We all have different personalities and character traits, right? Learning to understand yours can be very helpful in maintaining long-lasting relationships. For example, take perfectionism. If you are able to recognize yourself as a perfectionist, you can employ strategies to keep it from becoming a problem.
For the record, there is nothing wrong with being a perfectionist. Each and every one of us has one or two character traits that define who we are. Perfectionism is just one of many such traits. Don’t be ashamed if it’s one of yours. All of that said, allowing perfectionism to dictate how you believe others should behave in a relationship is bad news. Applying your perfectionist attitudes to others only stirs up trouble.
Are you a perfectionist? If you think you are but you have your doubts, check out these four signs of perfectionism, compliments of Relationships & More out of Rye, NY:
1.You Are Highly Self-Critical
Relationships & More therapists say that perfectionists tend to be highly critical of themselves. They are, as we say, “their own worst critics.” Does that sound like you? Do you constantly evaluate your performance only to find that you are not pleased?
A highly self-critical nature is a dead giveaway of perfectionism. You are highly self-critical because you are expecting to do everything perfectly. When you fail, being less than perfect gnaws at you.
2.You Overthink Your Decisions
A second sign of perfectionism is the tendency to overthink your decisions. It’s good to think things through, but not to the point at which you’re always doubting yourself. Overthinking that leads to doubt can ultimately lead to unwise decisions. It can also lead to being so paralyzed that you cannot make decisions at all.
Perfectionists have a tendency to turn over every rock and look around every corner in the decision-making process. That is not bad the first time, but the perfectionist does it a second time, and even a third. That’s when thinking things through becomes overthinking.
3.You Have a Need to Defend Your Actions
The third sign you may be a perfectionist is a need to defend your actions. Whenever you do something, whether you succeed or fail, you’re not content to let things be. You need to explain to others why you did what you did. You need to defend your thoughts, motivations, intentions, etc.
Why do perfectionists do this? Curiously, they are not really defending themselves to others. They are defending themselves against themselves. Defending is a way to justify actions in the midst of feeling self-critical. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to observe.
4.You Often Feel Agitated or Depressed
The fourth sign is not exclusive to perfectionists. But combined with the other three signs, it is the proverbial nail in the coffin. You are probably a perfectionist if, in addition to what you’ve already read, you often feel agitated or depressed as a result of things not being exactly the way you want.
Your agitation and depression are a result of being unable to cope with the fact that life isn’t perfect. You strive to make it so, yet your brain cannot accept the fact that perfection doesn’t exist. Your retreat into agitation and depression is simply the fruit of all that.
Perfectionism isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. It is simply a character trait. It only becomes a bad thing when you allow it to inject negative consequences into your life. You can be a perfectionist and live a happy and fulfilling life. And if that’s not the case, therapy can help you get a handle on your perfectionism.