In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to like to reveal the 32 ways that perfectionism is toxic.
First a quick update:
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Did your parents or religion raise you with the expectation that you cannot make mistakes, and that you must be perfect?
For example, did your parents:
* Set very high standards for you?
* Punish you for doing things less than perfectly?
* Very rarely try to understand your mistakes?
* Want you to be the best at everything?
Accordingly, today, do you engage in these 32 toxic behaviors of perfectionism; do you:
1. Set excessively high standards for yourself?
2. Harshly criticize yourself over your behavior?
3. Often doubt yourself?
4. Beat yourself up for making mistakes?
5. Believe that more people will like you if you were to make less mistakes?
6. Believe that you are the mistake; you are not good enough unless you are perfect?
7. Believe that people won’t like or love you unless you are perfect?
8. Avoid taking action out of fear of failure or, obsessively push yourself out of fear of failure?
9. Never feel satisfied with your achievements?
10. Constantly feel that you have to do more?
11. Almost never celebrate your successes?
12. Buy image goods and possessions and attempt to portray the perfect life on social media?
13. Expect others to do things perfectly when you ask them to do something?
The above are toxic traits of perfectionism, and I list more below.
Perfectionism takes three forms:
I. What you expect from yourself
II. What society expects of you
III. What you expect of others
Therefore, do you demand perfection from yourself; do feel pressure from your friends or society to be perfect; do you demand that others be perfect?
Perfectionism is toxic to your mental and physical health
Research reveals that social pressure to be perfect negatively affects your physical health, while perfectionism generally leads to:
16. Low self-esteem
17. Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
18. Breakdowns in relationships
21. Body dysmorphia
22. Obsessive compulsive disorder.
The greatest problem with perfectionism is that it can never be attained and is therefore never satisfied or satisfying. Accordingly, perfectionism is also exhausting and debilitating.
Another Ten toxic impacts of perfectionism on behavior
When you suffer from perfectionism, you become:
2. Socially precise
3. Controlled and/or controlling
4. Lonely and isolated because you criticize yourself for not being perfect
5. All-or-nothing thinking – ‘it is either perfect or it is a waste of time’
6. Wallow in negative thinking and rumination when you don’t realize your expectations of yourself and others
7. Reactive to criticism because you believe that you are the mistake instead of believing that you learn from the mistake
8. Obsessed with results and the final outcome but, never able to enjoy the process of pursuing and realizing goals – or even able to enjoy the moment
9. Afraid of failure (not being able to be perfect) which leads you to procrastinate and/or take no action
10. Judge yourself harshly and are unable to reinforce your positive behaviors and outcomes, thereby increasing your levels of psychological distress.
“Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by the search for faultlessness and the establishment of very high levels of performance along with excessively critical self-evaluations.”
– Silvia Molero, Department of Health Psychology, Miguel Hernández University, Spain
Perfectionism VS Excellence
Holding yourself accountable and to a high standard can assist performance and a growth mindset, and it can enhance motivation and conscientiousness. However, that is not equivalent to perfectionism. If perfectionism were to be such an admirable trait, then every perfectionist would be happy and well-adjusted. However, as pointed out above, perfectionism leads to dissatisfaction and various mental health issues and disorders. Perfectionist leaders fail in the workplace, and perfectionism leads to high stress, burnout, workaholism, anxiety, and depression.
In my corporate workshops, various participants including C suite executives ask me, “What is the alternative to perfection?” I say, ‘Focus on excellence. You can always strive to find ways to improve your product and service. However, when you focus on perfection, you will never be satisfied with the results, and you will never have a reason to celebrate your successes or those of your team because nothing will ever be enough!’
Interestingly, Harvard Business Review refers to this as excellence-seeking perfectionism. Contrast this with failure-avoiding perfectionism, “an obsessive concern with and aversion to failing to reach high performance standards.” Thus, it is accompanied by constant worry that their work is not good enough and fear they will lose respect from others if they do not achieve perfection.
“When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver”
– Brene Brown
“Critically, our results showed that performance and perfectionism were not related to each other: perfectionists are not better or worse performers than non-perfectionists…We conducted a meta-analysis of 95 studies, conducted from the 1980s to today, that examined the relationship between perfectionism and factors that impact employees’ effectiveness. These studies included nearly 25,000 working-age individuals. The short answer, we found, is that perfectionism is a much bigger weakness than job applicants and interviewers probably assume.” Dec 2018 – https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-pros-and-cons-of-perfectionism-according-to-research
How can you end toxic perfectionism now?
The belief that you need to be perfect to be loved, worthy, good enough or to get other people’s approval began in childhood. Specific incidents or repetitive programming by your caretaker(s) created perfectionism in you. It can be changed – not by conscious effort, will or affirmations. You can change the subconscious programming of perfectionism quickly and effectively with Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique (SRTT.) Therefore, book a one-on-one session with me to neutralize your perfectionism and start enjoying life fully.
You can add to the conversation below.
I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.