9 Signs of Perfectionism

Hey Optimist Minds!

Has anyone ever called you a perfectionist? Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself and others to be the best?

Perfectionism is a general pattern of behaviour characterised by the need to be flawless. People with this personality trait tend to have unreasonably high standards that set them up for disappointment.

If you’re wondering whether you or someone you know is a perfectionist, this video can be of help. Please note that this is only a self-assessment and in no way counts as an official diagnosis.

Now, here are nine signs of perfectionism.


You set unrealistic goals.

It’s always good to strive for perfection because that leads to high-quality end results. However, in reality, things can’t always be perfect, especially when we’re talking about humans.

A perfectionist will aim to achieve things that aren’t grounded in reality. For example, you might put it on yourself to finish a task with not enough time at hand. Or, you plan to be at the top in every class you take.


You achieve 90% of your target, but you obsess over the remaining 10%.

Perfectionists find it hard to focus on what’s going right if there’s even a tiny portion of things going wrong. So instead of feeling happy about the work they have successfully achieved, they end up spending hours overthinking the few imperfections.


You’re more focused on the results than the experience.

When you’re working hard on a project, are you more concerned with the results you can show than what you’re learning in the process? 

Maybe it’s a team assignment, and this is an opportunity to get to know your peers better. But you invest more in completing the work than enjoying the process. The perfectionist in you makes you miss out on the wholesome experience because you’re too worried about the end product.


You have a deep fear of failure.

For perfectionists, the driving force is a fear of rejection, abandonment, or failure and not the task in itself. You may be working so hard all the time because you feel you need to prove yourself to the world. On the other hand, failure is unacceptable to you because you’re so scared of what might happen afterwards.


You’re too hard on yourself.

Along with being critical of others, perfectionists are highly critical of themselves. Perhaps the internal dialogue in your mind is constantly reminding you of your shortcomings and incomplete tasks. It fills you with guilt and shame to not get things done.


You procrastinate a lot.

It seems counterintuitive, but procrastinating and perfectionism go hand in hand. That’s because the fear of not completing a task perfectly makes you postpone it to a more appropriate time. 

Unfortunately, putting it off for long makes you run short on time. Then, the pressure to impress keeps increasing while the goals get more unrealistic. This can create an endless procrastination cycle that concludes with panic.


It’s hard for you to take feedback.

Are you overly sensitive to constructive criticism? Do you struggle to take negative comments healthily?

It crushes a perfectionist to be reminded of their flaws. They hold an impractical vision of the ideal self that they want to become. Seeing reality makes them uncomfortable, so they’re unable to accept feedback.

Sadly, this makes it more challenging for one to perfect themselves as defensiveness prevents learning and reflection.


Your sense of self-worth depends on your success.

One of the most prominent warning signs of perfectionism is when you start associating your worth with your achievements. For example, you may feel like you’re only valuable if you have good looks, enough material possessions, and social status.

However, these are things that you don’t always have control over, so their absence shouldn’t make you feel worthless. Instead, our worth should come from our core values and how we use them to find purpose and live a meaningful life.


You don’t celebrate your wins.

Typically, perfectionists neglect their successes and pretend they’re not a big deal. Of course, it’s important to celebrate little wins to reward our efforts and keep our spirits high. But a perfectionist thinks they’re insignificant compared to the big achievement at the end of the road.

They don’t realise that acknowledging your success, no matter how small it is, helps you combat the fear of failure. Pausing to pat yourself on the back can also prevent burnout and improve your chances of completing your target.

Were you able to resonate with the situations we described? Do you think you could be a perfectionist? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.


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