What is Perfectionism?
Perfectionism is a standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfect results every time and rejects anything less.
Is it possible to attain perfect results every time? Clearly, the answer is no. We know that “perfect” is an unattainable standard and so it affects us in many ways. In fact, perfectionism is strongly linked to depression, anxiety, eating disorders and poor relationships. As parents, in particular we need to be aware of our perfectionistic tendencies as perfectionism is often modeled by our own behaviours and our expectations of our children.
Take the following quiz to find out if you have perfectionistic tendencies. Answer “yes” or “no” to the following 10 questions:
- You are eager to please others
- You believe that the drive to achieve perfection is the price you pay for success
- You procrastinate excessively
- You are highly critical of others
- You struggle with “all or nothing” thinking
- You hide your flaws from others
- You obsess over small mistakes
- You take everything personally
- You get defensive when criticized
- You are never quite good enough
Add up the number of questions to which you responded “yes”.
Place this number on a scale of 0-10 based on your score (ie if you responded “yes” to 7 questions, your score would be 7/10).
Here are some suggested guidelines for interpreting your score:
0-3: low tendency toward perfectionism
4-6: moderate tendency toward perfectionism
7-10: high tendency toward perfectionism
Consider that tendencies, such as perfectionism exist for many of us on a continuum from “not at all perfectionistic” (0/10) to “extremely perfectionistic” (10/10). We all fall somewhere on this continuum of perfectionism.
I would suggest that if you find yourself within the moderate to high tendency toward perfectionism, you might consider examining your beliefs around themes of failures and achievements. If you find you are in the high range and have been for most of your life, you might consider seeking professional support to free you from the grips of distorted thinking.