Although we all may strive for perfection in everything we do, obsessing over perfection can have negative effects on many aspects of our lives. Obsessing over perfection is often based on a variety of factors such as fear, emotions, and procrastination. This results in our focus being blurred leaving us in an unproductive state where nothing ever gets done.
Perfection may sound ideal, however, the effect it can have on the productivity and quality of your life can be immense. This is why it is important to understand the downsides of perfectionism, how perfectionism is an illusion, and how to break out of this way of thinking to live a happy, healthy, and productive life.
Downsides of perfectionism
An unhealthy obsession with perfection often results in procrastination. Perfectionists always have a clear and detailed idea of exactly how things should be when preparing to get things done. In this process, planning to work becomes extremely detailed where every little thing delays the process further. Attempting to meet every single condition that a perfectionist may have before even starting to work can result in low levels of productivity and focus.
One of the central points for perfectionism is control. Perfectionists are essentially obsessed with control over all aspects of their work with a great fear of failure and rejection. In this way, perfectionists are afraid of delegating tasks to others, are in a constant state of fear and worry, and correct even the smallest of errors that they may come across.
Although perfectionists procrastinate and struggle to get things done, when they do, they can often do so whilst disregarding other aspects of life such as their physical and mental health. Due to this, perfectionists often suffer from burnout and anxiety. This level of perfectionism can take a toll on both your personal and professional life.
Why is it an illusion?
Perfectionism relies on the illusion of finality and control. In this way, perfectionists operate under the impression that they can shield themselves from failure, embarrassment, and shame by working in an incredibly detailed way. This provides them with a false sense of security against their fear and anxiety. The illusion of finality also plays a role in how perfectionists may think about the judgement and criticism of their work. Perfectionists then allow that fear of criticism to influence their mindset and behaviour.
How to break out of the perfectionist mindset
Learning to spot and diagnose perfectionist tendencies that you may have is a great place to start. It is common for those struggling with the illusion of perfectionism to place a lot of focus on small details to bring attention to every negative aspect of their lives. Focusing on the positives can help reinforce a brighter outlook on life and help break out of this mindset.
Equipping yourself with the necessary tools to be able to receive and process criticism in a healthy way can be greatly beneficial to you. To best live a life that avoids perfectionism, do not be afraid to cut out things, situations, and people who reinforce perfectionism in your life.
When making changes to help break out of the perfectionist mindset, it is important to set reasonable and realistic goals for yourself. Change is not something that will happen overnight which is why it is important to remember to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to make mistakes along the way.
Visiting a therapist, psychologist, or mental health professional can also be a great way to diagnose and equip yourself with the necessary skills you may need to break out of this kind of mindset. Therapists are skilled and experienced professionals that can help you create positive habits to include in your daily life.