Perfectionism and Anxiety (How to Deal)

perfectionism, anxiety and being perfect, how to deal

Perfectionism is a trait that is appealing to most, on the surface. From athletes to students to mothers, we all strive for a certain level of excellence. While having high standards and goals is a good thing, the fine line between doing your best and toxic perfectionism sometimes gets blurred. Hey Missy! wants to share some tips on how to overcome perfectionism and the anxiety that comes with it, while still working on being your best self! 

What is Perfectionism? 

By definition perfectionism is the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation. In the very route of the definition perfection is well, unattainable. Now, perfectionism can be an inspiring and motivating trait. However, it can oftentimes become an unhealthy trait that will open the door to much bigger issues including depression, anxiety, etc. 

What Are the Types of Perfectionism? 

According to Psychology Today, there are three core kinds of perfectionism. 

  1. Self Oriented Perfectionism: when an individual imposes unrealistic goals or desires to be perfect on themselves
  2. Other Oriented Perfectionism: imposing these unrealistic standards and desires on others
  3. Social Oriented Perfectionism: involves expecting or needing these unrealistic standards from others 

Perfectionism can plague anyone, and depending on external factors, internal factors, and social factors you can be dealing with any of the three domains it expresses itself through. 

Signs You’re Dealing With Perfectionism

Perfectionists hold themselves to unrealistically high standards in most elements of their life. Individuals that are perfectionists are quick to find error in their ways or be over critical about mistakes. This is all rooted in the fear perfectionists have of failure and never living up to these unrealistic expectations they have set for themselves.

Though the idea of perfection isn’t always negative, there are some signs to look for if it takes a serious turn. Mental health is a common result of taking perfection one step to far. When constantly working towards something that is unattainable individuals often feel disappointed and can develop anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, etc. 

Who Perfectionism Plagues

From athletes to mothers there is no say in who will or will not become a perfectionist. However, studies have shown that in the last 30 years these tendies have increased exponentially among younger people, especially women as a result of social media and harmful social comparison. 

How To Deal  

  1. Learn to Recognize: First things first, remember it is not a bad thing to have high standards. However, if you realize those standards have transformed into personal desires and critiques that are unachievable, being able to recognize the root of the problem is the best place to start. 
  2. Deal With It Head On: Find the right tools to help you cope! From practicing positive self perspective talks to setting realistic habits for yourself you can remind yourself that you’re on the right track and you’re doing your very best!
  3. Practice: Everything worth working for takes practice! Sometimes habits are hard to break, but by practicing intentionality and taking one day at a time you’re going to get to where you are going just fine. 

Being Perfect, Society, and Women

Our society socializes woman for this idea of perfection. From being the perfect mom to being the most perfect girl in your sorority, the outside pressure that women feel as a result of social media, career development, and societal pressure can be deafening. Hey Missy wants to share some specific tips for young women to cope with perfectionism.

  1. Start Small: have expectations for yourself that are realistic and wont crush you if not achieved. Whether these are physical, mental, or emotional goals, work slowly towards being the best version of yourself. 
  2. Silence the inner critiques: put to bed the self comparison, don’t look at girls on instagram that are prettier, smarter, or better instead look at things that bring you joy or inspire you. Let go of the negative self thoughts that if you “only lost 5 more lbs” you’d be more popular or if you date that boy people will like you more. YOU are the best part, and you are on a unique journey! 

Remember you are not only good enough, you are the best you can be! Trust your inner compass, joy is coming. If you’re dealing with these feelings and no longer want to do it alone, Hey Missy! is here to help! Founded by Melissa Seigle, LPC, Hey Missy! offers therapy and life coaching for college women to live their most amazing and authentic lives.

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