Perfectionists feel a strong need to be or appear perfect. However, perfectionism isn’t the same as striving to be your best self. Perfectionism actually holds you back by creating unhealthy behavior in your pursuit to look a certain way. There may be someone in your life whose perfectionism seems to dominate your personality. They may believe that, for something to go well, it must go exactly as they imagined or planned it would. Maybe this also sounds like you.
While perfectionism has become synonymous with overachieving, there are many consequences that come with this way of thinking.
Everywhere we look, there are reminders that we could be better. From beauty advertisements promising us flawless skin, diets promising us “ideal” bodies” and gurus offering magic tips to make our [morning routines, work habits, list-making, clothing choices, email answering] better — it’s no wonder perfectionism, or the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection, is on the rise. Since perfectionism isn’t going away anytime soon, we’re highlighting five dangerous outcomes of perfectionism — and what you should know about them. Instead of fighting to be perfect, fight to be free of perfectionism’s deception.
5 dangers of being perfectionism.
1. Decreased Productivity.
One consequence of perfectionism is procrastination. You may think that because perfectionists need everything organized and to be a certain way they’re overachievers. But this type of thinking leads to decreased productivity. That, in turn, causes more stress and vulnerability.
As a perfectionist, you may be an “all-or-nothing” type of person. When deadlines and events come up, you either view them as good or bad. You may get so caught up in whatever you’re trying to be perfect at that you end up not doing it at all. Or you put projects off past their due date because you are so worried about them being perfect.
2. Chronically Dissatisfied.
This information isn’t meant to scare you — there’s nothing wrong with setting high standards for yourself, working hard and wanting to achieve great things. In some circumstances, perfectionism tendencies can push people in positive directions and help them succeed.
But, when perfectionism steals the joy from your accomplishments and convinces us we’re only worth living if we meet our impossible expectations — that’s when perfectionism needs to be challenged.
Perfectionism can trigger anxiety and depression. Because stress and anxiety build up when you don’t meet the high standards you set for yourself, you may also become depressed. Some people can be considered “emotional perfectionists,” meaning they hide these feelings of anxiety and depression.
This can be extremely dangerous, especially if you’re having suicidal thoughts or feeling worthless. These negative emotions can be dangerous. If you’re feeling this way, you should reach out to a trusted individual or a mental health hotline to talk about your feelings.
4. Strained Relationships.
Another consequence of perfectionism is strained relationships with your family or friends, especially if you put your high standards on your loved ones. This adds extra stress and pressure to your relationships and can cause them to fail.
Being perfection with colleagues, friends, and partners usually commingle. You typically can’t turn off this way of thinking for one group of people over another. When you bring this thought process into these relationships, you’re judging the other person as much as you judge yourself. And that’s not healthy for any relationship.
5. Not Being Present.
Another downside to the perfectionist mindset is that perfectionists often are not actually present in the moment. Because you’re worried about or critiquing what’s going on around you, you’re living inside your head. You may be worried about a future decision or replaying something that happened today.
Either way, you’re not focused on the present in front of you. That’s another limitation that leads to procrastination and self-loathing.