Did you know there are types of perfectionism that isn’t helpful and considered maladaptive?
Let's embrace the imperfection in life.
Read below to see if you relate to any of the types and where it might be stemming from.
3 Types of Unhelpful Perfectionism
1. Socially Prescribed – these folks have the belief that others expect them to be perfect and/or are highly critical for not meeting expectations.
2. Self-oriented – high personal expectations, self-critical, and having very high standards for themselves.
3. Other-oriented – expectation of others to be perfect and are highly critical of others when they don’t meet their high expectations.
Do any of these resonate in yourself or maybe someone else?
I’ve had clients struggling with overly nit-picky other oriented bosses or family members. Some clients struggle with their own self-oriented perfectionism and others where they think they must be perfect to meet other’s expectations.
Perfectionism Can Show Up as Extreme High Standards in…
- Performance – career, athletic, financial, artist
- Achievement – career and/or academic
- Physical – appearance, health, fitness
- Order, being on time, organized or clean
- Relationships – family, friends, work
- Strict moral or spiritual actions or beliefs
Adaptive perfectionism and having goals, being organized can be positive. It becomes maladaptive when it’s taken to an extreme and becomes unrealistic and negative to yourself and or others.
Where does perfectionism come from? It depends and the following factors can increase your likelihood of perfectionism traits.
Potential Roots of Perfectionism
- Frequent disapproval from others
- How we’re raised – high expectations, controlling and/or parental pressure
- Insecure attachment in childhood = unable to self soothe as an adult
- Genetics – research shows it may run in families
- Trauma – childhood neglect or abuse
- Social media - expectation of being/sharing perfection
- Immigration – living up to the standards of others or their sacrifices
- Higher education – high pressure areas of study
- Mental Health – anxiety, depression, or OCD
- Athletics – in athletes and/or coaches
- Arts – expected perfect performance
If you find yourself or someone you care about moving towards maladaptive perfectionism here’s my list for strategies you can take to overcome.
Strategies for Working with and Through Perfectionism
1. Stop comparing yourself to others – less social media
2. Complete and imperfect vs. perfect and undone
3. Be mindful of self-talk – work on positive self-talk
4. Reframe negative self-talk
5. Write out positive affirmations
6. Work towards a growth flexible mindset vs fixed rigid
7. Practice mindfulness – being in the present moment vs. past or future
8. Meditation in the present moment
9. Avoid procrastination
10. Set micro goals for yourself and celebrate milestones
11. Celebrate wins
12. Lean into making mistakes
Please take radical good care of yourself. You are enough!
“Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval. Most perfectionists grew up being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system: “I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect.” Healthy striving is self-focused: How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think? Perfectionism is a hustle.” ~ by Brene’ Brown – from Daring Greatly
If you or someone you know is challenged with perfectionism or has been knocked down reach out and contact me. I provide a safe place to work toward being comfortable with the imperfect.
I have space for one client in December. If that’s you or someone you know please contact me. Let’s have a conversation to see how I can be of support.
Latest client wins – Connecting on LinkedIn to grow network even though it’s hard and they “hate” it. Booked time off for self-care to reduce burnout. Didn’t check e-mail or instant message during Thanksgiving break – it felt wonderful! I love seeing clients thrive and take good care of themselves!
Follow me on social media for insightful questions, tips, and motivational quotes.
Peace, and blessings,
Teresa – Leaning into imperfection and mindfully not striving for perfection.
Teresa Q. Bitner, M.Ed., PMP, PCC - Resiliency, Change and Loss Coach
Partnering with those who have been knocked down by life and want to build resiliency and move forward and live a bold life.
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