Are You a Perfectionist?

In an article entitled “Perfectionism” featured on GoodTherapy, we read about perfectionism, defined as “a need to be, or appear to be perfect.” Although this article is chock full of information, I especially appreciated what they listed as some characteristics of what a focus on over-achievement to the point of perfectionism looks like:

  • Not be able to perform a task unless you know you can do it perfectly.
  • View the end product as the most important part of any undertaking. As a result, you may focus less on the process of learning or completing a task to the best of your ability. 
  • Not see a task as finished until the result is perfect according to your standards. 
  • Procrastination. If you are a perfectionist, you may not want to begin a task until it can be done perfectly.
  • Take an excessive amount of time to complete a task that does not typically take others long to complete. 

GoodTherapy quotes Brene Brown as saying “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfection is not about healthy achievement and growth.”

The first step in understanding perfectionism is to reflect upon how it potentially developed for you which sometimes requires the help of a therapist. It is also important to recognize the impossibility of perfection which often leads to a self-defeating cycle as we can never achieve perfection (although a perfectionist would argue that we can 🙂 ). It is only when we give ourselves permission to be imperfect do we find freedom from the trappings of the impossible.

To read more from this very in depth article:

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2 thoughts on “Are You a Perfectionist?”

  1. am i a perfectionist?
    oh ya. i think thats what made it super hard for me to admit there was something wrong with me when i got so bad in 2011.
    when i was diagnosed with conversion disorder, i didnt accept that i may not get better for years.
    yes, i only see a project as the end look. im obsessed w/it til its done.
    i dont think anyone can do it as well as me, so i do it myself.
    when i was in college, when i drew something, i put in every little detail, ie every brick.

    • Hi Brian; it is great that you can recognize the perfectionistic tendencies. Although we can be driven to perfection, it usually has a life lesson along the way that we learn in terms of not being able to actually achieve perfection. Thanks for sharing 🙂


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