Signs to look out for
- An all-or-nothing attitude
- A sense of powerlessness
- Loss of pleasure
- Sensitivity to criticism
- A need for approval
- Being overly critical of others
- A sense of failure
If you are feeling over-anxious about something, ask yourself:
- Am I expecting too much?
- What are the consequences of not achieving perfection?
- What else is important?
Often portrayed as a virtue, perfection can have an insidious, debilitating effect. The expectation we have of ourselves – or that we perceive from others – can cause undue stress and prevent us from achieving what we want.
Perfectionism, like an ingrained habit, is best dealt with by taking the following steps:
- Recognise and acknowledge perfectionist behaviour.
- Set realistic goals.
- Break big goals into smaller tasks for an on-going sense of achievement.
- Try and enjoy the thinking and research you put into your work, as much as the final grade.
- Keep things in perspective. Learn to distinguish which tasks are important and give the greatest return; put effort into those tasks, and be prepared to cut corners with the others.
- Acknowledge and learn from your mistakes.
- Be a self-supporter by turning self-criticism into affirmation and encouragement.
- You can always contact our own Counselling service
- You might also like to check further information at Centre for Clinical Interventions (opens an external site).
Acknowledgement: This information was adapted with the permission of Victoria University of Wellington.