We often ignore the dangers of perfectionism.
But perfectionism can have a terrible impact on our sense of self-worth. It can also put a strain on our relationships.
So why do we continue to think that we must be perfect?
Society certainly rewards people who appear to be perfect. And the media, including social media, will often reinforce this message by making it look like perfection is attainable, even though it is not.
Moreover, when we cannot attain it, despite all our efforts, it makes us feel like we are flawed.
Additionally, many of us learned in childhood to strive for perfection. We weren’t taught that we are “good enough” just the way we are.
Consider how perfectionism affects you and your relationships and how you can learn to break free from its tyranny.
What Is Perfectionism?
Of course, most of us know that we cannot be perfect. Nevertheless, we behave as though we can achieve perfection.
Some things perfectionists identify with include:
- Continuously striving for more success and never being happy with what you have achieved
- Foisting “should” on yourself, living a life of constant self-imposed obligation
- Negative feedback sends you spiraling into depression
- Frequent procrastination because you worry you will not do a good job
Some people focus their perfectionism in a specific area. For example, they may aim for perfection in work or in their looks.
Common Dangers of Perfectionism
At first glance, perfectionism might not seem so bad. After all, we push ourselves to be our best. Therefore, the world gets our best.
However, that does not make perfectionism a good thing. In fact, it has many dangerous effects.
How Perfectionism Affects You as an Individual
Perfectionists tend to feel unhappy a lot of the time. You may have noticed an overall feeling of dissatisfaction in your own life.
Other common issues created by perfectionism include:
- Low self-esteem
- Living in fear, including not trying new things
- Dependency on validation from others
- Ongoing feelings of worthlessness and embarrassment
- Regularly feeling overwhelmed by life
The Dangers of Perfectionism on Your Relationships
Perfectionism does not just impact you as an individual. It has a ripple effect on your relationships.
The most obvious problem is that you might be holding others to the same impossibly high standards. This makes your partner, children, friends, and co-workers feel like you don’t appreciate them. Your expectations of perfection can make them to feel like they are not good enough for you.
Additionally, your loved ones may feel like they can never make you happy. If you never feel like you are good enough, they may feel like they are failing you. This can create a big wedge in relationships, especially in a marriage.
Some of the other ways perfectionism can impact relationships include:
- Striving for perfection takes the joy out of experiences
- A lack of balance may mean that you tend to overwork at the expense of family time
- You may feel resentment when you always work so hard to please others
- Loved ones may feel that they have to tiptoe around your feelings
- You may block off your emotions, which can result in only keeping superficial relationships
The ironic thing is that the less you strive for perfection, the better your relationships will be. But subduing perfectionistic tendencies is not easy.
Learning to Feel Like You Are Good Enough
Perfectionism comes from feeling like you are not enough.
For example, you may feel that you are not:
- Thin enough
- Beautiful enough
- Strong enough
- Exciting enough
- Successful enough
- Rich enough
- Smart enough
At the core, what you may often feel is you are “not lovable”. This is a profound core problem, one which is likely rooted in childhood issues and as such does not get resolved on its own.
However, with effort and hard work, you can begin to believe wholeheartedly that you are enough. When you fully embrace this belief, you can stop being a victim of the dangers of perfectionism. As a result, even your relationships can thrive.
Are the dangers of perfectionism impacting your relationships? If you would like to read about relationship therapy and how you can get started on the path to knowing that you are good enough, please click HERE.