Perfectionism can have both good and bad tendencies, both for the perfectionist him/herself and for those around them. It is possible for others to learn from some of the things that might frustrate a perfectionist. They are usually quite bright people who might have some great ideas about improving things, if you have a common perspective on a situation.
However, they can also be quite obsessive, and may need to be helped to look at things from a different perspective so that they reach a better understanding and let go of their obsession a little bit. There are things that might be discussed logically to help put things in perspective, but remember that all people do not have the same kind of logic. A perfectionist’s first principle might be that everything should be done right, but their idea of what is right, and why, may differ a lot from yours, or from the company’s.
If you are a manager, it might be pertinent to discuss priorities alongside logic and logistics, as there are always limits to what can be achieved within any given time, budget, staffing levels, etc.
If you are a perfectionist employee it might be very helpful if you were to ask for such explanations to help you see things in perspective and not become overwhelmed with trying to overdo things.
If a perfectionist strives for perfection in himself/herself – do they –
- get depressed when they do not meet their own expectations?
Consider – Do they really expect to get everything right everywhere in any situation all the time (which is illogical), or are they just trying to do their best according to some inner set of standards or self-defined principles? Do they perhaps not realise that these may not be applicable to others or for certain situations? These could be good logical discussion points.
- expect others to be perfect too? Do they get annoyed by others and by situations which do not match their expectations? Surely they must realise that people and situations differ? Do they realise that others might be equally annoyed by them and their frustrating tendencies?
- expect situations, such as jobs or relationships, to be perfect too? Do they try to run from situations where they feel frustrated by not attaining expected standards, without realising that the same dilemma is just as likely to arise in any new job or relationship?
- understand their goals? Do they have a tendency to worry about details when there is actually no time to take care of such details, so there is a necessity to focus instead on the main things that really matter? [It might be helpful to make a list (a physical or at least a mental list) of what things do need to be focused on so that those take priority. I would argue that the whole of life is like this – one might sacrifice housework goals for example in order to have time for studies or art or anything else one deems important, otherwise one might easily use up all one’s time on less important things, and never fulfil one’s higher desires.]. Goals are personal choices, but if you are in a partnership you should aim to at least understand each other’s priorities.
- even know how to define perfection? I mean surely the ideal of perfection is actually one of those unattainable absolutes really? Surely getting things into proportion would help?
Perfectionists might really appreciate being given an understanding of how the business works so that they can see the reasoning behind decision making. If they understand where a company, or indeed a partner in any type of relationship, is coming from, then they will be much more likely to make positive input in the most useful areas and learn to leave aside the little niggly things that are not deemed as relevant.
In this way they will feel they fit in better, and can be respected more for their contribution, instead of floundering around in a quagmire of miserable misconception.
I suspect that most perfectionists are really very good-intentioned. I also doubt that any perfectionist really believes they are perfect! I think that is a total myth, but I suppose I can see how others might think that of them. I’m surprised that some people think that perfectionists don’t admit to faults – I think they definitely know when they have got something wrong, but they do tend to be quite upset about it until they get it into perspective. Even they have to admit that mistakes do happen, and that is just part of life, all we can do is learn from it and move on.
I suspect that they are mostly good-hearted people trying to give of their best, but perhaps a bit confused about how best to do that. If they can be helped to get things in balance, then they will feel better about themselves too. Instead of illogically beating themselves up for not achieving the impossible, they can settle into a happier rhythm of doing the best they can – according to the circumstances, and become a better team player, or colleague; plus even an easier-to-love friend, partner, parent, etc.
If you are the kind of perfectionist who thinks that people will love you more if you are ‘perfect’, please think again. You may well be alienating yourself by being obsessive, and you would be better off letting go a little and learning how to become more balanced. That doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd to try to fit in either, you can still be yourself, and achieve a lot, just try to get a reasonable perspective on things.
Be kind to yourself, don’t expect so much of yourself that you drive yourself to exhaustion or become exasperated with yourself, be gentle and take care of yourself. You will flourish much better if you allow yourself rest periods and healthy meals in-between your work and studies etc. It always pays to ensure you take care of your physical and emotional health instead of just pushing yourself ever onwards, as in the end you achieve more, and can obtain more satisfaction from the results too. There is also a close correlation between caring about yourself and caring for others, again as long as it is not obsessive, those who care for others really should understand that they need to take care of themselves first in order to do so effectively. In personal relationships as well as in business, if you care about yourself enough not to let others take advantage or push you around, and also avoid taking on too much yourself, then there is balance there to enable all to thrive in your work and relationships.
What is your personal idea of perfection, in life, in art, in a book,
in a moment, in your mind, in your heart?
perfection is subjective
nature is never subjective, only our ideas of nature are
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