Are Perfectionists Truly Confident? The Perfectionism Paradox
When we meet a perfectionist we oftentimes see the image of a perfect person that is confident and has everything figured out. We tend to think that they are very successful, that they have their life together and are under control. Unfortunately, if you delve deeper into the mind of a perfectionist, you will soon realize that this is not true. Today we will uncover the paradox of perfectionism. Whether you are eager to learn more about perfectionism or you are a perfectionist yourself, I hope this article provides you with some valuable insights.
The Two Sides of Perfectionism
The reality is that there are two sides to perfectionists. One side is the one they project to the outside world. The other one is their internal experience; it is what happens on the inside. Perfectionists tend to project an image where they are seen as successful, positive, helpful, productive, efficient, supportive, resilient, and courageous. They also present themselves as being in control over their life. In short, they ooze confidence and calmness. But, there might be more than meets the eye.
The Inner World of Perfectionists
However, inside the perfectionist’s mind, there is something completely different taking place. Perfectionists’ inner world is marked by chaos, and by overwhelming and stressful thoughts. If you peek inside the mind of a perfectionist, you will find a lot of fear. They tend to struggle with paralyzing fear of failure, imposter syndrome, rumination, self-doubt, self-blame, indecisiveness, and procrastination. In other words, if you look past their cool and calm exteriors, you will find that the perfectionists’ mind is plagued by guilt, fear, and stress. Nevertheless, they do not show this to outsiders, you must dig deep to penetrate their seemingly cool and calm exterior.
Can Perfectionism and Confidence Coexist?
Can a person that is constantly feeling guilty, scared, and stressed be truly confident? Probably not. If you are scared, you cannot really be confident because fear stems from not believing in yourself. If you are stressed and feeling guilty, you are probably ruminating about the things that you did or have not done yet. So, as a perfectionist, you likely to never actually feel truly confident.
The Truth About Perfectionists
Then, why is it that when we meet a perfectionist, all we see if this perfect, cool, and confident person? Well, there is a word that can explain this: overcompensation.
In order to balance their insecurity, perfectionists put all their energy into projecting the exact opposite of what they feel unto the outside world (aka confidence). They portray the image that they are not scared about anything, that they are proud of themselves, confident in their abilities, successful and fearless. But, in reality, what they feel is the exact opposite. Deep inside, perfectionists do not feel that they are enough and have done enough. They even tend to think that they do not deserve rest, praise, or a pat on the back for their achievements. They simply do not see themselves as enough and that is why they keep running on this hamster wheel, endlessly chasing their unattainable high standards.
The Truth About Confidence
So, let’s delve into what confidence truly is and ask ourselves how does it look like when a person is confident?
A truly confident person would allow themselves to take a rest and have a break. They allow themselves to say “you have done enough,” “you do not need to try so hard all the time.” A truly confident person does not need to provide evidence of their success and demonstrate that they are important.
Moreover, in order to differentiate between true and fake confidence, we can look into fear of failure. A truly confident person allows themselves to make a mistake because they know that they are not defined by their mistakes, they recognize that mistakes are a normal part of life, and that they do not diminish all the progress they have achieved thus far. Confident people believe that no setback can take away their progress. In contrast, perfectionists believe that they are not allowed to make mistakes. They believe mistakes are detrimental to their progress and that they can take away all of what they have achieved and they will be back on square one. Failure for perfectionists is permanent. That is why they are terrified when they feel there is a chance of failure.
However, you might be wondering whether this means that perfectionists never experience confidence. And, of course they can feel confident. Perfectionists can have glimpses of confidence and periods of time where they believe that they have done enough and be proud of themselves. Nevertheless, this confidence is not deeply rooted, it is not a stable sense of confidence so it is short-lived. Confidence for perfectionists comes and goes, it ebbs and flows. There will always be glimpses of confidence but they do not bring deep satisfaction. And, this occurs because, ultimately, perfectionists do not have a deep sense of self-acceptance.
The Bottom Line
If you suspect you are a perfectionist, we suggest you take a look at our free guide to uncover which perfectionism tendencies you struggle with. If you, in fact, realize that you are a perfectionist, remember that all hope is not lost. Millions of people struggle with perfectionism, especially in our modern, fast-paced world. We can actively work towards fostering a more balanced and healthy mindset that allows us to celebrate our achievements and slow down.
So, remember to take a rest. We all deserve breaks. Truly confident people allow themselves to rest, to play, and to have fun. Perfectionists do not because they feel that they have not tried enough and they demand even more from themselves because, again, they do not feel they have done enough. So, remember to celebrate your achievements and to practice gratitude and self-compassion.
We hope this article helped you understand the difference between a truly confident person and a perfectionist who is faking confidence. If you are a perfectionist in need of a helping hand, here at AntiLoneliness we are always happy to lend a listening ear. And, always remember, you are not alone. Take care.
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