Are you a perfectionist? 10 questions to ask yourself to find out by Empower Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama. 

When I ask people if they think they are perfectionists, the common response is “I’m not a neat freak so, I’m not a perfectionist.

Being a “neat freak” is not a necessary criteria for perfectionism. It can be, but just because you don’t have to have everything “just so”, does not mean you have escaped the grasp of perfectionism.

So how can you tell if you are a perfectionist? I have 10 questions for you to ask yourself to find out. But first, why should we care to know?

30% of the general public struggles with perfectionism. 80% of the gifted population (IQ of 115 or higher) struggles with perfectionism.

There are 3 types of perfectionism:

  1. Self-oriented : Strong motivation to be perfect
  2. Other Oriented : Unrealistic expectations of others
  3. Social prescribed: Belief that other’s have an unrealistic (perfect) expectations of you.

What does perfectionism cost us? 

If you suffer from self-oriented perfectionism, you can easily get stuck in your comfort zone, afraid to try anything new. Self-oriented perfectionists fear making mistakes and fear failure. If you are a self-oriented perfectionist, you might not have any hobbies because you are afraid you will not be able to do these hobbies “good enough” or “well enough”. 

If you are a self-oriented perfectionist you do not let yourself be a beginner. You often compare yourself to others who have more experience or more knowledge than you.

If you suffer from other-oriented perfectionism, you might micro-manage your family, or your co-workers, expecting therm to be perfect. You might think that everyone should reach their potential all of the time. This can cause friction when the other person does not want the same things you want for them. 

If you suffer from social prescribed perfectionism, you worry about the judgment of others. You worry about disappointing others. You are often in your head trying to mind read and uncover what others are thinking of you, instead of living your life.

You can start to see by now the ways that perfectionism interferes with our lives, keeping us from focusing on what we want because we are so locked on what we do not want to happen——mistakes and failure. 

Ask yourself these questions to find out if you might be a perfectionist:

  1. Do you hold yourself to unrealistic or unattainable standards?

2.   Do you criticize yourself when you do not reach these impossible standards?

3.   Do you have the thought, “If I don’t do this myself, it will not be done properly)?

4.   Do you focus on your flaws or the parts of you that must be fixed?

5.   Do you have a narrow definition of success and a broad definition of failure?

6.   Do you believe others expect you to be perfect or to never make a mistake?

7.   Do you always seek the approval of others?

8.   Are you all about your results?

9.   Do you often feel like you are “not enough”?

10. Do you procrastinate?

Myth about Perfectionism:

Many mistakenly believe that perfectionism is a healthy motivator, but that’s not the case. 

Perfectionism can make you feel unhappy with your life. It can lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harm. Eventually, it can also lead you to stop trying to succeed. Even mild cases can interfere with your quality of life, affecting your personal relationships, education, or work.

Dangers of Perfectionism:

Perfection, of course, is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality. When taken too far, the striving for perfection can lead to negative outcomes, like procrastination,  a tendency to avoid challenges, rigid all-or-nothing thinking, toxic comparisons, and a lack of creativity

As a recovering perfectionist, Kathryn Ely, of Empower Counseling, knows what perfectionism costs you. At Empower Counseling, we can help you recover from perfectionism, and live a much more joyful life.

Kathryn Ely, at Empower Counseling is advanced trained in Acceptance Commitment Therapy which is proven affection for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and difficult life transitions. Empower Counseling is a Birmingham counseling clinic serving Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia, Hoover, and all surrounding areas. Empower offers in-person and online counseling to college students, young adults and professionals. Call Empower today at 730-6570.

Share This:

Contact Empower