How can perfectionism lead to poor mental health

Shedding perfectionism for the salvation of your soul: 5 ways out of the perfectionism mania

Willingness to perform, to give everything and to strive for higher are not bad qualities per se, but can lead to permanent dissatisfaction with oneself. There are clear differences between healthy and unhealthy perfectionism:

  • healthy perfectionism:someone wants to perform very well, but also accepts less perfect results
  • unhealthy perfectionism:someone has unrealistic expectations of himself, open tasks wear him down, mistakes are perceived as personal, unforgivable failure

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Sick of perfectionism

Unhealthy perfectionism can make you really sick in the long run. Perfectionists - be it privately or at work - often have problems saying no. Even with an extremely strong hands-on mentality, this leads to total overwhelm at some point, and burnout knocks on the door.

So that it doesn't even get that far, those affected should try to find a way out of the perfectionism hell. These 5 steps can help.

Protect yourself with rules

Take a piece of paper and write down a set of rules that should protect you from yourself in the future. This can be, for example, the daily switching off of the work cell phone at 6:00 pm, a work ban for the weekend or fixed times and free spaces for hobbies and friends. The feasibility of course depends on the individual professional situation.

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Better performance, less perfection

Amazingly, perfectionist behavior does not lead to better performance. At most, it ensures that you get bogged down and that mistakes happen because you've got too much.

  • Those who reduce their perfectionism will notice that they create more satisfactory end results, can better devote themselves to individual to-dos and complete them more easily.
  • Keep in mind that perfectionism makes you nervous and distracted. Take a deep breath and take it easy. Step by step.

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Ignore details once in a while

The devil is in the details, as the saying goes. Even so, instead of getting bogged down in unnecessary details, you should focus on the big picture as a priority. People who have escaped the pursuit of perfection trust the so-called Pareto principle: According to this, an effort of 20 percent is enough to achieve 80 percent of the "perfect" result. You simply start with the most important things and work your way up to the bare minimum. Some odds and ends can fall by the wayside.

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There is not just black and white

Unrealistic expectations inevitably lead to things going wrong. A perfectionist considers all results below 100 percent to be a failure and consequently doubts himself and his abilities. Don't forget that there are tons of gradations between super great and horrible. Tasks are still well done when they are 80 or 90 percent completed.

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Love and appreciate yourself

You yourself are your greatest critic. "Mistakes" that you notice in yourself and in your work are often not even recognizable for outsiders or are simply completely negligible. The problem: Perfectionists often inherently have low self-esteem and the fear that they will never be able to suffice.

Do you have a lack of self-confidence that you want to compensate with particularly good job performance? Once you have recognized this, you have taken the most important step towards improvement. Then you have to work on yourself and realize that it never depends on any kind of performance whether you are worth something as a person or not. You already know: "You are perfect, flawless!"

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