Perfectionism- Guest Blog By Atlanta Therapist Rachel Doreanu, APC
Perfectionism can cause you to feel stressed. anxious, and add pressure to yourself. Thank you Rachel for writing this guest blog post about perfectionism.
Perfectionism, it’s often shared in interviews or conversations as a strength, but is it really? I’m going to break down the different types of perfectionism and how perfectionism can affect you and others in your life.
The three types of perfectionism:
This can look like high standards, being a bully to yourself, overthinking your actions, and not feeling good enough.
This can be when you have high standards for others, criticize them in your head or aloud, and others may feel belittled or that they can’t live up to your expectations.
Socially prescribed perfectionism
This can be when you feel that others have high expectations for you and that you can’t live up to their expectations.
I know that when I was younger I felt more of the socially prescribed perfectionism and as I got older I related to the self and sometimes others oriented perfectionism. Which ones might you relate to?
Perfectionism can affect many aspects of your life.
Maybe it’s affecting your job or schoolwork in which you feel a need to excel.
“I have to have straight A’s or I’m a failure.”
Or maybe it’s affecting your friendships, romantic relationships, parenting, or even your home life in which everything needs to be done a certain way.
“It’s only true love if my partner does x,y, and z for me.”
Perhaps it affects your inner life such as your thoughts or the way you “should” feel or look.
“I’ll never be thin enough to fit into size X.”
Do any of these ring a bell for you?
There’s nothing wrong with having standards for yourself and others. However, it can quickly become a problem.
When we have high standards for ourselves in which we can’t achieve, it can lead to unhelpful self-talk, a negative mindset filter, and sometimes disordered eating habits. Unhelpful self-talk can look like “I’ll never make enough money to do x,y, or z” or “I’m too ugly and shy to make any friends”. A negative mindset filter is when you live life through a distorted lens and see anything that happens in life or to you in a bad way.
When we have high standards for others in which they can’t achieve, it can lead to criticism, resentment, arguments, and negative mindset filters as well. Criticism can look like “Why did you do that” or “How can you be so stupid?”. Resentment can build quickly if not discussed, it can look like being frustrated by your partner easily and lacking empathy for them. Negative mindset filters for others can sound like “I knew they’d fail anyway, why did I ask them to help with X in the first place?”.
Take a moment to reflect on your life and see if any of the above fit with your standards as well.