How Being A Perfectionist Is Making You Miserable

We all want to succeed, and it would be great if nothing ever went wrong. But unfortunately life isn’t quite that easy. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, crap happens, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The only thing you can control is how you react to mistakes and set backs. While being detail-oriented and doing everything in your power to get things done right are good qualities, beating yourself up when something doesn’t go as planned isn’t helping. Here’s why being a perfectionist doesn’t always guarantee everything will be perfect.

  1. You’re too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes. It’s unavoidable. So beating yourself up every time you miss a tiny detail is a recipe for disaster. The fact you messed up isn’t as important as what you do to fix it. So instead of hating yourself, focus on finding a solution.
  2. You’re obsessive. Do you lay awake at night, running every single decision you made in the last 24 hours through your mind over and over? Or maybe that knot in your stomach never fully goes away because you can’t trust that everything will be okay. Being so tense all the time will eventually lead to real health problems if you aren’t careful, so take a deep breath and relax once in awhile, why don’t you?
  3. Nothing is perfect. There’s always going to be something that could have turned out better. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards, but know when to draw the line.
  4. People won’t want to work with you. Not only are you too hard on yourself, but your expectations for other people are sometimes just as unrealistic. If you’re constantly criticizing and never satisfied, no one is going to want to be around you.
  5. You take on too much. Because you don’t trust anyone else to do anything the way you want it to be done, you end up doing everything yourself, whether you have time or not. If you delegate a little more and believe in other people’s competence you’ll realize having free time is actually a good thing.
  6. Not everything is in your control. No matter how in control you think you are, unexpected things are always going to come up. The only way to deal with that is to expect the unexpected, and accept when something wasn’t your fault.
  7. Being able to adapt is more important. Just because something isn’t going the way you wanted doesn’t mean it’s going to fail. Resourcefulness and coming up with solutions on the fly will serve you a lot better than expecting everything to be perfect.
  8. Time just doesn’t always allow for perfection. If you routinely miss deadlines because you can’t stand the thought of submitting something before it’s perfect, you’re going to run into problems. You need to know what you’re capable of in the given amount of time so you don’t commit to things you can’t accomplish.
  9. There are more important things than being perfect. Like your sanity. And maintaining positive relationships. And being honest and realistic about what you can and cannot do.
  10. Sometimes mistakes are a good thing. Learning is all about trial and error. It’s rare to know exactly how to get things perfect on your first attempt. There are some mistakes that you’ll only make once, but it took making that mistake in order to learn what to do differently.
By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to, contributes regularly to, IN Magazine, and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on Twitter @courtooo.