Is Perfectionism Holding You Back-

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					Perfectionism may seem like a desirable trait to have, but it can often turn into more
of an obstacle than an asset. When you consider the fact that no one is perfect,
perfectionists are setting themselves up for futility and disappointment.

Perfectionism is not simply another name for laziness, even if the results from the two
character flaws may be very similar (it can be very difficult to get much done in either
case). However, there are major differences between perfectionism and laziness. Lazy
people don't get things done because they don't want to get them done, or there is
always some distraction which is much more appealing than whatever obligation
should be getting taken care of. Perfectionists, on the other hand, arrive at the same
result of inactivity for a different reason—they believe that nothing is worth
doing unless it is done perfectly. That's not to say that the same person can't exhibit
characteristics of both laziness and perfectionism at different times or even the same
time.

As it is difficult or even impossible to do many tasks perfectly, having the standard of
perfection can be awfully debilitating. Of course, there is a wide spectrum of
perfectionism, and most perfectionists typically draw the line somewhere short of
perfection on at least some things in order to get something done. Unfortunately,
perfectionists often save their most unrealistic standards for when it is most important,
grinding their productivity to a halt. It's like having writer's block, except it can rear
its ugly head in all kinds of other places. What makes perfectionism so unhealthy is
that it is fueled by low self-esteem, doubts, and depression. Instead of seeing failure
as a learning experience and an inevitable part of being a human being, perfectionists
interpret their mistakes as signs of their unworthiness.

Perfectionism is often caused by having stressful relationships or stressful
environments in one's formative years. For example, demanding parents could make
their child prone to perfectionism by causing their children to think they must earn
love through performance instead of receiving it unconditionally. The other extreme
can be just as bad, as distant parents can also cause children to feel unwanted and
unworthy. Genetics also plays a role in making someone a perfectionist, and the
"nature versus nurture" debate is unsettled as to exactly how much of an impact each
one has.

Perfectionists can pay a high price for their actions, or lack thereof. Their fears and
anxieties become self-fulfilling prophecies that can snowball into ever-worsening
feelings and relationships. They continue to disappoint themselves and those with
whom they associate.

However, there are ways to control perfectionism both internally and externally. One
way is to remove oneself from overly stressful relationships and environments. Of
course, that can't and shouldn't always be done. There is a big difference between
eliminating harmful stressors and simply hiding from the everyday stresses that we all
must face. The best way to get past that is by looking inward and realizing that "to err
is human." In fact, some of the greatest discoveries and learning experiences come
from mistakes. All anyone can expect of themselves is to give it their best effort.
Sharing your thoughts with friends, relatives, or a professional may help in this
department.

				
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posted:1/23/2011
language:English
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