9 ways that perfectionism can lead to burnout
First of all, let’s clear out a really common misunderstanding.
We believe that perfectionism is a healthy mindset that leads to perfect results, perfect achievements, perfect life, to perfection.
However, the truth is somewhat different: perfectionism is the stress we feel in order to be perceived as perfect by others or ourselves and the exhausting effort we put in order to deal with that stress.
In other words, perfectionism feels like we are not enough and we need to try more in order to become so. And when we say “try”, we mean try a lot.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Perfectionist
As we wrote in our previous article ‘How Much of a Perfectionist are you?’, perfectionists tend to feel that nothing they ever do is good enough; that they need to work unrelentingly in a bid to better themselves, or else there’ll be negative consequences. If a perfectionist feels he/she is not meeting the high standards they hold for themselves, they will often experience distress or inner unrest which can affect negatively their mood or result in anxiety.
With this description perfectionism sounds like a really unpleasant, unwanted trait. So why do so many of us personify it? Well, as behavioural psychology tells us, everything we do is done because we believe it will be of benefit to us (or it has benefitted us somehow in the past) - and perfectionism is no different. The perfectionistic thoughts described above breed by definition an intense drive to perform well, and their continued presence in our lives can be put down to the successes and external validation (who doesn’t love compliments?!) this increased drive once brought us.
How much of a Perfectionist are you?
Defeating anxiety, stress, negative thoughts, procrastination and fears has never been easy. And it never will be. Not because there is something wrong with us, or because we are doing it the wrong way, but because it is something that indeed requires from us conscious effort, time, practice and a lot of mental energy.
We are actually rewiring our brain: changing the neuron paths existing since childhood which take us a certain way, into a different path, where things happen in a different way and are linked to different thoughts.
This is a story, a pattern which comes up very frequently when discussing with people: we all want to know whether we made the right decion or now. Or we are struggling hard in order to be 100% that we will make the right decision in a given upcoming conflicting situation.
Take for example, those who live as expats in a foreign country.
They move to a new country for an unspecified period. They don't know whether it was a good decision or not. Some of them struggle with life there: don't like the place, the weather, the system, the people, the traditions, the mentality. And when comparing the new life with the former one, the latter is always the winner. At the same time, they keep asking themselves: “Did I make the right decision?" In the end, they may move back to their home country with a feeling of relief, but also bitterness regarding the time “wasted” there.
Some other expats, though, adjust pretty well to the new place. They have anticipated there would be difficulties in the beginning, but they are ready to compromise and to try. And above all, they never ask themselves if they made the right decision.
If we take the place as a stable factor, how come some of the expatriates feel they made the right decision while some others regret it and go back?
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.