10 Signs of a Perfectionist and How to Change

Don’t we all want to be perfect? But what exactly is perfect? Is it what the media portrays it to be? I personally don’t think it is, I think it’s what we perceive it to be, we all have our own definition. So why then, do some people strive so hard for perfection?

I will admit it, I used to be a perfectionist. I would strive so hard to be “perfect” at something and mentally beat myself up when I wasn’t. It wasn’t healthy and I had to stop it, it was making me more on edge about things and upset over little things. Striving for perfection didn’t do me any good, it just felt like too much pressure. Do you know that feeling of unwanted pressure?

Are you a perfectionist? 10 Signs you may be a Perfectionist:

  1. You obsess over a mistake you made. You might even cry about it.
  2. Competitiveness. You can’t stand when people do things better than you.
  3. You take entirely too long to complete a task and are constantly trying to think how to make it better/improve it. You want things “just right”.
  4. You’re extremely self-conscious about making mistakes in front of others.
  5. You may not ask for help since it could make you look “weak”.
  6. You are a fault-finder and demand perfection from others. (things might have to look or be how you like it)
  7. You’re eager to please others and give into high demands.
  8. You take things too personally and may get defensive easily.
  9. Other people’s failures or mishaps might make you feel better.
  10. You carry a lot of guilt.

Even if you have just a few of these 10 signs, you could still be a mild perfectionist.

     “Perfection= Stress. Know that you can give your best to anything, but to be perfect at everything is not realistic.”

So are you striving for perfection? If not, are you placing pressure for it on someone else (kids or spouse)?

A lot of people put pressure on their kids or significant other, but what people really need to do is embrace what they’ve created, or who they are with. If you point out too many shortcomings it will just lead to that person having a low self-esteem. I’ve even known some couples that constantly nit-pick one another and it’s one thing to want to help your significant other improve, but it’s another thing if you are trying to make them your type of “perfect”.

While I’m on the topic of relationships, it’s also stressful to look for someone who is “perfect”. Not that anyone should settle, but people should have realistic expectations and be realistic about who they want to be with. Again, we all have our own definitions of perfect. I may want to be with someone who is kind, loving, sweet, funny, attractive, responsible, respectful, fit, determined, motivated, into nutrition, loves their job/hard worker, and is not clingy and to me that is my “perfect” guy. To someone else, that may not be perfect, “perfect” could include wanting to veg out all day and be really relaxed with a guy who’s very affectionate/clingy. Some men might prefer to be with someone who wants to be a housewife and mother and own a house and dog. Well I don’t really want kids or a dog so I am not what most men want. The point I am getting at is there are so many variations of what’s perfect, not just what society leads us to believe is perfect. So why shape ourselves to be perfect for one person if it’s not who we really are. If you’re with someone you’re trying to make perfect, realize you can love them just the way they are, and if they aren’t your “perfect” let them go so someone else can love them just the way they are.

Why and How You Should Fix it

One thing I learned in school is that people with a Type-A personality or people who strive for perfection and put too much on themselves just leads to stress, and stress leads to Coronary Heart Disease. Do you want to give yourself a heart attack? No, I don’t think so. So instead of being so hard on yourself, know that you don’t have to be superwoman or superman. You won’t let anyone down but yourself, and you can change that.Try meditating and doing self-love practices. Think in terms of “so what if I don’t make this perfect or do that perfect? Is anyone going to fault me? No, just me. I am being my own worst critic.” It’s important to recognize that no one places the pressure on you, but you. And you alone, have the ability to fix that. If you fear you cannot come to a loving and accepting place on your own, I recommend counseling.

For the sake of your long-term health, please realize that this stressful, anxious, compulsive habit is not healthy and needs to be taken care of. People say that depression is a disease or disorder, but perfectionism is also an unhealthy mental disorder. I only say it from love and I know it can be hard to admit when you have an issue, but when you finally let go of the pressure of perfectionism, you get to feel more free, happy, and alive.