The Impossibility and Exhaustion of Perfectionism
Perfectionism is about fear: of making a mistake, of being rejected, of getting it wrong, of being targeted. Its accompany behaviour is all about performance. 

Perfectionists use their performance to gain affirmation/approval and make themselves feel better. They are trying to control the environment, to control how others react and respond to them.
Perfectionists are not OK with MESSY. They don't want to show feelings or emotions - letting go of the facade spells danger for them.  There is a lot of unhappiness because there is no room for simply being all that they are, in their imperfection, their humanness, their "not knowing" place.

Plagued by a chronic dissatisfaction with themselves, perfectionists live with an ever-present level of anxiety, constant negative self-talk and a "no win" situation. They work to combat or avoid those feelings by doing everything in their power to look or behave perfectly ... and that is where the impossible lives.
When there is no room for the growth, evolution, development that comes from learning via mistakes, our world shrinks to defined, control, small parameters. We literally shrivel up, exhausted from the effort of always DOING, and doing MORE.

We constantly strive to maintain a level of perfect performance that will bring the yearned-for approval or affirmation, acceptance or lack of danger. Eventually, the process of doing (performance) becomes connected to that approval. The cycle of doing, and hopefully gaining approval (or not - which leads to more, faster, harder striving) does not stop.


Think of the exhaustion involved in never being able to rest or let go for a moment because you are always stage managing your performance every minute of the day!

If you relate to this cycle in your Self, reflect upon these questions a moment.

  • What's the upside to being perfect? (ie when I am perfect everybody leaves me alone)
  • What is the downside if you let it go? What are you afraid of? What are the consequences in your mind? How are you protected? (it would be a disaster, things would fall apart, I would get in trouble, they wouldn't like that ...)
  • How would you feel if you didn't do what you usually do? What are the feelings that come up for you?Complete these sentences:

"I have to be perfect or else ..." (describe what will happen)

"If I am not perfect then they will ..." (describe what they will do/say/feel)

Above all, have compassion for yourself (perfectionists are pretty tough on themselves!). When you look into the fears and beliefs you have, you will no longer need the exhausting behaviour around striving for perfect. 

And finally, try to remember that you are not alone. Perfectionism is rife, but it is not a life sentence if you are willing to take a look at it within you. 

If you would like help with perfectionism, contact me.