Published: 03/23/2015 - Updated: 12/29/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Do you know someone that can only see the mistakes? Do you feel like someone (or yourself) is constantly criticizing? Do you feel peaceless and incapable of enjoying something because you’re always “lacking” something? Do you worry excessively about things that don’t go your way? Well….you need to know what it means to be a perfectionist, then.
Perfectionists aren’t always recognizable at first sight. There are a lot of ways one can desire to be perfect: some people are perfectionists with their work, others are so with their bodies or image, others are with sports or personal relationships, creativity, order and house cleanliness, etc. Some people don’t seem perfect at home, and yet at work they are. Some people could seem careless with their appearance and yet in their art, everything looks perfect.
Being a perfectionist means that you want the results of something that is important to you, to be “perfect”. Expectations are high, perfectionist expect too much of others or of them themselves, they don’t give in or give up until they have achieved that they imagine to be perfection. They have a heightened and more acute sense of criticism and generally tend to focus on mistakes or outward errors. They are very competitive and generally crave outward flattery or approval.
These individuals tend to want everything to always be perfect, and they focus closely on things that don’t meet their expectations of ideas of perfection. For example: a perfectionist that focuses on personal appearance will immediately notice other peoples’s lack of personal hygiene, whereas perfectionists at work will notice everything that they perceive as mistakes at work.
And yet, individuals that try to make everything “perfect” could end up being very dedicated to their work, they could polish their dreams and ideas brilliantly, and make businesses or their own dreams grow into grandeur, or surpass the daily norm.
Virtue or Flaw?
Being a perfectionist can help to polish and enhance things that one wants or visualizes, but it is also true that being excessively perfectionist could create obsessive behavior that could isolate one or cause one to lose emotional contact with one’s surroundings.
This is the case, for example, for bulimic or anorexic individuals that, in trying to achieve a perfect figure or image, become obsessed with the idea and create serious food disorders. We could also talk about how a lot of housewives that, in their obsession to make everything orderly and perfect at home, stop enjoying things, even their kids and family, and become slaves to their order. Their sense of humor and their attitudes revolve around this perfection.
You need to be alert to perfectionist attitudes and not allow them to overflow into enjoying life. Whenever you stop enjoying your body, your children, your partner and work, in order to make everything perfect, you are falling into obsessive attitudes that could prevent both physical as well as mental and emotional well-being.
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Perfectionists tend to have health problems like gastritis, due to their anxiety, headaches and migraines, problems with their eyes related to ocular tension, etc.
If you find yourself to be acting out perfectionist attitudes, try to meditate about things and lower your demands and criticism. Accept more and expect less. Don’t think that this is going to make you mediocre or that things won’t work: you’ll be able to perform the same or more, if you enjoy yourself and relax. Remember that life was meant to be enjoyed, not to become slaves to expectations.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/29/2017
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