Look at the Characteristics of the Perfectionist and find out. We see this in clients that come to our office especially with those in full time vocational ministry. Seems to be a “breeding” ground for it. Those who need approval are easily drawn into it. So many demands and expectations, if we’re not confident in who we are and know what our purpose is with a plan, BTW!!!,we can become victim to the “P” word……
Perfectionism is the need to always be first or best, to always achieve and never make mistakes. It is common in our culture. Women, in particular, are susceptible to this problem. They have traditionally been taught the role of service to others and are highly vulnerable to the kind of perfectionist thinking that says they should always be helpful and gracious. Traditionally, women have assumed the homemaker role and worked to have the best-behaved children, the whitest laundry and the cleanest house on the block. Today’s woman has more options, but despite the great strides that have been made in this arena, a woman’s perception of herself is colored by what she learned as a child and by how society views her.
Men, too, are burdened by antiquated and limited notions of what a man should be. Their self worth is often based on a successful career and the ability to provide financially for their families. They may believe they must be the perfect husband and father to be worthwhile.
Perhaps you are thinking, “So what if I am a perfectionist? I thought it was one of my strengths.” While it is true that perfectionism can yield some positive results in the short-run, in the long-run it is self-defeating.
- An insatiable need for achievement;
- A need to be indispensable;
- No room allowed for mistakes in self or others;
- Unrealistic expectations of self and others;
- Impossible goals set for self and others;
- Need for approval from everyone;
- Concentration on failures;
- Extreme competitiveness;
- Fear of taking risks;
- Procrastination, put it off until you can “do it right” !
- Difficulty accepting criticism.
- Identify the event or situation which causes stress. Be careful to include only facts.
- Listen to your thoughts (self-talk) about the situation, and change them if they are unnecessarily upsetting you.
- Identify the feelings you have about the situation. Do you feel angry, anxious, fearful, etc.?
- Challenge your irrational, unrealistic or untruthful thoughts.
- Learn to problem solve. Ask yourself if there is anything that can be done about the situation. List your options and choose the constructive actions that seem most workable.