Most people would consider having high standards a good thing. Striving for excellence can show that you have a good work ethic and strength of character. High standards can also push you to reach your peak level of performance. For example, athletes often train long and hard to reach excellence in their sports.
Perfectionism, on the other hand, involves a tendency to set standards that are so high that they either cannot be met, or are only met with great difficulty. Perfectionists tend to believe that anything short of perfection is horrible, and that even minor imperfections will lead to catastrophe.
For example, most people believe it is important to try to do one’s best and not make mistakes. However, most people also believe that making mistakes from time to time is inevitable and that making a mistake does not mean they have failed something entirely. However, adults with perfectionism tend to believe that they should never make mistakes and that making a mistake means they are a failure or a horrible person for disappointing others. Thinking like this makes it really scary for them to make mistakes. Trying to be perfect is also likely to make you feel stressed and maybe even disappointed with yourself much of time because you are not able to meet your standards easily or at all. Over time, you may even start to believe that you are not as capable as others. Therefore, it is worthwhile to consider loosening up your standards a bit to ease the stress and anxiety you may feel from trying so hard to be perfect.
To read further on steps to help you overcome perfectionism, click here to view complete PDF.
For Further Information:
Our Negative Thinking Versus God’s Promises To Us
This brief document gives a scriptural response to negative thinking by focusing on the promises found in the Bible. [ACCFS]
True Guilt/False Guilt True Guilt/False Guilt Graphic
This document highlights the differences between true guilt and false guilt. True guilt leads to recognition of our need for Jesus and the reality that His work on the cross is sufficient. True guilt leads to pursuing Jesus and therein finding hope. On the other hand false guilt leads to an endless cycle of shame, hopelessness, and despair. [ACCFS]
Truth Talk & Truth Talk Audio
Truth Talk is a positive thoughts generator based on Scripture that is designed to help people learn and use godly, healthy self-talk as they face their challenges. [ACCFS]
Learning to Tell Myself the Truth
Author: William Backus, Ph.D.
This 220-page workbook helps readers to understand their negative self-talk and learn to use scriptural truths to think in a more healthy, Christ-like manner. It includes specific chapters on dealing with depression, anxiety, anger, and perfectionism. It is an excellent book that the ACCFS counselors frequently recommend to others.
What to Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough: The Real Deal on Perfectionism
Author: Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D.
This 137-page book can help parents and children alike in managing the pros and cons of perfectionism. Designed for children around the ages of 9-14 to be able to read themselves, this book can also be an effective parent user manual by helping parents know how to understand and appropriately guide their perfectionist-type child.