I’m a perfectionist. It’s hard for me to put something out there without the constant fear that someone won’t like it or that it isn’t as good as it could be.
My perfectionism is a big part of the reason it took me so long to start this blog. I had been wanting to start wanting to write online for some time, but I was afraid that my content wouldn’t be good enough.
Although there are some benefits to being a perfectionist (less grammatical errors, better grades in school, etc.), in the long run it will make you fearful and passive. Below I have listed several of the reasons why you should stop being a perfectionist:
1. Will make you Procrastinate
Like I said earlier, being a perfectionist can often help you get better grades in school. On the other hand, it can also cause you to become an epic procrastinator.
This often happens to me in college. I know I have a big assignment that needs to be done, but I keep procrastinating. Why? because I’m afraid my work won’t be good enough. I grow afraid to the point where my fear paralyzes me.
Growing up I thought grades were the most important thing. I thought that if I failed, that made me a failure. Looking back I realize that I was expecting too much of myself. I was only a kid, not a genius or a highly intelligent robot.
2. Will make you feel bad about yourself when you Fail
So let’s say you procrastinated on a project at work because you were too afraid that your work wouldn’t be good enough for your boss. So you decided to finish the whole project the night before your boss needed it. A few hours after giving it to your boss, he requests a meeting with you. He tells you that the report you wrote for him was rather mediocre. He knew you could do better.
After this short meeting, you head back to your office feeling frustrated and disappointed in yourself. You begin to think extremely negative thoughts about yourself.
I did such a terrible job on your report. The boss should’ve fired me. I am not even a good employee.
Although your boss may have been right in his assessment, you have no reason to think so negatively about yourself. Yes, you may have done a bad job, but you aren’t perfect and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be. Perfectionism makes failure at one task seem like a failure at being a human being.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in the perfectionism mindset is the fact that we equate our actions with our value. We often like to think that what we do, determines who we are. This is simply not true. Your value as a human being is intrinsic. You don’t have to do anything to be worthy of living or being accepted.
When we realize these truths, we can learn to stop beating ourselves up when we fail.
3. Will make you Stressed out
Along with increasing your likeness to procrastinate and making failure seem like a bigger deal than it needs to be, being a perfectionist will stress you out. You’ll spend so much time and energy worrying about whether or not that thing you did was good enough. You’ll often wallow around in guilt as you question whether or not you performed well or not.
When we expect perfection from ourselves, we are often left feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s just better to let things go and be what they are. Not everything you do will be perfect, no matter how much time and energy you put into it.
4. Will make you Judge others
When we are aspiring for perfection we often have an ego. We like to think that we work harder than everyone else and that we deserve to be successful. When you think like that, you will inevitably begin to look down on others.
Let’s say you’re in an accounting class at your university. Because you’re such a hard working student, you have an A in the class. One of your classmates, however, is not doing so well. She is struggling with her grades and often shows up late to class.
You might look at her and think, “man she is never going to go anywhere. She barely shows up to class and she’s always on her phone. If she worked as hard as I do, she’d probably be doing better in this class.”
Do you see how perfectionism can cause you to judge and even look down on other people? Becuase you expect perfection from yourself, you start to expect perfection from everyone else. This type of thinking is often responsible for destroying friendships and relationships.
If we expect everyone to be perfect, how can we extend empathy and compassion to them?
5. Will stop you from Chasing your Dreams
Have you seen that video on Youtube about Famous Failures? It describes how famous and successful men and women failed time and time again until they finally achieved their goals. Micael Jordan didn’t even make his high school varsity team his freshman year (but he did score 40 points a game on JV, but that’s a different conversation).
Perfectionism makes you so afraid to be imperfect that it may paralyze you. It will stop you from being the man or woman you’ve always wanted to be. You’ll be too afraid to put yourself out there.
The fear of failure is one of the things that holds so many people back. If you don’t give any effort to succeed, you never will.
It is also important to remember that fear is a valuable part of growth. Without failure, you will never know what you are doing wrong and will never be able to truly improve.
Failure actually is an option, and it’s a good one.