Perfectionism is not the pursuit of excellence. Perfectionists do not get genuine pleasure from striving to meet high standards. And, perfectionism is not healthy.
Perfectionists’ standards are so high they go beyond reach and are not reasonable. They set impossible goals for themselves. Their drive to excel is self-defeating.
Research has shown that perfectionists are vulnerable to some serious mood disorders. They tend to suffer from depression, performance anxiety, text anxiety, social anxiety, writer’s block, and obsessive-compulsive illness. They respond to perceived failure or inadequacy with a loss of self-esteem that can trigger severe depression and anxiety.
Many perfectionists are plagued by loneliness and disrupted personal relationships. This is common because they fear and anticipate rejection. Perfectionists are convinced they will be judged to be imperfect and this will automatically result in rejection. They believe others standards are as excessively high as their own. Because of this anticipation, they tend to react defensively to criticism which causes others frustration and alienation. So, perfectionists bring on the anticipated outcome by their own actions. This reinforces the irrational belief that they must be perfect to be accepted.
Disclosure phobia is also common among perfectionists. This resistance to sharing inner thoughts and feelings keeps others at an emotional distance. And their tendency to apply excessively high standards to others often leads to disappointment in others.
I suggest you complete and score the informal Perfectionism Quiz so you’ll have some idea of how perfectionist you tend to be.
Next week, we’ll discuss the three mental distortions perfectionists commonly exhibit that are nonproductive for effectively dealing with living.
Copyright 2011 Lynn Borenius Brown
© Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lynn Borenius Brown and The Loving Path with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.