Perfectionists: To Be or Not to Be?
By Pauline El Kallassi Mansour | 26 Jul 2013 | PERSONALITY PROFILE
Being perfectionist is a double edged-sword. It is very good to seek perfection and desire to develop oneself and achieve the best. However, many times, this desire becomes an obsession that drives the person crazy and renders his life miserable. In society, perfectionists are seen as very hard-working, successful and ambitious individuals. They are loved and admired as ideal people. However, appearances are not always reflective of what those perfectionists really go through deep inside.

There is a big difference between perfection and excellence. Seeking excellence involves enjoying the process which is not the case for a perfectionist.

People who are super-perfectionist are really harsh on themselves.  They are never satisfied with anything less than perfect. They have very high and unrealistic standards and goals which are very hard to meet; and hence they continuously set themselves up for disappointment.

Perfectionists deprive themselves from the pleasure of enjoying their work since they always find fault in it. They seem unable to forgive themselves for whatever mistake they do, which keeps them depressed sometimes and frustrated and mad on other times.

Perfection in itself becomes a burden on the person’s life: a burden that deprives the person from existing fully. 

Deep inside, perfectionists have an unconscious desire to win the approval, acceptance and affection of others through whatever success they achieve.   Nevertheless, what perfectionists need in the first place is to approve of themselves first and foremost.

A huge cornerstone for the perfectionist is when he learns to love himself as he is. It is a process of learning how to let go of unrealistic expectations and enjoying the moment irrespective of what ought to be.  It also calls the perfectionist to be kind to himself; and experience that he is good enough as an individual.

Perfectionists need to experience life as it is and let things just be. In addition, they need to recognize their ‘all-or-none’ thinking, which they have structured during their lives. For example, they think if something is not perfectly done, it is not worth doing at all.  As such, perfectionists need to let go of irrational beliefs and replace them with more adaptive ways of thinking in order to be able to live freely.

Psychotherapy can help perfectionists contact their feelings, anxieties, and fears in order to fulfill their needs in the healthiest way possible.  We are all humans after all; and being human is also accepting that things are not always perfect.

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