Can someone be perfect

Perfectionism - When everything has to be perfect

Whether at work, in a relationship or in sports, some people always want to do everything perfectly. But is that even possible? In this article, we'll look at perfectionism: the urge that everything has to be perfect.

What is perfectionism?

There is no general definition of perfectionism, as it can come in a wide variety of forms and manifestations. What these characteristics can have in common, however, are above all two different aspects in which perfectionism can be found:

1Striving for Perfection

The pursuit of perfection describes the perfectionist attitude of always giving the best. “Faster”, “Better”, “Higher”. This dimension plays an important role, especially in the area of ​​individual performance, where successes and failures are particularly visible, such as sport, work or other personal challenges.

2perfectionist concern

People who experience perfectionist concern have doubts about their own performance, are overly sensitive to their mistakes and are afraid of being judged negatively by others. This is often accompanied by an exaggerated effort to avoid mistakes.
You feel “not good enough” and try to do everything perfectly to compensate. They are accompanied by worries, self-doubt and brooding: “Did I really do it right?”, “Isn't there something missing?”, “Have I thought of everything?”, “That is not good enough”, “ It can be done even better! ”. In this way, an initially negotiable hill of work can quickly turn into a huge mountain that is to be climbed.

So can I no longer strive for perfection?

We cannot answer this question for you. If you want to keep striving for perfection, then you are allowed to do so. Sometimes high demands, goals and standards can even be motivating. The problem with perfectionism, however, is that these demands are usually set unattainably high and often have the opposite effect in the long term. Burnout and frustration instead of achieving goals. Perfectionists always try to give 110 percent effort, because they are on an exaggerated search for perfection and perfection. At the same time, however, they are afraid of making mistakes or they rate their performance as inadequate. This combination of the pursuit of perfection and perfectionist concern can turn perfectionism into a real burden.

Incidentally, healthy perfectionism is the combination of striving for perfection with one low pronounced perfectionist concern, as the pursuit of high goals does not conflict with the exaggerated fear of possible mistakes.

Perfectionism: a guy thing?

Prof. Rainer Sachse, graduate psychologist and head of the Institute for Psychological Psychotherapy in Bochum, said the following about perfectionism:

Quote: "Both people with narcissistic traits, such as workaholics, and people with obsessive-compulsive tendencies tend towards perfectionism, whereby their perfectionism manifests itself in different ways."

Perfectionism and narcissism

A person with narcissistic personality traits is someone who presents himself with a self-indulgent or extremely self-confident demeanor. These people have a distinct need for attention, recognition, and admiration. People with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty accepting criticism and failure.

In people with narcissistic traits and the associated striving for recognition, their perfectionism comes to the fore especially in the work context. They work very hard, a lot and are characterized by the way they want to do everything perfectly. But this is where the first dimension of perfectionism “striving for perfection” comes into play. Perfectionistically oriented people with narcissistic traits are not satisfied with the success they have achieved. You want more attention or a bit better and so you can tackle the next project straight away. Recognition is a driving factor for them.

Perfectionism and the compulsion

People with compulsive personality traits rigidly adhere to certain rules and behavioral processes (arrangement of objects, cleanliness, rules). They have difficulty adjusting to the habits of others and are more inclined to do things on their own terms. People with compulsive personality traits tend to be orderly and thoughtful, but they also have such high demands on themselves that they can usually hardly achieve. Their claim to perfectionism is expressed by the fact that they want to do everything as correctly as possible. They act strictly according to norms and rules in order to avoid making mistakes.

So does perfectionism depend on one's own personality and only found in people who have either narcissistic or obsessive personality traits?

Your own personality, values ​​and ideas can play an important role in whether you are perfectionist or not. However, it is not all-important.

Origin and causes

Perfectionism is not innate, but usually develops in childhood through individual learning experiences and the associated longing for recognition. Perfectionists associate performance with recognition and appreciation, mistakes they almost exclusively relate to their lack of skills or knowledge.

An example of how upbringing can lead to perfectionism:

Children can learn to adhere strictly to rules and norms through punishment or rejection. This behavior, learned from a fear of punishment, to strictly adhere to rules and guidelines, can later be found in an exaggerated accuracy later in adult life. But also in a perfectionist, error-free way of working.

Shed perfectionism

"Many roads lead to Rome". This idiom can also be found in the context of perfectionism, as it describes the most diverse possible solutions. So there is no one perfect solution to be able to shed perfectionism.

But how do I learn that? Just let go? Easier said than done, for someone who wants to do everything as precisely and perfectly as possible.

One way that can help in shedding perfectionism can be the learning process that perfection is not attainable. Instead, it is important to learn to tolerate mistakes and imperfections in order to gain more room for maneuver. Ask yourself: What is perfection worth to me? To do this, draw up a cost-benefit analysis and note what you have to put up with in order to achieve it.

For example: You are expecting a visitor. Instead of wiping the apartment perfectly clean, you could try just vacuuming it instead.

Just before the end of the day, let the rest of the work, which can also be done the next day, rest and instead enjoy the evening. Again, the following applies:

It is a learning process that does not succeed overnight. Small steps can be more helpful than big jumps, however, as they show you steadily successes and thus motivate you to stay on the ball.

Every journey begins with a first step. We wish you every success.

Categories GeneralTags perfectionism, self-worth, self-doubt