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The GenTwenty Podcast Episode 9: Perfectionism

The GenTwenty Podcast Episode 9: Perfectionism

In this episode, Nicole and Marina discuss perfectionism—what it is, how it affects you, and how to combat the perfectionist mindset.

What is Perfectionism?

To define perfectionism, we looked to psychology today and they explained signs of it as having unrealistic and high expectations, procrastination (because you’re afraid of failure), the inability to accept compliments, quick to critique oneself, and looking for external validation.

We would add that you have a lot of ideas but struggle to get anything off the ground and also have big expectations for yourself that you constantly talk yourself out of reaching. 

Signs of perfectionism:

  1. Unrealistic and high expectations 
  2. Quick to critique or find issue with things
  3. Procrastination for fear of failure
  4. Inability to accept compliments or celebrate successes
  5. Look to specific people for approval and validation

The issue with Perfectionism?

While it can be said to be a motivator, it is often unhealthy, and can lead to depression, anxiety, and even obsessive behaviors.

In the episode, Marina talks about how there is an element of control in play. For some people, as long as you’re working to perfect something, you’re in control, and there’s the possibility of success, rather than fearing finishing and having it flop. Perfectionism is your brain’s way of trying to control the sometimes uncontrollable—you can do everything and something still may not be received the way you intend for it, and the anxiety brain tells us “oh I can control that if i make it perfect” when in reality that’s not true.

Being a perfectionist is often a way we box ourselves in and sometimes we use it as an excuse for not accomplishing what we want to. It’s a way we limit our own success out of fear. Perfectionists aren’t just afraid of failure, but success too.  

How to pivot away from a perfectionist mindset:

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Use compassionate self-talk
  • Challenge self-critiquing, asking yourself what you’re really pinpointing to
  • Accept that things are worthwhile to do even if they don’t seem perfect
  • “Good and done” is better than perfect
  • Also, remind yourself that there is no such thing as “perfect” because it is a word that comes with it’s own biased perception, everyone’s definition is different.

What are some ways that you have worked through being a perfectionist or having a perfectionism mindset? Let us know in the comments below!

Continue reading about Perfectionism from the writers at GenTwenty:

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.