Well – how do I know if I am a perfectionist or not?
What is shocking to most people about perfectionism is that it is not just double checking work or emails. It also includes avoidant behaviors, fearing failure, rigid needs for control, and staying in a comfort zone. Perfectionism could literally be the number one thing holding you back right now from everything you could ever desire: happiness, time freedom, productivity, mental wellness, etc.
BUT, a lot of people in society today try to say they are perfectionists. The truth is: If you are a perfectionist, you probably know you are. However, I have crafted this blog to help eliminate any confusion. For starters, the definition of perfectionism found on google from the Dictionary is: refusal to accept anything less than perfection. Since that is a rather broad definition, I figured I would refine this a bit for you to really see when you teeter into the level of toxic with your perfectionism.
So, let’s check-in with a couple of questions that may be indicators of perfectionism. Call this a little “Perfectionist Quiz.”
- Do you spend more time worrying about a task after it is done, overthinking minutiae details of it relentlessly?
- Do people often call you a perfectionist?
- Do people tell you that you have control issues?
- Would you describe yourself as risk averse?
- Do you spend so much time staring at the same document over and over before submitting it?
- Do you hold back ideas because you fear criticism?
- How long does it take you to send a work email? Then, do you double check it to make sure it was absolutely perfect? If not, how guilty do you feel?
- Do you find yourself procrastinating on big projects because you do not know if you will be able to do it?
Well, let me let you in on a little secret – if you felt a deep resonation with any of the above. You are probably a perfectionist. Let me dive into each question a bit more.
Number 1: Do you spend more time worrying about a task after it is done, overthinking minutiae details of it relentlessly?
- If you said YES, this is a sign of perfectionism because you have a lingering anxiety over the level of flawlessness of your work. If you have a general confidence in your abilities and a knowledge that done is better than perfect, you would submit something and be relieved.
Number 2: Do people often call you a perfectionist?
- If you said YES, this is a sign of perfectionism because your friends and family have identified that they must tiptoe around you or they might be afraid of disappointing you. Calling yourself a perfectionist is one thing, but when other people start doing it in large numbers, it means you have made an impression (for better or most likely worse).
Number 3: Do people tell you that you have control issues?
- Sometimes, people do not say perfectionist outright but they do say you have control issues. They often leave the planning up to you and do not want to get involved. Again, this is a sign that you are a perfectionist.
Number 4: Would you describe yourself as risk averse?
- A big sign of perfectionism is when you avoid things that are “risky”. Now, I mean minor risks too. If you are someone who will not try something new for fear of looking dumb, or you have to practice before doing something “new” – you may be a perfectionist.
Number 5: Do you spend so much time staring at the same document over and over before submitting it?
- This one is pretty obvious. Perfectionists will toil over products for a long time before submitting them. If you can whip something together and push send quickly, you may not be a perfectionist.
Number 6: Do you hold back ideas because you fear criticism?
- Fearing criticism is a sign of a couple of things, but it is an indicator of perfectionistic tendencies. When you do not speak up or share your idea, you often worry what people think. Also, if you do show something and then try to justify it as they read it, that is another indicator of perfectionism.
Number 7: How long does it take you to send a work email? Then, do you double check it to make sure it was absolutely perfect? If not, how guilty do you feel?
- Work emails can be the downfall of many perfectionists. If your work emails take longer than substantive products, it is time to check-in with your perfectionism.
Number 8: Do you find yourself procrastinating on big projects because you do not know if you will be able to do it?
- When you are risk averse, you also tend to avoid trying newing things that could better you. If you like comfort zones, then perfectionism may be the thing holding you back.
Now, let me be very clear: there is no formula to tell you that you are or are not a perfectionist. Nothing is ever that clear-cut, and perfectionism is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V as a clinical disorder. It is largely a construct we have decided as a society is a label for those who are…Wasting a lot of time worrying about what other people think.
So, rather than try to focus on whether you are or are not a perfectionist, focus on what you want: to avoid feeling worse for no reason, to stop wasting time, and to avoid adding distress into your life for no reason. Then focus on how to get past it. For more on why you should ditch perfectionism and how to actually overcome it, check out my other blogs in this perfectionism series.
- Why You Should Stop Being a Perfectionist
I also got a sweet free guide HERE for recovering from perfectionism.
For more, check out my other self-care blogs at https://www.katkiseli.com/ckk-home/blogs/ I would love to hear your thoughts – Comment below!