So, you’re a perfectionist – you feel you don’t want to do something unless it is absolutely top notch; you don’t want to embark on a new training course as you don’t have the time to do it properly; you don’t want to go on an impulsive trip as you may go to the ‘wrong’ place; you don’t want to change jobs until you have found the perfect one………Or is that the real reason?
I come across lots of clients who will tell me that they are perfectionists and that is what holds them back; they don’t like to do something unless they know they will do it absolutely perfectly. Often that actually means that they avoid lots of tasks or situations. So I wonder if this is actually a form of procrastination. And if it is a form of procrastination, what is the hidden meaning.
Common themes that perfectionism seems to obscure are:
- Fear of judgement of others
- Fear of not being good enough (good enough for who?)
You see, if you are a perfectionist you don’t have to do things or, if you do them less than perfectly, you have a perfect story ‘oh, I am really uncomfortable doing XXXX in this way, I am usually a perfectionist’.
Just with any of our human ways of being, there is nothing that HAS to be changed here, until you reach a point where you feel that you cannot move forward or that you are missing out on lots of life.
That is where my clients may come in, they are clearly coming to me as they feel there is something that they would like to change and are struggling to make that change. Mostly, half of them have not yet identified what they want to change and those who do know may have something like ‘perfectionism’ which is stopping them. Once we can uncover the meaning behind the perfectionism, we are half way to opening up the path to movement, action and change.
The perfectionism has been learnt and perfected for a lifetime and is probably super efficient at keeping the person safe in a place where they can understand the world. However, like all habits, there are alternatives and if you reach a point where you want a change, reassessing the value of some habits is worth the investigation into the wonderful world of the unconscious.