Is perfectionism taking over your life?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Janine Wilcockson Dip.Couns Member MBACP
18th April, 20140 Comments
Do you fear failure?
Do you feel there is only a right way or a wrong way of doing things?
Do you feel the need to constantly check things?
(such as weighing yourself several times a day if on a diet, or re-checking work over and again to make it as good as possible)
Do you feel that you must be prepared for anything?
If you answered yes it may be that you have developed some unhelpful behaviours and thinking styles that are having a negative impact on your life.
It may be that some aspects of perfectionism are helping you in your life; such as having the drive and commitment necessary in some work environments to get ahead, or to ensure that your last report was as accurate and detailed as possible and delivered on schedule.
Unfortunately if your rules are unrealistic or rigid they can result in either feelings of self blame or failure and a tendency to give up too soon, or the need for ever more demanding standards to feel the same sense of achievement at the cost of feeling drained and under increasing pressure.
Often the fear that your high standards may not be reached may result in you being too afraid to attempt something. This may result in you 'putting something off', not being able to make a decision, or giving up on something too soon.
Problems can also occur because of the time consuming nature of the perfectionist behaviours. Relationships can suffer because of this, and often not enough time is taken for rest and relaxation.
Self esteem is often dependent on attaining these high standards.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help to identify then adjust unhelpful rules or assumptions to more helpful, flexible ones - e.g. helping you to settle for excellence instead of perfection, or being able to think of that chocolate bar that you ate whilst on a diet as a little blip and not as complete failure.
Changing unhelpful thoughts then helps you to change unhelpful behaviours - such as reducing the need to re-check. This then has a positive impact on how you are feeling - no longer a failure or under less pressure or stress.
Hopefully then balance in your life can be restored with enough time made for relationships, fun and relaxation!
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