Myths That Keep You Trapped In Perfectionism (Part One)
Do you feel constant pressure to meet your exacting standards? Do you feel that no matter how hard you try to do something that it is never quite “good enough?” If you answered “Yes,” you’re probably struggling with perfectionism. Perfectionism is an obsessive need to perform flawlessly.
As I’ve journeyed down the path of resolving my need for constant perfection, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons along the way; I want to share these with other people, who might themselves be looking to lighten their loads… but who aren’t entirely certain as to where they should begin.
There are many beliefs which the perfectionist turns to, in order that they might justify their behavior. These beliefs are comfortable, but they aren’t as true as we like to think. Sadly, these myths of perfectionism tend to hold one back from a healthier, more fulfilling, and less stressful lifestyle. Today we will examine two of the most common myths of perfectionism I hear from other perfectionists—and previously struggled with myself.
Myth #1: You Would Not Have Your Current Level of Success Without Your Perfectionism
While there is no doubt that you have worked hard for your current level of success, your perfectionism could actually be holding you back from further achievement. The line between striving for quality work and a compulsive need to make a project better than it currently is (and then even better than that) is a thin one. This urge can easily be mistaken for simple dedication, when all it is doing is stressing you out. This stress can make you difficult to work with on collaborative projects, can take away from the creative process, and may often lead to an irrational response to any criticism.
Studies show that the “practice” of perfectionism does not lead to any substantial improvement in the quality of one’s work, as compared to the results exhibited by those who are not burdening themselves in this fashion. It may even, as often as not, be detrimental to your efforts, which leads directly into our next myth.
Myth #2: Perfectionists Always Do A Better Job
The truth is most perfectionists struggle with procrastination, and their need to get things “just right” often leads to missed deadlines and lower levels of productivity. As a perfectionist, even a small, otherwise simple task can become overwhelming, as you strive to make every step, every part of your results perfect.
Many perfectionists see the projects they are working on as very black and white. Their work is either good or bad, excellent or garbage but never somewhere in between. As they continue to try and improve the minutest detail, they quickly reach a point of diminishing returns. They end up getting bogged down by too spending much time on aspects of theirwork which really aren’t that important.
Psychologists point out that awareness is the often the first step to change. By shedding light on these myths, you will be that much closer to overcoming them and living a happier and healthier life.
In tomorrow’s blog post, I will examine two more myths that often keep people stuck in perfectionism.
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