What Is Healthy Perfectionism?
I'm sure you've heard about perfectionism, or you are already a perfectionist, and that's why you're reading this post.
Maybe your perfectionism is ruining your life, or maybe it's just holding you back from reaching your potential. I've already discussed how to overcome perfectionism in a previous post, so you can check that out first.
Perhaps you're quite successful and owe it to your healthy perfectionism. This term might sound like an oxymoron, but perfectionism doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Let's explore what healthy perfectionism is, how the term can take on a negative connotation, and what it all means.
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What is healthy perfectionism?
There are different types of perfectionism, but in general, perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by high standards and a need for perfection.
Healthy perfectionism is perfectionism that leads to positive outcomes, such as improved performance or increased motivation.
On the other hand, unhealthy perfectionism is perfectionism that leads to negative outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
Some experts believe there is no such thing as healthy perfectionism because perfectionism is, by definition, an unhealthy obsession with perfection.
Others argue that healthy perfectionism exists and is useful in moderation.
For example, healthy perfectionism can be a motivator. It can lead you to set high standards for yourself and strive to meet them. It can help you with your career because you can be the best at what you do.
Healthy perfectionism can also help you persevere in the face of setbacks and overcome obstacles.
On the other hand, unhealthy perfectionism can be debilitating.
It can lead you to believe that you are never good enough and that you will never accomplish anything.
It can also lead to anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
Characteristics of healthy perfectionism
You set realistic goals, and you strive to achieve them without obsessing over them constantly.
You tend to learn a lesson from a mistake, and you're not afraid to try again.
There's no fear and shame associated with not being perfect. You're able to take constructive criticism without feeling like a failure.
You are at ease with the constant demands of a "high-achiever" mentality.
You like to be organized and have an orderly life.
Plans aren't a big source of stress - you enjoy planning ahead.
You are focused on solving problems instead of creating more with your perfectionism.
Characteristics of unhealthy perfectionism
Even if goals are unrealistic, you exert additional effort to achieve them.
You have difficulty completing projects, such as missed deadlines, incomplete crafts, or a fear of beginning something new.
You're constantly critical of your own efforts or other people's efforts.
There's a sense of being never satisfied with accomplishments – there is always room for improvement.
It appears that work is only valuable if it is completed flawlessly.
Your fear of failure causes difficulty with decision-making.
Each accomplishment increases the pressure you put on yourself.
You tend to conceal failure from family and friends.
Because of the need to maintain an illusion of perfection, it is difficult to form meaningful relationships.
You expect flawlessness from a partner, child, friend, or coworker.
You continuously repeat past errors.
Now, as you can see, perfectionism can have both positive and negative effects.
It all depends on how you deal with it. There are many tips and tricks to deal with perfectionism.
If you have healthy perfectionism, you're able to set high standards for yourself and achieve them without letting perfectionism take over your life.
If you have unhealthy perfectionism, you may be putting too much pressure on yourself and not enjoying the process of achieving your goals.
What separates healthy perfectionism from unhealthy perfectionism?
The line between healthy perfectionism and unhealthy perfectionism is often blurred.
It can be difficult to tell when perfectionism is helpful and when it is harmful.
One way to tell the difference is to look at the outcomes of perfectionism.
If perfectionism leads to positive outcomes, such as improved performance or increased motivation, then it is considered healthy perfectionism.
If perfectionism leads to negative outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, then it is considered unhealthy perfectionism.
Another way to tell the difference is to look at the motivation behind perfectionism.
If perfectionism is motivated by a desire to improve or succeed, then it is considered healthy perfectionism.
If perfectionism is motivated by a fear of failure or a need for approval, then it is considered unhealthy perfectionism.
Can perfectionism be a good thing?
Yes, perfectionism can be a good thing.
As long as it doesn't lead to negative outcomes, such as anxiety or depression, perfectionism can help you set high standards for yourself and achieve your goals.
Healthy perfectionism is motivated by a desire to improve or succeed.
It can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.
Those who strive for excellence and have high expectations for themselves and others but who view setbacks as learning opportunities rather than indicators of inferiority are the best type of perfectionists—achievers with high standards of excellence.
So yes, there is such a thing as good perfectionism, and it's not all gloom and doom.
What is the root of perfectionism?
The root of perfectionism is often a need for approval and fear of failure.
If you have a need for approval, you may be more likely to set perfectionist standards for yourself.
You may also be more likely to strive for perfectionism in order to please others or gain their approval.
If you have a fear of failure, you may be more likely to set perfectionist standards for yourself.
You may also be more likely to avoid taking risks or trying new things for fear of not being perfect.
Both a need for approval and a fear of failure can lead to unhealthy perfectionism.
If you want to be a healthy perfectionist, it's important to root out these negative motivations and instead focus on positive motivations, such as a desire to improve or succeed.
Perfectionism is often seen as a negative trait, but it doesn't have to be.
There is such a thing as healthy perfectionism, which is motivated by a desire to improve or succeed.
Healthy perfectionism can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.
If you want to be a healthy perfectionist, it's important to root out those pesky negative motivations, such as a need for approval or a fear of failure.