Do you tend to be overly critical of things that you do? Does it seem nothing you do meets your standards? When starting something (e.g. a project or an assignment), do you quickly lose any enjoyment or motivation you started with? Then, you might just be a Perfectionist. “Am I a perfectionist?” is a question that gets asked a lot. Yet, there isn’t much information out there that really helps people with the “Why”. Below are 21 questions designed to help reveal whether or not you’re a perfectionist. Do any of the questions resonate with you? Reflect on these questions and take an honest inventory. It may just help to explain why you are, the way you are.
21 Reasons Why You Might Be a Perfectionist
- Feel life is miserable
- Constantly strive for flawlessness
- Have excessively high-performance standards
- Are overcritical about self-evaluations
- Get overly concerned about the evaluations other people might have of you
- Obsess about every little detail
- Obsess over mistakes you make or think you will make
- Never seem to finish that one thing
- Cringe at the thought of average or mediocre
- Feel embarrassed at the thought of being corrected
- Procrastinate far too often
- Complain… a lot
- Wait, and wait, and wait, and wait…
- Quit before you even start
- Avoid having to do anything about [it] in the first place
- Panic at any hint of criticism
- Feel like you have to be the best at everything
- Feel like a failure if you don’t win
- Seem to think people don’t live up to or meet your expectations
- Feel like [you] don’t live up to your standards or expectations
- Tend to “Freeze” up when thinking of things like assignments or projects because the thought of doing it less than perfect stifles you
Did any of the questions above resonate with you? Did any strike a nerve within you? Or, did you perhaps learn something about yourself you didn’t already know? If it’s helped you to realize you are a perfectionist or simply have perfectionist tendencies, then you’re at least well informed of what makes you a perfectionist. An important step to overcoming perfectionism is to first acknowledge and understand why perfectionism is a part of you.
See also: Imperfectly Perfect: Making Peace with Your Imperfections.
Perfect, Now What?
If you feel you’re struggling with the perils of perfectionism—like so many other people, then you’ll probably know just how debilitating and difficult it can be. For me, a big part of what made me a perfectionist was the reluctance to allow for anything less than perfect. The problem was, it held me back from progress preventing me from making any at all. As a result, two things would happen.
- I’d lose sight of what really mattered and forget what it was I was really doing it all for, and
- Rarely would I ever see anything through
Effectively, I would fail— due in large part by the grip perfectionism had on me. Sound familiar? The point here is: rather than allow yourself to become ‘incapable’ by perfection, rise above it. Allow yourself to move on if “it’s good enough” or “it’ll do.” If you’re telling yourself “it’s not yet perfect”, or “it needs to be perfect” it’s time to let go and move forward.