Özyeğin University, Çekmeköy Campus Nişantepe District, Orman Street, 34794 Çekmeköy - İSTANBUL

Phone : +90 (216) 564 90 00

Fax : +90 (216) 564 99 99

E-mail: info@ozyegin.edu.tr



Perfectionism can be described as the integration of emotions, thoughts and behaviors, which are based on the assumption that the perfect is attainable, and the belief that the perfect must be achieved. Individuals with this tendency think that they are not good enough for anything. Those individuals spend all energy in pursuit of unrealistic goals and being perfect. That inaccessible target puts a heavy pressure on the individuals and reduces their efficiency. A person who cannot use his or her internal resources properly can face with failure inevitably. 

Perfectionism can be experienced in all areas of life. Even very small and insignificant things can become huge for individuals with this tendency. For example, filling a form can take hours for perfectionist people. A perfectionist student can struggle for days as he or she does not find anything good and complete enough for the assignment as expected to do in a few hours. Similarly, he or she might experience exam anxiety.

Perfectionism should not be confused by trying to do its best. It is an attitude towards improvement and advancement that people try to do their job best within the limits of their skills and competencies. There is no strict intolerance to error in this attitude. Those who strive to achieve their best determine their goals based on their own wishes and desires, not to respond to others’ expectations or to receive approval and acceptance from them. They enjoy their efforts to succeed or achieve their goals. Even if they eventually fail or fail to achieve their goals, they do not make general negative inferences about their values. Yet perfectionism is like stubborn running towards unattainable goals. He or she abused the person, forces and reinforces the perception of inadequacy. 

Characteristics of Perfectionist People

Perfectionism, the source of which is thought to be based on early age experiences, manifests itself with certain characteristic. 

The basic characterizes are listed below:

•The need for approval, acceptance and love: every person needs to see approval, acceptance and love. Perfectionists believe that the way to meet their needs is to be perfect. If they are not perfect, they think they will be rejected. 

•Fear of failure: This fear, which is one of the most prominent features of perfectionism, results from fear of being evaluated and judged and as a result, rejected. Fear of failure can also manifest itself as an anxiety of not being able to sustain the success. For those individuals, succeeding or not succeeding becomes a problem.

•Fear of making mistakes: For someone who is so afraid of failure, every mistake is a sign of failure and is therefore unacceptable. These people think that mistakes and weaknesses are embarrassing. They ruthlessly judge themselves and others for their mistakes. 

•Focus on the negativity: Those individuals focus more on deficiencies, weaknesses and mistakes, both in themselves and in others. They are constantly on the alert and sensitive to the slightest deviation from what should be.

•Strict thinking: These people have an extremely rigid and inelastic perspective. Rules are very important for them. Life is either black or White; they find it difficult to perceive the gray tones of life. 

•Eigenvalue deficiency: For perfectionists, eigenvalue is successfully linked to the core. The value they give them is based on what others think. Personality perceptions are shaken in the slightest negative evaluation from others. 

There are some common behavior patterns in perfectionist people. 

The most obvious of those behaviors are listed below: 

•Frequent repetition and correction while doing a job, 

•Excessive planning, editing and sequencing, 

•Difficulty in making decision, 

•Procrastination and avoidance,

•Intolerance to criticism

The Possible Consequences of Perfectionism

Perfectionism often has devastating impact on individuals. The most common of those effects are listed below:

•While pursuing being perfect, miss the pleasures and satisfaction in life,

•As a result of frequent postponements, not being able to manage and do your work on a scheduled time

•As a result of lost in detail and not be able to manage time correctly, inefficiency in work

•As a result of the expectation of failure, not trying new things and missing opportunities

•Difficulty in maintain motivation and give up quickly even in the slight’s roughness,

•Accusations against yourself and being crushed under the feeling of shame,

•Unrealistic expectations in close relationships and as a result, unsatisfied and problematic relationships

•Feeling lonely as a result of conflicts in social relationships,

•Experiencing depressive, anxious and anger feelings in a intense mood. 

What to do about Perfectionism?

The prerequisite for the solution is to see that there is a problem. If you think that you have a perfectionist tendency in yourself and agree the notion that this is unhealthy, there are some things that you can do about it. The methods that might work are listed below:

•Think about the cost of being a perfectionist. Question the pros and cons. This will tell you why change is essential. 

•Remember that you have limits a human. Accept that you can make mistakes and have weaknesses like every human being. Do not forget to accept strengths, as well…

•Try to set your goals according to your needs and wishes in real. When doing this, consider your limits. Imprisoning yourself to unrealistic goas will be an invitation of both failure and anxiety. Instead of the result of something you do, focus on the process of doing it. Try to learn and enjoy the process. Stop evaluating success only through results. Do not scribble the whole picture after any mistakes, neither about yourself nor with others. 

•Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes. You can extract a learning experience from every mistake and improve yourself.  

•Get rid of the ‘‘all or nothing’’ thoughts towards your goals. 

•Try to focus on the moment. After achieving a success, thinking whether you can achieve the same success next time will prevent you to enjoying the current success.

•Do not perceive criticism an assault. Remember that you can also learn a lot from criticism.

•Dealing with perfectionism is not an easy process. Give yourself time. Reward yourself even in small advances. Do not expect to be perfect in dealing with perfectionism.

For more information and support, you can contact Psychological Counseling Unit via counseling@ozyegin.edu.tr.