Perfectionism
Introduction
An excellent life does not result from chance, fate, or good luck, but from a succession of excellent days lived in pursuit of a worthy purpose.

Perfectionism, as a personal trait or goal is in most cases a pathological condition, because perfectionism is a belief that work or output that is anything less than perfect is unacceptable. At such levels, then it is an unhealthy belief, and a pathological state of mind akin to obsession as a trait and obsessive compulsive disorder as a disease form.

Two types of perfectionism are described. Normal perfectionists "derive a very real sense of pleasure from the labours of a painstaking effort" and is merely a personality trait potentially harmful because eventually it may lead to the other form.

Neurotic perfectionists are "unable to feel satisfaction because in their own eyes they never seem to do things good enough to warrant that feeling". This is not just a trait but a compulsive disorder. The condition manifests in repetitive self-presentation, advertising one's own perfection, and avoiding situations in which one might appear to be imperfect and/or failing to disclose situations in which one has been imperfect.

The turning point between obsessive personality and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder; OCD is easy to see even by a layperson. You can easily recognize a workaholic who works not for financial need but from inbuilt OCD a clinical disorder. A person who unreasonably blames himself for the smallest of error is easily identified. Perfectionists are obsessives who need to feel in control at all times to protect themselves and ensure their own safety.

Perfectionism refers to a set of self-defeating thoughts and behaviours aimed at reaching excessively high and unrealistic goals. Perfectionism is often mistakenly seen in our society as desirable or even necessary for success.

If you are a perfectionist, it is likely that you learned early in life that other people valued you because of how much you accomplished or achieved. As a result you may have learned to value yourself only on the basis of other people’s approval. Thus, your self-esteem may have come to be based primarily on external standards. This can leave you vulnerable and excessively sensitive to the opinions and criticism of others.

Perfectionism is like a double-edged sword--it cuts both ways. Perfectionists often don't realize that they are hurting themselves by their own actions.

Healthy Striver
  • Sets high standards, but just beyond reach
  • Enjoys process as well as outcome
  • Bounces back from failure and disappointment quickly and with energy
  • Keeps normal anxiety and fear of failure and disapproval within bounds––uses them to create energy
  • Sees mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning
  • Reacts positively to helpful criticism
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