• Alex Jarvis

When perfectionism Becomes Toxic.



Perfectionism is often perceived as a positive trait, one which pushes people to become high achievers and avoid doing what is wrong through setting high standards. In essence, perfectionism can be described as the desire to have everything perfect and making this a lifelong pursuit.

Perfectionism can be a good thing; it leads to excellence and extraordinary human performances. Take for an instance ballet performance - a high level of commitment and devotion to succeed are necessary. This kind of positive perfectionism is called adaptive perfectionism. It makes one strive for excellence and even in some instances, protect oneself.

However, the idea of a perfect world calls for high personal standards as well as for other people. These ideations convince a perfectionist that in order to live right and happy everything has to be right thus making him/her go in a wild goose-chase of an elusive, unrealistic goal.

More often than not, this brings internal frustration, exhaustion, judgement of others and lack of self-acceptance.

The perfectionist's mind is filled with potentially deluded beliefs such as:

  • Life is all about achieving more and more since this is the only way to become happier, admirable, and satisfied

  • Personal inadequacy

  • There is never two sides of the same coin, something or someone is either good or bad, successful or a failure, right or wrong

  • Judgements of those who fail in their perfectionism test

  • That success is only measured by productivity and not by effort or process

To such a person, perfection is achieved through perfectionism, which is never the case but in fact the very opposite. Rather than bringing peace and happiness, excessive perfectionism can result in immense difficulties which include:

1. Anxiety and exhaustion

Since there is just too much to be achieved, fear of not managing to do it all creeps in pushing the person to overwork themselves thus becoming exhausted and miserable.

2. Trouble with self-acceptance

By believing that he/she is not good enough, a perfectionist strives to become special and admirable. They believe they are unlovable and unacceptable the way they are.

3. Difficulty in relationships

With extremely high standards, perfectionists are difficult to impress making their friends and partners feel insufficient and pressured. On the other hand, perfectionists are often resentful and disappointed, rigid and competitive.

4. Internal shame

Due to their intolerance for disorganisation, perfectionists have an imaginary way in which life should be. Through perfectionism, they try to fix the world and bury their internal shameful feelings, which are always painful and messy.

To deal with the never achievable ideation of perfectionism, its good to understand that trying to always fix the outside can never help. Instead, lasting change can only be achieved by evaluating and understanding one’s inside and then working on it.

Start with small steps such as shunning criticism, avoiding overreacting and overanalyzing things; instead, appreciate the small things done right.

All this builds self-love.

In case it becomes too hard, incorporating a therapy can be of great help. Through specialised programs provided by Jarvis Hypnotherapy, the journey to overcome toxic perfectionism can be made easier.

We offer diverse impactful therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Time Line Based Therapy among others. All you need is to make a booking here.

#perfectionism #hypnotherapy #cognitivetherapy


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