"You're such a perfectionist"—if that's a compliment you often receive, it's time you woke up to the fact that it's not a good thing!
A perfect student, a perfect spouse, a perfect parent, a perfect employee—we set ourselves on an endless merry-go-round of perfection, an ouroboros of self-destruction. The prestige and value the society confers on being a perfectionist—is just unwarranted and insane.
We would go so far as to say that if one doesn't rein in their perfectionist propensities, they will actually go insane.
How do you know if you have a perfectionist personality?
Well, apart from the archetypical behaviors such as readjusting the photo frame because it's 3 degrees askew or alphabetizing your bookshelf—there are more nuanced, less obvious tendencies that are, nonetheless, self-sabotaging. Let's understand the inconspicuous yet detrimental signs of being a perfectionist.
You believe there's no such thing as "second-best"
You are one of those people who think that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades meaning that you don't consider it an accomplishment if you don't clinch the first position. You either get it spot-on or it's a fiasco—there is no in-between for you.
Your painstaking approach to specificity is difficult to keep up with
Being particular about your work or things, in general, is an admirable trait. However, when it comes to you—the perfectionist, the standards and expectations you set for a task, even if it's a small, unimportant one, is so lofty that if someone's efforts don't dovetail with your definition of perfectionism, you don't accept it.
You make it tough for others to work with you
This has got to do with your perfectionist trait we mentioned in the earlier point. Because of your fastidiousness and the inflexible yardstick by which you measure success—you engage in fussy fault-finding, making it an unpleasant and exhausting experience for those who work with you.
You find it difficult to open to people
Your perfectionism prevents you from forging bonds with others. You are afraid to show the real you. You like to be in control of your carefully constructed image at all times and would never risk showing your vulnerabilities and true emotions. Which is why you find it hard to connect with people and build meaningful relationships.
You don't take criticism in your stride
Constructive criticism serves as a motor for personal growth but not in your case. For you, criticism is an anathema that threatens to sabotage your "perfectionist" image. You swing into your defensive mode and do either of the two things—over-explain yourself or fly into a rage.
Your self-esteem is constantly fluctuating
You only feel good about yourself when you accomplish something. When you don't, you indulge in self-loathing and beat yourself for being a failure. Your self-esteem is shaky as you are constantly evaluating your worth as an individual on the basis of what you achieve and what you failed at.
You thrive on schadenfreude
Your perfectionist personality gets a boost when you see someone fail or make a mistake. It bolsters your perfectionist image and the sense of being the best.
You get too involved in the small details
There's a saying which goes—"You can't see the forest for its trees", which means that one is so focused on the minutiae aspects of a situation that they fail to see the whole picture.
A perfectionist is always caught up in the little details as a result of which they aren't just able to see the entire perspective on a situation but also exhaust themselves with overthinking.
You wait to start at some right magical moment
Perfectionism and procrastination go hand-in-hand. If you find yourself worrying about how people will receive your efforts or if you are ready to get down to it and just keep putting off a task on the pretext of not having yet found the "right time" to do it—it means that you are stuck in the perfectionism-procrastination loop.
You can't put mistakes behind you
Since your concentration is solely on "not making mistakes", you lose it when you make one—even when that mistake has no bearing whatsoever in the grand scheme of things. Instead of viewing mistakes as lessons, you take them as proof to mount the case against your competency.
Anything done in excess becomes toxic—the same also applies to perfectionism. If you can identify with most of these behavioral patterns, don't feel ashamed or guilty. Know that awareness about a problem is the first step towards fixing it. Pick one perfectionist personality trait and work towards managing it. You will get there!
Houcine Ncib, Tamara Bellis, Icons8 Team, James L.W, Giorgio Trovato, Obed Hernández, Sebastian Herrmann, Ernest Brillo, engin akyurt, Brooke Winters, Ashkan Forouzani, Dustin Scarpitti, Alessandro Cavestro, Ethan Sykes, Kent Pilcher