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Taking a closer look at perfectionism

Since you've decided to participate in this program then chances are either yourself, or someone around, you has identified you as being a 'perfectionist'.

A clear indicator being that you strive for high standards which push the limits of your ability and require a great deal of time and effort to uphold. 

Perfectionism is about more than just aiming high. It also involves a tendency to be overly self-critical when standards are not met and discount personal achievements.

 

Perfectionism may prevent a person from taking on a challenge or attempting a task as the fear of failure is so strong.

 

It can make even the most menial tasks feel excruciating because of the level of detail involved in 'getting it right'. These standards might apply only to yourself, or extend to include other people, or be applied to society as a whole.

Check out this video to find out more about perfectionism.

The desire to achieve is central to a perfectionist's self-worth, such that they will continue striving to reach goals even once the consequences of doing so is outweighed by the physical, mental, and emotional cost.

Common Negative Effects of Perfectionism

Common Positive Effects of Perfectionism

Emotional

Feeling stressed

Lack of sense of achievement

Feeling depressed

Low self-esteem

Social

Loss of social contact and time spent socialising due to time and energy spent on activities linked with achievement.

Cognitive

Poor concentration

Forgetfulness

Rumination (dwelling on something frequently)

Increased self-criticism

Physical

Poor sleep and night-time rumination

Exhaustion

Muscle strains 

Headaches

Upset stomach

Academic

Good grades or performance reports

Financial gain

Promotions at work

Praise from teachers or coaches

Social

Serves as a means to avoid social contact so more time can be spent working on meaningful tasks.

Praise and admiration from peers

Cognitive

Motivation

Competitive mindset

Single-minded focus

Physical

Improve physique due to excessive physical training or dietary restrictions

Perfectionism isn't all bad. If it were, it would probably be a whole lot easier to give up.

 

Many people with perfectionism fear mediocrity. The thought of not striving or achieving brings more anguish than the thought of having to work extremely hard all the time. 

Perfectionism can keep you stuck between a rock and a hard place: it disrupts your life but also brings the rewards of pursuing high standards.

 

Rewards such as social status, praise, career improvements, direction, and a sense of being busy.

 

Being focused on one task can give a sense of control and predictability, and, particularly in the case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or eating disorders, a sense of order in life. 

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