and not all the individuals with OCD are suffering from perfectionism.
Having parents who always show perfectionistic behaviour or disapproval can also lead to perfectionism. In addition, an insecure early attachment with someone is one of the main causes of it.
Individuals with a history of great achievements feel the pressure and stress to maintain their previous achievements. This can cause a perfectionistic behavior. It is driven by internal pressures, such as harsh judgment or the desire to avoid failure.
Perfectionistic tendencies have increased significantly among youngsters over the past 30 years. Professional competition and greater academic achievements are thought to play a role in it, along with the harmful social comparisons they elicit.
Treatment approaches for Perfectionism
Therapy is very beneficial to treat perfectionism. It allows people to reformulate their thoughts. There are three types of therapy treatment methods for perfectionism.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
It often addresses perfectionism. It helps the individual to understand that perfection is not the end goal of anything. It also helps to overcome the biases and beliefs of some individuals about some things they think need to be perfect. For example, it illustrates that because of one minor mistake, the struggle to reach your goals should not be stopped, and that we should continue trying to achieve our goals.
Self-help Strategies for Perfectionism
You can take the following steps to heal yourself if perfectionistic thinking is causing you stress. You can use one of these practices:
Be aware of self-talk
Do you use words like must or should or do you often put yourself down? If yes, then you need to think of positive alternatives for such negative self- evaluations.
Try a new hobby
It means to start something new at a beginner level. In learning processes, the likelihood of making mistakes is often high. At your current skill level, focus on enjoying a new activity, and instead of focusing on the end goal, try to pay attention to the learning process.
Mess up on purpose
Find out such a task that you think you are perfect in doing but don’t put in your 100%. Do so for a few times, and see the results for yourself!
Don’t despair if you see some of the above perfectionistic traits in yourself. Firstly, it is very important to identify a change that is needed towards achieving inner peace and more easygoing nature. Real success can be made by overcoming perfectionism. Therefore, being able to say Thank you is still an excellent job.
Further Readings on Perfectionism
About Expat Therapy 4U
Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.
The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.
Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.
We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.
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