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Is Perfectionism a Trap?

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Eye and writing

In today's society, we are constantly pushed to the point of perfection. With social media platforms, advertisements, and people who have become influencers, it seems as if there is no escape from the pressure to be perfect.

  • You get hung up on tasks through unnecessary procrastination.

  • You feel guilt and shame when you make a mistake or don't perform as well as you want. Your To-Do list is endless.

  • Perhaps you have a compulsion to organise everything.

  • Or you focus on the flows instead of what is working well! You tell yourself you need to be perfect.

Do any of these sound familiar?

While it might seem like perfectionism is a natural force that affects us all, achieving exceedingly high standards in the face of uncertainty often proves to be counterproductive.

There are going to be times when things go wrong. In many cases, a setback is a good thing. It teaches a person to move forward and learn from their mistakes.

As a person tries to achieve perfection, it gives them a sense of entitlement. Sadly this entitlement is not the way the world works. In contrast to this entitlement, perfectionism may

Many people believe that perfectionistic tendencies motivate people to do their best and achieve their goals. There is an aspirational value to perfectionism.

I believe the concept of perfectionism is a trap set for anyone who buys into it. Not only does perfectionism result in a lack of self-confidence and a sense of not being good enough for society, but it wastes valuable life opportunities.

The Cost of Perfectionism

Perfectionism can seem like a helpful tool to get the job done perfectly, but it is the trap that drains the creative energy. It ruins creativity and intimacy and can lead to self-sabotage.

Perfectionists often feel like they are good at tackling challenges, but research shows that they are more susceptible to depression and anxiety. Many perfectionists are rigid on themselves and hold themselves to unrealistic expectations. They do not stop to appreciate their accomplishments, and they will often apologise for something, even if it isn't their fault.

It is essential to find balance in your life. It would help if you were not so against mistakes that you cannot create anything. You can be your own harshest critic or your champion.

You defeat your self-confidence when you never let your work out in the open. Putting your work out in the open also gives you valuable feedback. It is about staying true to someone's work while still caring about liking it. It is about caring about what others think, but it is also about not obsessing over it.

Some are eager to point out that "perfectionism is not a solution to the problem of its name." For example, perfectionism is often seen as a lack of self-acceptance.

Many people become stuck in a state of "literally impossible" because they feel too pressured to be perfect. If they responded to this, they wouldn't be given the freedom to do what makes them feel most comfortable and motivated.

The problem hinders problems.

Being a perfectionist is often seen as a good thing, but this is not always the case. One of the dangers of perfectionism is that any result other than perfection is seen as a failure.

It can lead to demotivation, procrastination, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change, and social isolation.

Many perfectionists are also under tremendous pressure to fulfil their parents' expectations, leading to the feeling of being trapped.

The stress caused by perfectionism can lead to depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, anger issues, and physical health problems.

Is perfectionism a trap? It can be.

Many perfectionists are successful in their pursuits, but at what cost?

A perfect life is something that many strive for, but is it possible? What does it take to be perfect? Some people believe that to be the ideal student; they need to get straight A's. To be the perfect worker, they need to work so hard that they need four jobs. To be the ideal friend, they need to be the one always to send them texts and make them feel better when they're down.

Perfectionism is essentially a function of living up to expectations, and it stems from anxiety, trying to please others and a feeling of not being good enough.

Sadly, it has the opposite effect of what we strive for, giving us less control.

Perfectionism Creates Stuck Feelings

Perfectionism is an emotional problem that people experience when they obsessively micromanage everything they do. The problem with this type of personality is that it doesn't allow the individual to have any margin for error.

The following steps can help people avoid the pitfall of being a perfectionist:

  • Identifying the triggers

  • Replace worry with a realistic time frame

  • Determine what is MUST

  • Control the small things- Simplify

Research shows, perfectionism can be a trap, as the perfect life will "never" exist. The goal is to find a balance.

Finding Balance

The key to overcoming it is changing our real or imagined expectations and working on the limiting belief of not being enough.

I am no psychologist; I am sharing from personal experience and what has helped me over time.

Here are some of the ways I used and still use to embrace a good enough reality:

  • Being mindful and aware

  • Prioritise self-care

  • Challenge your thoughts

  • Replace your language to be more empowering

  • Concentrate on the action and what needs to happen right now instead of obsessing about the result.

  • Accept and embrace that being good enough is a good thing.

We can achieve just as much with less stringent standards. It's understandable to want everything to be perfect, but it becomes an issue when we never feel like our work is good enough or have unreasonable standards for ourselves.

When we fail to achieve our high standards, we feel guilt and disappointment, leading to low self-esteem.

Struggling to reach perfection can cause us to experience more stress, anxiety and depression. It's time you let go of this vicious cycle and embrace the "it's good enough" world.

Accepting that perfection is an impossible goal is a challenge because it's hard to get that our work can't always be perfect. When you realise that striving for perfection is not worth the struggle, you can be more productive by knowing there will be no perfect way to do things and focus on making progress.

Pursuing perfection is an unattainable goal, but this is what perfectionists set out to do. When you spend so much time and energy trying to be perfect, it backfires.

Is it time to break free from this trap that drains us of energy?


Nassia Skoulikariti

Founder/CEO Apiro Data Ltd

Get in touch and let’s build something great together!

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