Self-help Lesson #18 – Are You A Perfectionist?

Types Of Perfectionism Definition Check (P) If This Describes You Check (P) If This Describes Someone You Know
1. Physical

Perfectionism

You think you must have a perfect face or figure to be desirable and appealing.
2. Achievement

Perfectionism

You feel it would be terrible to make a mistake, or fail, or to fall short of a personal goal in  your career or studies.
3. Perceived

Perfectionism

You believe that  you have to impress people with your accomplishments, talent, or intelligence to get them to like and respect you.  You are convinced that others will look down on you if you fail, look foolish, or make a mistake.
4. Emotional

Perfectionism

You feel ashamed of negative and vulnerable feelings such as loneliness, depression, anger, anxiety or panic.  You believe that you should always feel happy and in control of your emotions.
5. Self-esteem

Perfectionism

You feel inferior to others who are more intelligent, attractive, or successful.
6. Relationship

Perfectionism

You believe that people who care for each other should never fight or argue.
7. Romantic

Perfectionism

You find it difficult to form lasting intimate relationships because people are never quite good enough.  You become preoccupied with people’s shortcomings.
8. Entitlement You get upset when other people (or the world) do not measure up to your expectations.  You may get excessively angry or frustrated when a train is late, when traffic is slow, or when people do not treat you with sufficient respect.
9. Obsessive-Compulsive Tendencies You feel your house or office must always be immaculate and you spend excessive amounts of time checking things, cleaning or organizing.

 

PERFECTIONISM VS. THE HEALTHY PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE

 

PERFECTIONISM THE HEALTHY PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE
1. You feel stressed and driven and motivated by the fear of failure. 1. You feel creative and motivated by the  feeling of enthusiasm.
2. Your accomplishments never seem to satisfy you. 2. Your efforts give you feelings of joy and satisfaction.
3. You feel you must impress others with your intelligence or accomplishments to get them to like and respect you. 3. You do not feel that you have to earn love or friendship by impressing people.  You know that people will accept you as you are.
4. If you make a mistake or fail to achieve an important goal, you become self-critical and feel like a failure as a human being. 4. You are not afraid to make mistakes.  You see failure as an opportunity for growth and learning.
5. You think you must always  be strong and in control of your emotions. 5. You are not afraid to be vulnerable or share your feelings with others.

 

PERFECTIONISM EXERCISE 1

Choose one of the following beliefs and write it at the top of the Attitude Cost-Benefit Form.

  • “I must always try to be perfect.”
  • “People will think less of me if I fail or make a mistake.”
  • “I must be outstanding to be worthwhile and loved by others.”

 

Review of Beyond Anxiety and Phobia which goes beyond symptom management to treat the whole person, and to provide readers with an array of alternative strategies whose goal is long-term recovery. Drawing on perspectives and techniques that have proven their use in his clinical practice, Bourne covers alternative therapies, such as herbs, yoga, massage, acupuncture, and addresses the impact of perfectionism and other personality issues, such as fears of rejection and abandonment or over cautiousness. If this example was helpful to you then you might want to check out his work.

 

Perfectionism: The Cost Benefit Analysis Form

 

Instructions:  List the advantages and the disadvantages of a negative feeling, thought, belief, or behavior.  You would think perfectionist would have high self-esteem, but it is usually just the opposite.  They are driven to just be OK.

EXAMPLE:  “It’s important to me for people to only see me as a strong person”.  “I’m always there for everyone else, I don’t know how to ask for help when I need it”.

WRITE YOUR BELIEF HERE: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

List the advantages and disadvantages of your belief about perfectionism below:

Advantages Disadvantages
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