The darker side of perfectionism

If you are a woman and a perfectionist you may get referred to as being, “highly-strung”, “difficult to work with”, “inflexible” and that is without adding in all of the expletives. 

But you know as well as I, because I’m waving the flag that I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to teaching, being mummy and a podcast host, that being a perfectionist means that your high personal standards can be relied upon to get things done!  This type of pro-active perfectionism is known as “Perfectionistic Strivings”, the good side of being a perfectionist because it can lead you to feeling a great sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.

The darker side of perfectionism 

There is however, a darker side to being a perfectionist.  Perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of her reflected back at you in the mirror.  She’s the stressy, worrier that feels she’s a fraud because she is unable to meet her own high expectations at work or in the home.

A research study conducted by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology revealed that the toxic and destructive side of being a perfectionist can lead to health problems, eating disorders, higher stress levels, fatigue, and even early mortality.  These “Perfectionistic Concerns” come about when we feel as though we are letting people down and not living up to our own exceptionally high standards.  “Perfectionistic Concerns” are the dark-side of being a perfectionist; they are the toxic, all consuming feelings of fear and doubt over our performance that can lead to burnout.

Keeping focused and healthy

Challenging these feelings can be accomplished by setting goals, recording past achievements and by letting go and knowing that every time we make a mistake, it is an opportunity to fall-up and grow.

Helena Marsh, Deputy Headteacher, agrees that sacking the perfectionist is one way of balancing work vs. life.  On episode 39 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show.  Helena and host Kelly Long discuss strategies for juggling work vs. life and how sacking the perfectionist can help you to focusing on what is really important.


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Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

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