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Perfectionism is the desire to do activities or responsibilities with higher quality than the condition’s needs. A person suffering from this feature has anxiety about making mistakes. This individual has high standards. Sometimes these side effects show as procrastination in doing actions. In addition, perfectionists have uncertainties about the quality of others’ actions. Parents, who criticize their children too much, or have high expectations from them, may lead their kids to have perfectionism. In this situation, perfectionists create future perfectionists. A child with demanding parents believes one must do more to gain affection or rewards.

The adverse effects of perfectionism impact our life and function. Its consequences range from simple disturbances like indecisiveness to severe mental disorders like depression and suicide. It is not true to say perfectionism has just adverse effects. Studies define some positive aspects of this characteristic. It depends on how a person manages the desire. There are different reactions and adaptations to thoughts about doing things perfectly. Someone accepts the limits, develops their action, and is pleased with the results; it is named conscious perfectionism and considered normal and healthy. But when a person cannot distinguish between unrealistic and realistic parts; unsatisfaction and maladaptation will emerge. Therefore, it is crucial to know how to deal with perfectionism and not push ourselves into uncomfortable zones. Parents again play an active role in creating negative perfectionism aspects in their children’s personalities.

Some scientists consider three dimensions to evaluate perfectionism. The first one is self-oriented perfectionism, a person’s inner desire to do activities in a higher-quality manner. The next one is other oriented-perfectionism. It is the state of expecting the others to do actions perfectly, and the last is the socially prescribed one which is the other’s expectations from a person to act perfectly and perception of pressure about their judgment. Self-oriented perfectionism is more likely linked with healthy perfectionism, but the socially prescribed is associated with harmful side effects.

Here are some tips to improve perfectionism:

1-     If you have procrastination rooted in perfectionism, start to do your responsibilities without overthinking details. Sticking to the whole idea of a task instead of thinking too deeply into all the details is helpful. For example, sometimes it is enough to do an assignment instead of spending too much time on your handwriting. Our perfectionism characteristic pushes us to pay attention to unnecessary details. Remember, in some situations, “Done is better than perfect.” 

2-     Reassessment of your standards is another helpful hint. For example, if I want to write an article about perfectionism, by my excellent standards, I must read about 100 evidence-based articles and then write it. But this time, I adjusted it, read just 50 pieces, sent the first draft to my supervisor, and waited for a response. That is right; sometimes, the idea of the other can help us to know that lower standards are also enough.

3-     Making a to-do list can help perfectionists complete the first step. Rumination and overthinking originated from perfectionism and held us in non-working hours. We think and think, and it drains our energy. Making a to-do list and setting a deadline for each step keeps us away from overthinking.


In conclusion, knowing the harmful effects of perfectionism helps us have a better feeling about ourselves and more productivity. Maybe we are the victim of a society or parents who treated us this way. It is the time to know the root of our anxiety and not spread it to the next generation.

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