After I wrote an article titled ‘you just need to love yourself’ and another titled ‘you just need to let go’, I came to see that there was another area for me to touch upon. Along with these two phrases, there is what can be said if someone is a perfectionist.
If so, they can also be told that they need to stop being a perfectionist or something similar. Someone like this could have the need to be perfect in one area of their life or it could be something that relates to every area of it.
If someone hears something like this, it could show that the person saying it is worried about the effect that their perfectionist nature is having on them. The other person may see how destructive it is to ones wellbeing.
Then again, it could show that they find ones behaviour irritating, which is why they have spoken out. What this can show is that there are at least two reasons as to why something like this would be said.
Pros and Cons
To say that being a perfectionist only leads to problems would be most likely be an oversight, due to the positive effect that it can have. For example, if someone can manage this part of them and uses it to perform well, it could serve them.
In this case, they won’t be controlled by the need to be perfect; instead, they will use it to perform well at their job, for instance. Still, they may still need to remind themselves from time to time to take a step back and to not be too hard on themselves.
Not the Same
Having said that, it could be said that this is not what a real perfectionist is like; if it was, it would be something that would take over their whole life. Based on this, it will be something gives someone to need to get everything right.
As far as they are concerned, there might only be two options: either they can get something right or they can get something wrong. It is then as if their mind only has two extremes, there is no middle ground.
Needing to get everything right, and even to always look right, will most likely cause them to experience a hell of a lot of pressure. They may find that they have the tendency to experience a fair amount of anxiety and to be depressed.
It is then not going to be much of a surprise if they have the tendency to experience a fair amount of stress. Out of their need to be perfect, they will need to have their guard up at all times, being unable to just be and to relax into their body.
Taking this into account, it is very unlikely that someone like this will just be able to stop behaving in this manner. What is clear is that being a perfectionist is a big part of who they are, if not who they are, at this point in time.
One thing that they could do is to look into the thoughts that they have, and to try to manage these. The cognitive behaviour therapy approach may allow them to finally let go of this need and to settle down, or it might not have much of an effect on them.
A Deeper Look
What someone like this is likely to find, if they go deep within themselves, is that they are carrying a lot of shame. Through feeling so worthless, the only way that they will have value and be accepted by others is if they get everything right.
Getting something wrong will be seen as something that would cause other people to see how flawed they are, which would result in them being rejected and abandoned. Their need to be perfect is then a defence against feeling worthless.
Trying to get just everything perfect will be incredibly hard, but facing the shame that is within them will be even harder. Shame is undoubtedly the most painful emotion to experience and, when someone’s whole being is loaded with it, it is going to be normal for them to do everything they can do keep it at bay.
Early abuse and/or neglect can set someone up to be loaded with shame as an adult. When it comes to dealing with this early trauma, the assistance of a therapist or a healer will probably be needed.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.