Almost everyone, at one time or another, pursues perfection — doing the best job you can, setting goals, working hard to reach them and maintaining high standards. However, perfectionism isn’t about any of this. Perfectionism is a long, maddening drive down a never-ending road for flawlessness; it provides no rest stops for mistakes, personal limitations or the changing of minds.
Perfectionism can cause feelings of anxiety, fear, and self-doubt; it can cripple self-esteem, stifle creativity, and put a stumbling block in the way of friendships and intimate relationships. Ultimately, it can create or aggravate illnesses such as eating disorders, manic-depressive mood disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse.
In our achievement-oriented and competitive culture everyone can be prone to feel the need to be perfect. Complete this questionnaire to discover how perfectionistic you are.
__ I never do anything halfway; it’s all or nothing for me. Everytime.
__ People who do things halfway make me angry or disgust me.
__ I believe there’s a certain way to do things and they should always be done that way.
__ I get angry or defensive when I make mistakes. I hate to make them.
__ I often procrastinate on starting projects. I seldom meet deadlines. Or if I do, I kill myself meeting them.
__ I feel humiliated when things aren’t perfect.
__ I don’t like to admit not knowing how to do something or to being a beginner. If I can’t do something well, I won’t do it.
__ People say I expect too much of myself. Or of them.
__ In my family, you could never completely measure up to expectations.
__ I’m hard on myself when I lose, even if it’s only a friendly game or contest.
__ I often withdraw from others and from group activities.
__ I don’t think work should be fun or pleasurable.
__ Even when I accomplish something, I feel let down or empty.
__ I criticize myself and others excessively.
__ I like to be in control; if I can’t be in control then I won’t participate.
__ No matter how much I have done, there’s always more I could do.
__ I don’t delegate often and when I do, I always double-check to make sure the job is done right. It never is.
__ I believe it is possible to do something perfectly and if I keep at it, I can do it perfectly.
__ Forgetting and forgiving is not something I do easily or well.
There is a difference between excellence and perfection. Striving to be really good is excellence; trying to be flawless is perfectionism. If you’re concerned about your perfectionist behavior, don’t hesitate to contact me.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Wallette V. McCall is an author, speaker, and life coach for women in life transition. Wallette publishes the “Breakthrough to Change” monthly Ezine on how to thrive in the midst of change at: www.AnotherLevelCoaching.com