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It's got to beeeeeee perfect!

For those of us that grew up in the 90's wearing baggy pants and denim we all know this song and we all sung it out loud. It's a sad song really, the writer has been through many relationship losses and she's determined to get it right this time, "its got to be perfect" , she's developed some perfectionistic traits

which sadly could lead her to even more disappointment in relationships.

Perfectionism refers to a personality trait or psychological mindset characterized by an individual's relentless pursuit of flawlessness and setting extremely high standards for themselves. People who exhibit perfectionistic tendencies often strive to achieve excellence in all areas of their lives and are highly critical of any perceived shortcomings, mistakes, or failures.

There are two main types of perfectionism:

  1. Adaptive Perfectionism: This type involves setting high standards and pursuing excellence in a healthy and balanced manner. Individuals with adaptive perfectionism are motivated by a desire to achieve their best while maintaining a realistic understanding of their limitations. They can manage setbacks and mistakes without becoming overly distressed. This is the healthy type!

  2. Maladaptive Perfectionism: This type involves setting unrealistically high standards and being excessively self-critical. Individuals with maladaptive perfectionism often experience anxiety, stress, and a fear of failure. They might struggle with completing tasks, as they constantly seek flawlessness and can become discouraged if their efforts do not meet their lofty expectations.

Perfectionism can have both positive and negative effects:

Positive Effects:

  • High Achievement: Perfectionists often excel in their endeavors due to their diligence and dedication.

  • Attention to Detail: They pay close attention to details, leading to thorough and meticulous work.

  • Drive for Improvement: Perfectionists continually strive to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Negative Effects:

  • Stress and Anxiety: The pursuit of perfection can lead to chronic stress, anxiety disorders, and burnout.

  • Procrastination: Fear of failure can lead to procrastination, as individuals avoid tasks to evade potential mistakes.

  • Low Self-Esteem: Perfectionists often tie their self-worth to their achievements, which can result in low self-esteem if they fall short of their goals.

  • Interpersonal Issues: Unrealistic expectations for oneself can also lead to high expectations for others, causing strain in relationships.

Addressing perfectionism often involves developing a healthier perspective on success, failure, and self-worth:

  1. Set Realistic Goals: Establish achievable goals that challenge you without being unattainable.

  2. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to a friend.

  3. Embrace Mistakes: Understand that making mistakes is a natural part of growth and learning.

  4. Focus on Progress: Instead of aiming for perfection, focus on making consistent progress.

  5. Seek Support: If perfectionism is causing distress, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor to develop coping strategies. We'd love to help you!

Jesus, was the ultimate perfectionist and whilst we can strive to be more like him, failure is a part of our human condition and should cause us to reflect on our limits and offer grace to ourselves and others when we fall short, because Jesus does that for us.

Would you like to understand your perfectionistic parts better so that they can help you rather than hinder relationships, please get in touch through our contact page.

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