AcasăTerapiiPsihologiePerfecționism Obsesiv | Aesthesis Psihologi Madrid - Călătoria spre excelentă

Perfecționism Obsesiv | Aesthesis Psihologi Madrid – Călătoria spre excelentă

Perfecționism Obsesiv | Aesthesis Psihologi Madrid – Călătoria spre excelentă

When Perfectionism becomes constant dissatisfaction

Human beings are filled with paradoxes and contradictions. We know that there is no perfect job, perfect family, perfect partner, or perfect friends… However, sometimes our lives are focused on achieving perfection in one or all of these areas, even though we know rationally that it is not possible to achieve this level of excellence. Is it positive or negative to strive for the best version of ourselves? How does this constant pursuit of perfection affect our daily lives?

How Perfectionism becomes negative

All individuals try to project a positive image of themselves, whether it’s in the workplace or in personal and social relationships, striving to perform as best as possible in these areas. Thus, it would be absurd not to consider this as a normal and inherent action of human beings. However, what happens when the intention to give maximum effort is not enough? When the desire to achieve perfection in everything we do becomes an obsession and central point in life? In this case, we would be dealing with what we call „pathological perfectionism” or „obsessive perfectionism”. In other words, perfectionism that constantly leaves a person unsatisfied because they are unable to reach the incredibly high goals they set for themselves. When this happens, failure is not considered an option, which means that the threshold for frustration is very low and even the smallest mistake is seen as a terrible failure. This generates tremendous unhappiness for those who experience it since failure is an unavoidable part of life that, although unpleasant, is necessary for the proper personal development of any individual. At this point, it is natural for us to wonder what drives people to want to become „perfect beings”. These are some of the circumstances that can foster this pathological perfectionism:

– Children who only receive or have received parental approval through their achievements and not for their personal characteristics.
– Imitation of perfectionist attitudes from parents or growing up in an environment where failures or mistakes are not tolerated because they are believed to bring catastrophic and irreversible consequences.
– Lack of self-confidence and security, which generates a chronic discontentment that the individual associates with a lack of personal worth, leading to errors or failures.

Thoughts and Fears associated with Obsessive Perfectionism

Just like with any pathological behavior, individuals who see their lives being interfered with by perfectionism have repetitive thoughts and fears that predispose them to strive for excellence in all areas of their lives, regardless of the cost. These thoughts and fears ultimately lead to considerable distress. Some of these thoughts and fears are:

– Fear of failure, of making mistakes: As mentioned earlier, perfectionists tend to associate mistakes with a lack of personal worth. They have thoughts such as: „If I fail at this, it’s because I’m worth nothing as a person…” or „If I make mistakes, it means I’m not fit for this job.” These individuals are so focused on avoiding mistakes that they miss out on great opportunities for growth and learning.
– Fear of disapproval from others: Obsessive perfectionists associate any mistakes they make with the probability of rejection from others. Therefore, their attempt to „be perfect” is a way of protecting themselves from criticism or disapproval from those around them.
– Dichotomous thinking: Pathological perfectionists tend to evaluate situations as either extreme, without considering or valuing the middle ground. Therefore, not completing a task „perfectly” is considered a failure. For example, a student who usually gets perfect grades may consider a 9.5 on an exam as a failure.
– Rigid rules based on „shoulds”: Perfectionists have numerous rigid rules dictating how they should live their lives, how they should behave in order to project a good personal image to their loved ones or society in general. This emphasis on what they „should or shouldn’t do” leads to neglecting their true needs or desires. For example, „I should finish my work instead of going to the movies with friends.”

Obsessive Perfectionism in Daily Life

Obsessive or pathological perfectionism in a person is mainly detected because the desire for perfection in everything interferes with various aspects of their daily life. The main areas affected by perfectionism are:

– Work environment: While it is considered a great virtue in the workplace to thoroughly review work to make it as perfect as possible, this requires a great deal of time, which results in slower execution, lower productivity, and possibly colleagues who are faster… All of this leads to frustration or discomfort.
– Personal and relational environment: In the relational environment, two situations can arise. Firstly, in keeping with their own „self-demand,” obsessive perfectionists tend to be very demanding of others, sometimes becoming very intolerant and excessively critical. However, these individuals also put a lot of effort into their personal and social relationships, trying to make the other person feel comfortable, since they also need to „be perfect” in their relationships. All of this can backfire, as it can generate great anxiety and frustration when they don’t meet the high expectations placed on each relationship and when others reject them due to their excessive criticism.
– Health: In terms of mental health, numerous studies have shown that perfectionism increases the risk of developing psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and sleep disorders. In terms of physical health, the potential consequences of perfectionism are less documented, but some studies have shown that highly perfectionistic individuals are more prone, for example, to experiencing headaches, which is consistent with their obsession with perfectionism in everything.

How to Avoid Obsessive Perfectionism

Fortunately, there are several recommendations that can be followed to become aware of the problem that obsessive perfectionism poses and minimize its impact. Some useful guidelines for this are:

– Be aware that excessive perfectionism is a significant problem that prevents us from enjoying life, resulting in constant dissatisfaction.
– Accept and value oneself, considering that no human being is perfect, and furthermore, „perfection” can be very subjective.
– Set realistic, reasonable, and achievable goals based on one’s own needs, resources, and past achievements. A good tactic is to set successive goals, meaning to set „small goals” and once achieved, set new goals with a slightly higher level of difficulty than the previous ones, until reaching the ultimate goal.
– Focus on the process, not just the result. This way, one can appreciate an action not only for what it achieves, but also for the enjoyment experienced during the process.
– Delegate tasks when necessary. Knowing how to delegate is necessary, as it entails letting go of doing „everything” oneself and assigning tasks to colleagues or loved ones.

In conclusion, moderate perfectionism can be a great ally that motivates us to perform tasks and grow, creating the best version of ourselves. However, when it becomes an obsession and is taken to extremes, it can cause great suffering that hinders daily tasks and our own happiness. Nowadays, this obsessive perfectionism is becoming a common disorder due to the high demands of modern life, and it is necessary to try to control it so that it does not negatively affect us. If you have identified with any of the aspects mentioned in this post, do not hesitate to contact us at Aesthesis Psicólogos Madrid. We know how to help you overcome it. Consult us! „I think that perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”


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