Perfectionism

The trouble with perfectionism is that it robs you of joy in life because nothing is ever good enough, so you can never be satisfied. People who strive for perfection can rarely see that it's a problem, but it's very stressful. Perfectionism is aiming for a perfect solution.

'I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God's business.' Michael J Fox (1961 - )

Isn't it just possible that perfectionism is due to not liking yourself; and that's not much fun, is it? Here is an approach to worrying about what other people think of you: Whatever they think, it is based on the concept of 'If I were them', and they are not and never could be, because we each have our own unique life experience, even twins and siblings do not experience the world the same. It's therefore their own fictional representation, they are talking about someone else, not you. So in your defences against perfectionism, remember: 'We do not see things as they are ... ... we see them as we are'. Anais Nin. Perfectionism is a barrier to feeling connected and relating to others, it fosters isolation.

You could ask yourself: Is it necessary to aim for perfectionism in this task? Then remember the G K Chesterton quote - 'If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing badly' - and make your choice accordingly. Sometimes it's necessary to just get a job done.

Is your perfectionism because you lack confidence? It is so common to feel that "If everyone knew what I'm really like, they'd see how awful I am". So a person strives to cover up negativity with perfectionism, and fails. 'Awful-ising' is seeing the world through a view of life that is black and white with no mid-ground or grey areas. It is even possible that perfectionism is a form of depression, of obsessive compulsive disorder. It's all a matter of scale, and the closer you are to the higher end of perfectionism, the closer you are to becoming obsessive.

So one of the ways of managing stress is to face up to, and deal with, perfectionism in your life.