Working endlessly on projects, or running them right until the deadline?
Hard to start a project because you fear it wont be good enough? Does your appearance, your home, even your children need to be perfect, or else you’re a failure?
My first therapeutic supervisor said this to me, “the strive for perfection is an attempt to be loved, or an evolutionary mechanism not to die.” — Alan G. Perfectionism keeps us from being seen, it’s just another form of avoidance.
TYPES OF PERFECTIONIST PATTERNS:
The not-enough perfectionist — Believe you need to do more on projects because they’re “not good enough yet.” You work way too long on tasks because you’re never satisfied. May work right up to deadlines or turn work in late.
Positive intention — protects against perceived exposure of shortcomings, which can lead to being judged, or worse, ridiculed.
Ease capacity — Excellence doesn’t mean a lack of mistakes. There are only a few arenas in which a complete lack of mistakes is an overriding concern. Some projects require a high level of excellence, and others just need to be good enough for their purpose, dependent on the nature of the project and your reasons for doing it. It’s the quality (creativity, presence, innovation, etc) that matters, not how perfect it is.
The creative block perfectionist — Can’t produce anything because it has to be perfect the first time. This doesn’t allow you to be a learner or to experiment, because that would mean putting work out that is “far from perfect” the first go-round. Saying things like, “this is such a dumb idea, don’t even bother, no one will like this” or “better write this really well or else…” This part is so afraid of being judged and rejected that it won’t let you produce anything! It doesn’t realize that people start out with writing that isn’t good and then improve it.
Positive intention — protects against perceived judgement, shame or rejection if work isn’t always perfect.
Ease capacity — Mistakes are crucial for the learning process, and they are an inescapable component of creating anything great. You can’t expect to do something well the first time, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Concerns with high quality the first time will significantly disrupt your creative process. High quality comes from being free, open, and creative.
The control perfectionist — Your world must be perfectly in control and in order, gotta get everything right. The right thing, the right choice. Home and family need to look perfect, well-groomed, behave “impeccably.” May exert rigid control over your behavior, which takes away from your own vitality and spontaneity. These things need to be in order for the perfectionist to feel “safe.”
Positive intention —protects against perceived judgement, shame, or rejection, because as a child if your life wasn’t completely perfect, that’s exactly what would happen…
Ease capacity — You’ll often be in situations where you don’t know the answer, or you don’t have enough information to be sure about how to move forward, uncertainty is an inescapable and natural part of life, it doesn’t mean somethings wrong with you. Trial and error, and non-linear play and creativity is often the right way to go about it. There are dozens of qualities more important than appearing perfect.
The inner critic — Involved in all perfectionism. In order to enforce the goal of being perfect, the “perfectionist inner critic” judges or shames you about your work and your life whenever it feels that you aren’t living up to its expectations. It does this in order to get you to work harder, and achieve perfection so you can’t be judged or shamed for making mistakes. “Whispers…or yells, you’re stupid, incompetent, sloppy, inappropriate, bad, etc…”