Is Perfectionism Bad? 5 Things Perfectionists Struggle With
Perfectionism is often hailed as a desirable trait in our society—after all, who does not want to be perfect? However, the reality is that perfectionism can actually be a double-edged sword, causing a host of challenges and struggles for those who embody it. From the fear of failure to the inability to rest and the constant striving for unattainable standards, perfectionists often find themselves battling a number of internal demons that can leave them feeling exhausted, alone, and unfulfilled. In this article, we will explore five of the most common challenges that perfectionists face, and offer tips and strategies for overcoming them.
Is Perfectionism Bad?
Perfectionism is often worn as a badge of honor, with some even believing it to be a strength rather than a flaw. But the reality is that perfectionism can take a serious toll on both our mental and physical health. Despite this, perfectionists are often masters at hiding their struggles behind a facade of everything being just fine. But the truth is, there are many things that perfectionists struggle with. So, let's dive in and explore some of the real struggles that come with striving for perfection.
5 Common Struggles of Perfectionists
Perfectionists may appear to have it all together, but they often struggle with a multitude of issues that can affect their mental and emotional well-being. Understanding these struggles can help individuals recognize and address any perfectionist tendencies and work towards a healthier, more balanced life. The five main struggles of a perfectionist include:
1. They tend to burnout
To start, perfectionists tend to experience burnout multiple times in their lives. They tend to overestimate their energy, resources, and how much they can handle, leading them to give too much too quickly. This ultimately results in burnout, which can be both mentally and physically exhausting. The problem is that even after recovering from burnout, they are still not fully convinced that it was caused by their perfectionistic mindset, expectations, and harsh self-criticism. So, they return to their old ways, pushing themselves to their limits, and eventually, burnout happens again. It is a vicious cycle that many perfectionists go through until they realize that they are human beings, not machines or robots. The pressure to be perfect and meet their own high expectations and those of others can take a toll on their mental and physical health, leading to burnout.
2. They cannot feel enjoyment
The second challenge of being a perfectionist is the lack of enjoyment and satisfaction in their accomplishments. Perfectionists may appear driven, enthusiastic, and motivated, but deep down they struggle to find joy in their lives. They often confuse productivity with happiness and fail to recognize the importance of taking a break to celebrate their achievements. Perfectionists tend to set their sights on the next goal without taking a moment to appreciate what they have accomplished. As a result, they fail to feel proud or satisfied with their success, and they do not experience the happiness that comes with it. They may feel a sense of emptiness or dissatisfaction, even though they have achieved so much. This lack of joy and satisfaction is the second struggle of being a perfectionist.
3. They feel lonely
The third challenge that perfectionists face is the loneliness that comes with their mindset. Perfectionists often feel the pressure to present themselves as competent and put-together, and admitting any struggles or vulnerabilities can be seen as a weakness. As a result, they may feel the need to keep their struggles and insecurities to themselves, leading to a sense of isolation and loneliness.
For example, a perfectionist may struggle with a task at work but feel like they cannot ask for help because it might make them look incompetent. They may also find it difficult to connect with others on a deeper level because they fear that exposing their flaws or vulnerabilities will make them less desirable or less perfect in others' eyes. This constant pressure to maintain an image of perfection can be exhausting and leave them feeling disconnected from others.
Overall, the perfectionistic mindset can make it difficult to form meaningful connections and feel understood, leading to a sense of loneliness and isolation. It is important for perfectionists to recognize that vulnerability and imperfection are a natural part of the human experience and seek support from trusted individuals when needed.
4. They lack meaning and direction
The fourth major challenge of being a perfectionist is the lack of meaning and direction. Although perfectionists may have goals and a sense of where they want to go, they often struggle to connect that direction with their personal values and meaning. For instance, a perfectionist may take a job or pursue a project simply because it is what is expected of them, rather than because it aligns with their values or gives them a sense of purpose. This can lead to a sense of confusion and emptiness, as the perfectionist may not feel fulfilled even if they achieve their goals.
It is important for perfectionists to take the time to reflect on what truly matters to them, what they value in life, and how their goals align with those values. Without this connection, the pursuit of perfection can feel hollow and unfulfilling. Perfectionists may also struggle to derive meaning from their successes, as they tend to downplay or dismiss their achievements in pursuit of the next goal. This lack of meaning and direction can also contribute to the fifth struggle of a perfectionist: emptiness.
5. They tend to feel empty
Perfectionists may find themselves experiencing a sense of emptiness despite achieving a lot in their lives, such as wealth, fame, and status. They may have become so focused on their goals and moving forward that they have detached from their emotions and experiences. Instead of being present in the moment, they were simply going through the motions to reach the next step in their plan. As a result, they may feel a sense of existential void and disconnection from their own feelings and experiences. This struggle highlights the importance of finding meaning and purpose in one's pursuits, rather than solely striving for external success. Perfectionists may benefit from taking the time to reflect on what truly matters to them and incorporating those values into their goals and actions.
The Problem with Perfectionism
As we wrap up this discussion on the struggles of perfectionists, I hope you are feeling empowered to break free from the chains of perfectionism and embrace a more fulfilling and joyful life. Perfectionism may seem like a badge of honor, but it comes with a steep price tag - one that costs us our mental and emotional well-being, our relationships, and even our sense of purpose. If you struggle with perfectionism, do not worry, you are not alone in this struggle, and there are practical steps you can take to overcome it. I wish you the best of luck in your journey. Take care.
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