In a society that values success over sanity, being a perfectionist is somewhat desirable. Yes, perfectionism may help you ace tests, get your dream job and receive praise, but whenever mistakes, rejection and criticisms start to happen, perfectionists take it much harder than the average person because failure is not acceptable in their eyes. Perfectionism also causes a never-ending cycle of disappointment, self-defeat and a fear of messing up. Perfectionism is a learned behavior that can start as a young, straight A student, who never colors outside of the lines, or as an accomplished adult, who goes out of their way to never make mistakes. Check out these top 10 signs to see if you’re a perfectionist:
- You are never totally satisfied with your efforts or accomplishments
No matter how hard you try and how many goals you achieve, your accomplishments are never quite good enough. You believe that success and personal worth is measured by achieving your goals, avoiding mistakes and receiving approval from others. This all-or-nothing thinking and overemphasis on what you could have done better is a vicious cycle of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors.
- You cannot accept making mistakes
You do not see mistakes as a learning process, but instead a sign of failure and disappointment. Unlike most people who learn from their mistakes and move on, perfectionists will beat themselves over each slipup and try so hard to avoid making mistakes, without learning or growing from the experience.
- You think your way is the only right way
When it comes to doing something, there’s only way to do it â€” your way. Whether it’s about mastering a recipe or believing in a certain theory, you have trouble accepting other ways of doing things or different thought processes because you think yours is the best. This my-way-or-the-highway mentality does not bode well among friends, family and coworkers and often causes disagreements, arguments and broken relationships. As a perfectionist, you’ve worked hard to master certain tasks and processes that you consider perfect, and when people don’t do things your way it kills you.
- Being average is not an option for you
Your never-ending efforts to be the perfect employee, student or athlete sometimes fall short of just average. Being average is not only unacceptable to you, but it also indicates that you did not give enough effort and failed to be the best.
- You have to be in control
You’d rather do things yourself then rely on others, who will undoubtedly mess up in your eyes. Being in control gives you a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing that you the hold the reins and control the outcome.
- You fear failure or disapproval from others
As if you weren’t hard enough on yourself, you go to great lengths to prevent failure and avoid criticism. Allowing people to see your flaws or mistakes is terrifying because you think they will no longer accept you and consider you a failure. In order to prevent criticism or rejection, you strive to be perfect and not slip up.
- You tell others what they are doing wrong
Perfectionism does not end with you. You want others to give more effort and correct their shortcomings, as well. Whether it’s a mate, friend, parent or store clerk, you have high, often unrealistic expectations for these individuals, and don’t hold back telling them when they are doing something wrong. While your intentions may be good and you’re genuinely trying to help, people generally don’t like to be told what they do wrong or hear criticism on a regular basis.
- You procrastinate on assignments and tasks until they’re perfect
In your unwavering attempts to make sure all work, school and household tasks are done just right, you may end up procrastinating, missing deadlines and performing poorly in the process. You may rewrite an essay, start over on an assignment that’s almost done or throw away a meal you didn’t find good enough. Because of this obsession with perfection, important assignments and responsibilities either don’t get done or are pushed back because of your dissatisfaction with the outcome.
- You are extremely competitive
You find yourself participating in games, contests, races and any activity that involves competition because you want to show off your skills and prove that you are the best. Unfortunately, you don’t understand or accept the concept of losing because you only win. Competitions usually just exacerbate the self-defeating behavior and thoughts when the outcome doesn’t go your way.
- You are overly conscientious
Your need to be in control and feel secure in all areas of your life so that you don’t make mistakes and fall short of perfect. You do so by being overly conscientious of your productivity, grades and social acceptance and always preparing for the next step. You also go to great lengths to protect yourself from unexpected events, by monitoring news, weather and statistics. This false sense of security keeps you on your toes and evaluating your own efforts.