The Truth About Perfectionism
“Perfectionism grows from a point of feeling not only imperfect, but deeply flawed and unlovable.”
Perfectionism, they say is self-abuse of the highest order. It’s believing that things should be perfect, that they aren’t as they are and that you will do what you can to achieve this perfection. In truth it’s torturous. It takes the perfectionist out of the present moment and into the future chasing the elusive feeling that will be once everything is ‘right’. Goals achieved are short lived and before long it’s onto the next, the bigger, the better. Everything seems calm on the outside but inside is a hot mess of rocky waters, panic and frustration.
Perfectionism is a lonely world to live in. Some of the underlying beliefs being :
As a person you are not ok
Regardless of your achievements feelings of satisfaction are shortlived
When things appear perfect on the outside, it will create a feeling of calm on the inside
If you continue to achieve you will look good and be accepted
Effort and intention are not enough. The focus is on the product, not the process
You are extremely competitive about almost everything
You judge people who fall short of perfection
With such rigid ideals for the self, this can be a really difficult place to live and can bring on a whole host of complications and unmet expectations in many areas of life.
1. Trouble in Relationships
It’s very difficult to be in a romantic relationship with a perfectionist. Their expectations and demands are extremely high, and their partners often feel inadequate and pressured. In relationships, perfectionists often feel disappointed, angry and resentful. In friendships, they will always go out of their way to be supportive and gracious, but they also can be competitive, rigid, and very passive-aggressive
2. Always Anxious and Exhausted
The perfectionist lives with continuous anxiety about what needs to be accomplished. Unfortunately the perfectionist's response to anxiety is to work harder and accomplish more and more and more. This leaves them exhausted and miserable most of the time.
3. A Deeper Sense of Shame
The perfectionist is usually very intolerant of mess and disorganization. They believe that if they can make their outside environment look a certain way, that means that everything is good and safe on the inside. This is often an attempt to get away from deeper internal feelings of toxic shame. These are the feelings inside of them that are more messy, painful and disorganized—the feelings that are difficult to articulate, define or resolve immediately.
4. Earning Your Specialness
A perfectionist's core internal belief tends to be they are not good enough or special the way they are. They believe their value comes from perfect production, achievement and service in every aspect of their life. When one feels like they have to constantly earn their place as “good” in the world, it means living with a deeper sense that you don’t deserve to just exist and be loved for who you are.
The key thing to note here is that perfectionism grows from a point of feeling not only imperfect, but deeply flawed and therefore, unlovable. If you have to constantly re-earn or re-prove your worth—even if it’s to yourself—you are running on a never-ending treadmill of external achievements that will not bring you a joy that lasts. The thing to always keep in mind is that true internal acceptance and peace does not come from changing what is outside of you. Remember lasting change always entails shifting and understanding what’s inside of you. You will never hustle your way into self-love.
About The Author
Siobhan is a Trainee Psychotherapist, Mental Health Advocate and Editor of crakd. She’s also embroiled in an intense love affair with eclectic interiors and colourful food.
Follow Siobhan on Instagram @siobhan_scan