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Perfectionism is a trait that is often praised. After all, who doesn’t want to be perfect? However, recent studies have shown that perfectionism can actually lead to a number of problems, including anxiety.

In this blog post, we will explore the origin of perfectionism and how it can lead to negative outcomes. We will also discuss ways to deal with perfectionism and its effects on your life.

1. What is perfectionism and why do people strive for it?


Perfectionism is often thought of as a positive trait, something that drives people to achieve their best. However, it can also have negative consequences, leading people to strive for an unattainable standard and to berate themselves for any mistakes or imperfections.

So why do people strive for perfectionism? There are a few possible reasons. First, Perfectionism can be a way of avoiding criticism.

If you believe that you have to be perfect in order to be accepted, then you’re less likely to take risks or put yourself in situations where you might be criticized.

Second, striving for perfectionism can be a way of compensating for feelings of insecurity or inferiority. If you feel like you’re not good enough, then achieving perfection can be a way of proving your worth.

Finally, some people may simply be driven by a desire to achieve excellence in whatever they do. Whatever the reason, perfectionism can be damaging if it leads to unrealistic expectations or excessive self-criticism.

 If you find yourself striving for perfectionism, it may be helpful to learn to embrace your flaws and accept that mistakes are part of being human.

2. The origin of perfectionism


Perfectionism can be traced back to early childhood experiences. For example, a child may have been praised by their parents for being “the best” or for never making mistakes.

 This type of conditional praise can lead children to believe that they are only good or worthwhile if they are perfect. Alternatively, a child may have experienced criticism or punishment for making mistakes, which can lead them to believe that any imperfection is unacceptable.

 These early experiences can shape our beliefs about ourselves and our worthiness, leading to perfectionism.

3. How does perfectionism lead to anxiety?


For many people, the quest for perfectionism can be an endless and frustrating journey. The never-ending pursuit of an unattainable ideal can leave us feeling anxious, defeated, and even depressed.

Studies have shown that perfectionism is often associated with higher levels of anxiety and stress. One of the reasons for this is that perfectionists tend to set very high standards for themselves.

This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt when we are unable to meet our own expectations. Perfectionists also tend to be highly critical of themselves and others.

 This can make it difficult to maintain healthy relationships and can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

4. The negative effects of perfectionism


Perfectionism can have a number of negative consequences, including:

Anxiety: Perfectionism can lead to anxiety if people are constantly striving for an unattainable standard. This anxiety can manifest in a number of ways, including fear of failure, fear of judgment, and perfectionist procrastination.

Depression: Perfectionism has been linked to depression, as people who are constantly trying to meet an impossible standard often feel like they’re falling short. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.

Eating disorders: People with perfectionist tendencies may be more likely to develop eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This is because they often have a distorted view of their bodies and may strive for unrealistic levels of thinness.

Substance abuse: Some people turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the anxiety and stress that perfectionism can cause.

5. How to deal with the negative effects of perfectionism


If you find that perfectionism is causing you problems, there are a few things you can do to help.

Challenge your beliefs: If you believe that you have to be perfect in order to be accepted or valuable, challenge these beliefs. Recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect person and that everyone makes mistakes.

Accept your flaws: Acknowledge that everyone has flaws and that it’s OK to be imperfect. Accepting your flaws can help reduce the stress and anxiety associated with perfectionism.

Set realistic goals: Don’t strive for perfectionism in everything you do. Set realistic goals and accept that not everything will be perfect.

Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself when you make mistakes. Don’t criticize yourself harshly or dwell on your mistakes.

Perfectionism can be a difficult mindset to overcome, but with guidelines, it is possible to learn to let go of your unrealistic standards. If you find that perfectionism is causing you problems, book a session with me.

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