Did you know that there are actually some major drawbacks to perfectionism? Let’s explore some of the reasons why it might be time to give up your perfectionist ways.
Perfectionism is often lauded as a positive personality trait. After all, what’s wrong with striving for excellence? However, the problem is that perfectionism often comes with the negative side effects that often outweigh the benefits. In this post, I’ll discuss why being a perfectionist is bad.
After reading this you’ll be convinced to stop being a perfectionist.
Who is a perfectionist?
A perfectionist is somebody who has an extreme desire for everything to be perfect. They usually have high standards for themselves and others.
Actually, perfectionists can also be very inflexible, which can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, as well as a fear of failure.
We all know somebody who’s a perfectionist. They’re the ones who’re never happy with anything they do.
They tend to be very critical of themselves and can be quite difficult to work or live with.
Although there are benefits of being a perfectionist such as being highly organized, detail orientated, and able to focus well, the negative aspects of perfectionism usually outweigh the positives.
According to some researchers, there are two types of perfectionism. These are:
(1) Maladaptive: leads to emotional distress and workaholism,
(2) Adaptive: which is generally benign
Now, let’s discover exactly why being a perfectionist isn’t always a good thing.
10 reasons why being a perfectionist is bad
For many people, the pursuit of perfection can be a never-ending quest.
Whether it’s in our personal lives or our professional careers, we can often find ourselves constantly strive to reach an impossible standard.
However, here are 10 reasons why being a perfectionist is bad.
- Is linked to anxiety and depression
- Affects productivity
- Can be counterproductive
- Decreases creativity
- Can be isolating
- Is stressful
- Can be expensive
- Is unhealthy
- Will make you unhappy
- Causes fatigue and burnout
- Will affect your personal relationships
1. Perfectionism is linked to anxiety and depression
Being a perfectionist is bad because you’ll often set unrealistically high standards for themselves. As such, they are constantly at risk of feeling like they’re not good enough.
Unfortunately, this can lead to negative emotions such as anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive behaviors (OCD) especially when it interacts with other factors such as stress, social issues and cognitive behaviors of self-criticism and high achievement.
However, it’s important to note that anxiety, depression and OCD are mental health disorders and are very different from perfectionism.
For instance, perfectionist often welcome their behavior whereas persons with OCD realize that their behavior is doing a disservice but still feel “compelled” to do so.
However, numerous research have clearly shown a link between these disorders and perfectionism.
Read also: 10 Reasons why controlling your emotions and staying calm is important
2. Perfectionism can interfere with productivity
Perfectionists often spend so much time trying to get things “perfect” that they actually get much less done.
Plus, perfectionists find it difficult to delegate tasks; often assuming that they’re the best fit for the job.
According to literature, perfectionism turns you into “slaves of success.” In fact, maladaptive forms of procrastination will cause you to waste lots of time and energy focusing on small irrelevant aspects.
Read also: Why is personal productivity important?
3. Perfectionism can be counterproductive
Because perfectionists are so afraid of making mistakes, they often find it hard to take any kind of action or try new things.
They tend to put tasks off because of being afraid that they won’t be able to do them perfectly. This can lead to a lot of fatigue, stagnation and frustration.
As such, perfectionists miss out of lots of opportunities while you’re busy trying to do mundane tasks perfectly.
“The desire for perfection often leads to the awakening of the Procrasdemon. Allowing yourself to make mistakes is the single most effective way to get rid of it.” ― Neeraj Agnihotri
4. Perfectionism decreases creativity
Trying to achieve perfection is bad because it can actually lead to worse outcomes. This is because perfectionism can interfere with creativity and spontaneity.
Research shows that although maladaptive procrastination may produce higher quality work, it also results in lack of originality and spontaneity.
5. Perfectionism can be isolating
Perfectionists often have a hard time accepting feedback or admitting that they are not perfect. This can lead to them feeling isolated and alone.
6. Perfectionism can be stressful
Perfectionism is bad because it often leads to high levels of stress. This is because perfectionists are constantly worried about making mistakes and disappointing others.
7. Perfectionism can be expensive
Perfectionists often have a hard time accepting anything less than perfect, which can lead to them spending a lot of money on unnecessary things.
Research shows that perfectionism is bad because it often influences consumer behavior.
This is because the perfectionist will desire the very best products and are not as satisfied with products that are just “good enough.”
8. Perfectionism can be unhealthy
Being a perfectionist is bad because it can often leads to excessive behaviors and unhealthy habits.
This is because perfectionists often focus on their flaws more than their strengths which will eventually directly and indirectly affect their health and personal wellness.
9. Being a perfectionist can make you unhappy
Because perfectionists are never satisfied with anything they do, they’ll always be unhappy and frustrated. This is because perfectionism is an impossible goal.
10. Perfectionism will cause fatigue and burnout
Perfectionists often put a lot of pressure on themselves. As such, they have a higher tendency to be workaholics. Ultimately, this habit will lead to fatigue and burnout.
Read also: Expert strategies to recover from burnout
“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.” ― Criss Jami
11. Perfectionism will affect your relationship with others
Finally, perfectionism is bad because it can affect your interpersonal relationships. On the one hand, people who are perfectionists tend to be high achievers and often set high standards for themselves and others.
This can lead to greater satisfaction and success in relationships.
On the other hand, perfectionism can also lead to unrealistic expectations, disappointment, and conflict.
In fact, people who are perfectionists may have difficulty truly enjoying their relationships because they are always focused on trying to make them perfect.
Perfectionists may also put undue pressure on their partners to meet their high standards. As a result, perfectionism can sometimes be a barrier to having fulfilling and satisfying personal relationships.
Read also: 18 Tips for building relationship management and overcoming conflicts
Final words on why being a perfectionist is bad
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, maladaptive perfectionism is bad because it’s an unattainable goal. This means that perfectionists will always be disappointed and frustrated.
As highlighted, there are plenty of reasons why you should avoid perfectionism.
So, don’t be a perfectionist – it’s not worth it! Instead, focus on being your best self and enjoying the journey.
There’s no need to stress over every little thing – just let go and have some fun!
What are some other ways that you can try to let go of your perfectionist tendencies? Share with us in the comments.
What are some tips to overcome perfectionism?
If you’re someone who tends to strive for perfection in everything you do, it can be helpful to learn some tips for reigning in your perfectionism.
One helpful tip is to realize that imperfection is okay. This may seem obvious, but it can be difficult to internalize.
Understand that no one is perfect, and that mistakes are part of the human experience.
Accepting imperfection can help you to move on from small missteps and mistakes, rather than getting bogged down in them. Read more
How can I boost my personal productivity?
One of the most important skills in today’s economy is productivity. Being able to get more done in less time is a valuable asset in any field.
Fortunately, there are several ways to boost your personal productivity. Here are a few tips
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Kaur, Harprit; Kaur, Jojanjit (2011) Perfectionism and Procrastination: Cross Cultural Perspective. Vol. 5 Issue 1, p34-50. 17p. 3
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