Downsides of Perfectionism

I’ve always thought that perfectionism was something to strive for. When I was a child, I remember painting a sunset for my art class. I remember making a mistake— my brush accidentally painting blue over the line onto the orange sky. I could have waited for it to dry and then paint it over, but due to my frustration, I chose to make another painting entirely.

Over the years, more often than I’d like to admit, some small mistake was always what it took to make that frustration rear its ugly head again. Disappointment, shame, anger and other negative emotions were often a result of my perfectionism.

On the surface, perfectionism seems like something that is worth pursuing. A perfectionist often pushes themselves to be the best and achieve what is thought impossible. No mistake goes unnoticed, and you can always count on a perfectionist to make sure everything is perfect.

However, despite its perks, perfectionism is actually more trouble than it is worth. Here’s why:

1. Poor Health

A perfectionist is always working to achieve the result they desire, often sacrificing sleep, food, recreation or even peace of mind in the process. They do not stop until the work is done, and constantly worry about what could go wrong. They forget to take care of themselves first. Hence, they often experience poor mental and physical health.

2. Low self-esteem

In the face of failure, perfectionists tend to be more hard on themselves. They experience more guilt, shame, frustration or even anger at themselves. They are their own harshest critics. Sometimes, perfectionism can be said to be a symptom of low self-esteem, because they believe that if they don’t do their best, then their efforts will not be good enough.

3. Poor Relationships

A perfectionist always wants everything to be perfect. As a result, sometimes they put pressure on others to do the same. Impossible standards, unrealistic expectations and unappreciated efforts are what sours the relationship between the perfectionist and other people. Needless to say, this leads to poor relationships with people who don’t have the same way of thinking.

4. Short Sightedness

There’s a saying that goes like this: the journey matters more than the destination. After all, goal attainment is only but a by-product of the journey. Sometimes, a perfectionist can be so obsessed by the details that they end up missing the bigger picture. A perfectionist is often more concerned by the end result, rather than the process it took to get there. By focusing on the end result, they forget about what took them there.

5. Low Productivity

Besides short sightedness, focusing too much on the details which includes details that are not very important will lead to low productivity. A small mistake may cause them to do the whole thing over and over again until they get it right. Even though their produced work is perfect, they end up spending too much time on it, which lowers their overall productivity.

In conclusion, being a perfectionist has been proven to be worse for your overall wellness. Hence, we should try to be relax and take it easy on ourselves.