Perfectionism seems to be a theme that has been simply shoved aside within our modern day society. Fortunately, it has now become slightly more common to talk about things like depression and burnout. But as a human being, you are much more susceptible to the latter when you have received a hefty dose of perfectionism as a character trait. Either through your genes or through negative experiences in the past (mostly childhood).

And that’s why it’s so important that we all keep talking about perfectionism! Because we pretend it is “normal” that we are a perfectionist.

But it’s NOT. And I know… like all character traits it does have a positive side of course… I must admit. (I’ve been a proud perfectionist myself for YEARS.)

Let’s list the benefits of being a perfectionist:

  1. You can prevent a ton of “mistakes” using your perfectionist-powers.
  2. You’re more of a detailed-level worker, so you will notice things that others will overlook more quickly.
  3. You can deliver work that’s top of the notch – plain awesomeness!

…. Yea.

All fine and dandy. And it is true, to some extent.

In theory you can certainly deliver great work, thanks to your perfectionist nature. The thing is, you often forget how much stress it causes you along the way. What it costs you; for example, that your muscles cramp up in your neck and shoulders, or that you have terrible migraine attacks more often than other people. Or you might forget that, for example, you are also a lot SLOWER, mainly BECAUSE you are so focused on details …

In the LONG TERM, perfectionism often costs you a lot. It can ultimately even contribute to the development of an official burnout. And you don’t want to end up in that dark place, believe me (been there, done that…).

The reason I wanted to write this blog post is because I think it’s VERY important to inform you that perfectionism IN ADDITION is – strangely enough – a form of procrastination!

Ask yourself: ‘what is the real, underlying reason that I want to do everything so perfectly?’ There may be one big, main reason: wanting to keep control.

Okay, okay – so then, what is the underlying reason that you’re so scared of letting go? Possibly the reason for this is: fear of rejection or “not being good enough”. Because if you let go of the control, then your work might not be perfect and people might dislike you for it – or so you think. You with me on this?

And what BETTER way to avoid being rejected than by delving into the details of a task? You might just get lost in all those details. Which is a fortunate thing, ’cause it distracts you from your anxiety. And thus you will subconsciously postpone the “delivery of the end product” for as long as possible… it’s basically self-sabotage.

And thus postpone ‘your execution’, or that moment when your head is about to go off. The Final Roast. The Slaughter. The torture!! Okay hold on, sorry… I just got carried away there for a sec… ?

But seriously! I know that feeling, so I truly speak from experience.

Let’s face it: isn’t that moment of assessment horrible?! The feeling that all eyes are on you. You’re in the spotlight. And you are judged – or rather: condemned – on your delivered end product (whether this is a presentation, a report, an investigation or something completely different). Arghhh… just awful!

I myself have started projects with a lot of enthusiasm for years.
Then I got bogged down in the details of things.
And in the end I completely lost my enthusiasm.
And I ended up not finishing anything, because I thought: “Never mind, it won’t work anyways.”
So then finally, my perfectionist “self-fulfilling prophecy” showed up. Yup.
Nice and comfy to keep repeating that pattern: familiar to me, safe.

I was better off rejecting myself than being rejected by others. That would have been a hundred times more painful!

And so it happened.
For years I didn’t finish projects.
I didn’t write blog posts because I was afraid of people’s reactions.
I didn’t put anything on Social Media because of my fear of rejection.

Until one day I was completely fed up with it. I was no longer going to let my life be ruled by other people’s opinions.

I did everything I could to work on these patterns of perfectionism deep within myself. To break them. And finally, I did. I was successful in breaking old perfectionist habits.

My motto these days is “Strive for progress – not for perfection”.

It took me several years of training and self-development courses to get to this point. But I am very satisfied and happy that I did, and can absolutely recommend it to everyone. Do you REALLY want to change something in your pattern of perfectionism? Take that step today, because only YOU can control it! Don’t delay any longer!

With love, xo,
Jamila – Psychologist, Mindfulness-trainer & ACT-therapist.

P.S. Want to break your perfectionist habits, and save yourself the years of endless struggle (like the way I’ve struggled)? I totally get it. It’s draining to give it your absolute ALL, each and every day of your life… Contact me @ or comment below, because I got you covered with lots of different tactics and methods to help you relax a little and to learn to let go!


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