We all have our moments of perfectionist tendencies. But some people take it to a whole different level. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
1. You offer a lot of advice (often unsolicited)
Perfectionists often have a hard time hearing other people’s ideas or opinions in an unbiased way. They often are noted to give advice or “you should do this” statements on any topic on a regular basis.
This is not meant to be a criticism of you. It’s just the way the perfectionist mind functions. Unless this is pointed out, they may not be aware that this is a common way they operate.
2. You would never talk to people the way you talk to yourself
The inner dialogue of a perfectionist is full of judgement and criticism. It is easy to nit-pick even the most minor of issues. Often the little voice is cruel and unforgiving.
In my lowest points, I could be so mean to myself I would never consider talking to anyone in such language. I won’t even voice out loud some of the things I used to say.
I could compare myself to anyone on any level about practically anything. If comparison and judgements were Olympic sports, I would have won gold a few times.
But if I ever heard someone say even the slightest negative thing about themselves, I would be right there to defend them. I could bring the positivity to anyone feeling down. Turning that on myself though? Heck no.
3. Making decisions is the worst
When perfectionism takes hold, it is all too common to be paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision. There are a million different “what ifs” you can come up with in your head, from the most simple decisions (where to eat) to the major life choices (is it time for a career change?).
Perfectionism plagues every aspect of the decision-making process. If you don’t choose right at any one step along the way, you’re done. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Bonus Scenario: You are too much of a perfectionist to call yourself a perfectionist
Because really, perfectionists are so hard on themselves, there is no way they could truly be a real perfectionist. The judgement is so real that a perfectionist can find ways they are not even perfect or good at being a perfectionist.
Today, I like to call myself a reformed perfectionist.
There is hope for you too!
Perfectionism is born out of fears, the specifics of which are unique to the individual (and if you’d like to dig into it more, I can coach you through that, let’s talk!).
It is also, however, born out of concern for outward approval. By doing everything “right” the thought is that somehow others will validate how good/right/smart/etc. you are.
By learning to self-love and self-validate, by gaining confidence in yourself, the need for this outward approval will eventually subside. When those feelings of insecurity come up, your inner voice will begin to be kind instead of the early critical voice.
When you learn to be kind and to love yourself, those feelings of love/belonging/support will be available to you at any time you need them. You just have to look inward, let your heart be your guide.
I promise change is possible. Like an unhealthy relationship, you can kick perfectionism to the curb!