The pursuit of perfection is dogged with self-doubt and worry. Although a certain amount of striving for perfection can be a good thing, when it is the over-riding emotion in your life it can have devastating consequences. If you continually stretch yourself by aiming for perfection in every aspect of your life, there will inevitably come a time when these goals are not attainable. This can then lead to anxiety, depression and in some cases even suicide. See if you recognise any of the following ten things that a perfectionist understands: The only result you are interested in is success. Get a B pass in your latest exam? Not good enough. And it doesn’t just concern passing exams. Being a perfectionist means that every aspect of your life is under scrutiny. Whether you are trying out a new recipe or you have a target at work to fulfill. Both are equally important to the perfectionist. When you live your life being upset at the slightest imperfections, a person that is able to let these things slide is a mystery to you. You simply do not get how they cannot allow imperfections to irritate or get to them. Do you have a tendency to always correct someone’s grammar or spelling? Do these mistakes literally jump off the page and slap you around the face? Do you wonder why people cannot see the same mistakes as obviously as you can? Chances are that you are a perfectionist. Talking about those spelling mistakes, do you find that any little thing that’s not perfect irritates you way out of context? Like finding a supermarket has overcharged you, or that Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer is actually more expensive than buying two separately? Why can’t things be perfect like you expect them to be? Knowing when to stop or when a project is good enough to be submitted is part of being a well-balanced human being. Some people take absolute ages working on something until they think it is perfect. Mentally strong people know that by making mistakes, we learn and move on. To a perfectionist, this is not an option. Making a mistake means that we are not perfect and our minds simply cannot let it go. A true perfectionist will go over their work a thousand times until they think it is perfect, but of course, it never is for the perfectionist. In their minds they know they need to stop and let go of the work, but they find it extremely difficult. They believe that if they just carry on for a little bit longer they will make it better. Perfectionists do know when to draw the line, but they always believe that anything they have worked on could still be just that little bit better. People can do well if they are our friends, but so long as they do not do better than us. Our success is measured by the people we hang around with, and we have to be at the top of the pile, always and at all times and in all categories. Being the most intelligent, the highest earner, the one with the best house, the most gorgeous partner is important to a perfectionist as they constantly compare themselves to their friends, and they have to be the best. As perfectionists we are constantly berating ourselves to do better, to be better, and to improve on what we have already done. Taking criticism from people that we believe to be less than perfect makes us angry. How dare they criticise us? They are not worthy. To a perfectionist, the smallest task can appear daunting if you put all your effort into it. Perfectionists give themselves so much pressure that sometimes the only way they can cope is to constantly put off what needs to be done. If you recognise yourself in any of the above statements, then it is good to remember that life is never perfect, neither are people. In fact, it is our imperfections that make us interesting. If everyone was perfect, it would be a very boring world. R.
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