Lesson 1.7 - Effects and consequences
Hey, so now that we’ve worked through the tendencies and characteristics commonly associated with perfectionism in the previous lesson, this lesson is all about the effects and consequences of our perfectionism.
Just to be clear, these are all NEGATIVE effects and they serve as warning signs as to why you should let go of your perfectionism.
Physical, mental, and emotional consequences
The desperate drive to get an A+ in everything we do is damaging our lives at best and killing us from stress at worst.
raises stress levels through the roof
is highly associated with anxiety, depression, and even addiction
fuels fear, frustration, and disappointment
decreases efficiency in making decisions
zaps your energy and leaves you unable to fully relax and recharge
Aside from these physical, mental, and emotional effects, there are also spiritual consequences to consider.
Perfectionism leads you to...
You ignore your greatness
In your quest for perfection, you miss out on a lot of greatness. If you were able to reign it in and appreciate how much effort you put into things - usually way more than necessary and certainly way more than everyone else - you'd be awash in feeling fulfilled and happy.
You hurt your relationships
Your drive is fueled by the idea that no one thinks you're good enough. It's hard to have a healthy relationship with someone when you feel like a constant disappointment. Or when you impose unrealistic expectations onto others and you let your disappointment with them be known.
You forget what defines you
When you're wrapped up in perfectionism, it's easy to put too much stock in your job, your relationship status, or how much money you have. In reality, these are just parts of your life, but not what defines you.
You stack up semi-accomplishments
Perfectionists have a bad habit of quitting before they get started. You never learn to play guitar because you suck at it when you start out. You give up on your nail art blog because there are others who are better than you. If you don't ever finish things, you miss the self-esteem boost associated with completing a task or finishing a goal.
You don't accept compliments
Maybe you spend an hour trying to get your eyeliner wings even and they were still a little off. Sure, anyone you ran into would have to look really closely to even notice, but you know. And when someone tells you how your makeup is on fleek, you just go on about those dang wings. Perfectionists have trouble letting the praise flow into their inner self-esteem vaults.
You struggle needlessly
Your all-or-nothing thinking and your hatred of being a beginner-level anything makes you worry about things you don't need to worry about. You're also less likely to ask for help or accept offers for help. Because you don't need help. Because you can do anything on the first try no matter what and make it great. Then you wonder why you struggle at things that seem to come so easily to others.
You compare yourself to others
Your very first oil painting on your very first day of oil painting class wasn't a full-on Monet, so obviously you suck. You constantly compare your beginning to someone else's middle. This makes you feel like you don’t have what it takes. Or that you need to try harder. In reality, you just need practice and time.
You get trapped
So you procrastinated a few times. Now, you're obsessing over a project for work and next thing you know, you're in a dirty house, surrounded by take out and you haven't showered in two days. And the project still isn't as good as you envisioned. And now, on top of feeling like a failure, you feel like a gross, dirty failure in a messy house who fails at adulting and seeing projects through.
Never feeling like you're good enough and constantly striving to meet unrealistic expectations is pretty much the official recipe of low self-esteem. Remember that we are all works in progress.
Use the worksheet to make a list of all the effects and consequences of perfectionism you recognize and that resonate with you. Use the ones I mentioned earlier as an example and, if you can, come up with one or two of your own that are really specific to you and your work and life.
The worksheet can serve as a great reminder when, sometime in the future, you find yourself backsliding into perfectionism and you need a little pick-me-up to remember that the consequences you suffer from perfectionism simply aren’t worth it.