Many of us learn from a young age that approval from others only comes when you achieve a certain standard, and there are negative consequences when you make mistakes. At school for example, children are praised when they get full marks and provided with negative feedback when they fail. It is natural for human beings to want to be praised, seek approval and avoid criticism. The dilemma with this however is that we can internalize these expectations and lead a life where nothing ever feels quite good enough. You may be thinking that high expectations help you to achieve goals, to stay motivated and perform well. Perfectionism is different from just high standards, however, in that the standards are unrelenting, impossible to achieve and can lead to mental health problems.
Constant pressure to achieve “perfection” and failure to achieve this leads to low self-esteem, self-blaming, anxiety, stress, depression and eating disorders. If you also hold perfectionistic expectations for others, you may be at risk of feeling disappointed, frustrated and experiencing relationship difficulties.
If you find that you fear failure, disapproval from others, and that you have high expectations for yourself (e.g. I should be able to do more than this, or I must go to the gym every day), then it may be helpful to keep reading this article….
How can you manage your perfectionism?
Psychologists help many people who have perfectionistic traits and attitudes. If you have any questions, would like to find out more about perfectionism or talk about how it is affecting your personal or professional life, please get in touch. I will be more than happy to help you!