The Concept Of Perfectionism

This essay has a total of 1511 words and 7 pages.

The Concept Of Perfectionism

Patricia Grabb


The Concept of Perfectionism

Do you push yourself to be the best? Do you get mad at yourself for not doing the best? Do
you delay assignments till the last possible limit because of fear of rejection? Do you
feel horrible when work isn't done to your best ability of when minor failures seem like
catastrophic ones? These are all signs of what is known as perfectionism (Pacht 1984). If
you seem to agree with most of these things then you might be a perfectionist. According
to Webster's dictionary, it states that perfectionism is "a disposition which regards
anything less than perfect, unacceptable." Many people in the world suffer from
perfectionism. So is that case of Mike Bellah. His perfectionism lead him to a lifestyle
where he lost who he was. He states, "When we're always playing a part, we no longer know
who we really are." Perfectionists try to do everything perfect leading them to an
unstable, unsatisfying life. There are many characteristics and effects of perfectionism.
Coping with the disorder of being a perfectionist can lead to a much more stable life.

There are many characteristics and causes of perfectionism "It's a compulsive guide to
unrealistic goals" says psychiatrist David Burns. "Setting high personal standards and
goals, and working hard to attain them is appropriate," he states, "however,
perfectionists set excessively high goals and strive compulsively to achieve them."
Perfectionists have the constant drive to be perfect. Anything less than the best is
unacceptable to them. They refuse to live with anything than the best. The constant strive
for excellence in everything that one does is one key characteristic when describing


perfectionism. Their measurement of their worth is entirely in terms of productivity and
accomplishment. Perfectionists try to do so much to please others, and to show how much
they can do, and overlook what they really want to do in life. They might take on so many
jobs and get in over their head. They can't say no to an idea because they would consider

that failure. Many times, perfectionists start things over because things aren't going
perfect (Pacht 1984). Some have long delays in completing assignments, or repeatedly
starting over on assignments because the work must be prefect from the beginning and
continue to be perfect as one goes along. The causes of perfectionism can be described by
the in these thoughts or beliefs illustrated by the SUNY Potsdam Counseling Center. First
there is fear of failure: when not accomplishing one's goal to the best of their ability,
it lowers their personal worth to others. Second the fear of making mistakes: one may not
answer a question in class for fear of mistakes, or delay projects because of fear that it
may be wrong in the end. Third is fear of disapproval: if one lets others see their flaws,
they fear they will no longer be accepted, and try to protect themselves from criticism,
rejection and disapproval. Four is the all-or-none thinking: perfectionists think that
they are worthless if their projects aren't done perfectly. If one gets B, instead of an
A, they might think that they are a total failure. Fifth is the overemphasis on "shoulds":
They live in a life of standards and rules to lead their life. With an overemphasis on
what they need to do, they forget what they want. Last is the belief that others are
easily successful: perfectionists see others accomplishing things and think that they do
it with minimum effort and little stress. They keep viewing their efforts and unending and


These causes of perfectionism make those with the disorder to shut out the world, along
with many other results (S.P.C.C. 2000).

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