The Dissatisfaction of Perfectionism

· August 21, 2018

Perfectionists look for success relentlessly, but nothing seems to be good enough for them. They often feel dissatisfied due to their high expectations. They always think they could’ve done better. Not reaching their goals makes them feel severely stressed and exhausted.

When people’s routines become a long-distance race, they’re very prone to feeling like they don’t have enough time to reach their goals. However, when those people are also perfectionists, the lack of time doesn’t worry them. Instead, it suffocates them.

Perfectionists tend to be insecure due to their levels of demand. They’re constantly worrying about reaching a high level of perfection in everything they do. Being aware of who we are, our values, and our virtues helps us avoid excessive behaviors like this one.

“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.”

-Adam Osborne-


As ironic as it might sound, perfection isn’t always perfect. In many occasions, it brings more disadvantages to our emotional and physical health than advantages. It’s okay to want to do good, just make sure you know how far you can go.

The paradox of perfectionism

There’s nothing wrong in striving to do things the best we can, but we also need to know our limits. Getting frustrated for not reaching perfection is the curious paradox of perfectionism. Feeling like this often can have devastating effects on our physical and emotional health. In fact, a Yale University research associated perfectionism to a high risk of depression and suicide.

“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time.”

-Rebecca Wells-

Perfectionism usually beings to appear during childhood and it tends to increase progressively as we grow up. Although most perfectionists look for perfection in every area of their lives, it isn’t always that way.

Worried-looking woman.

Some people are perfectionists only at work, sports, or relationships, while others strive to be perfect at everything. There are many factors that can intervene when it comes to perfectionism.

Physical and emotional symptoms suffered by perfectionists

A Brock University study explored the relationship between perfectionism and health in 492 people between the ages of 24 and 35. As a result, they found that people who are perfectionists are more likely to feel bad and complain about lack of sleep, pain, and exhaustion than those who aren’t.  They’re very afraid of failure as well.

Anxious man with his hand on his face.

Perfectionists tend to present high levels of anxiety which, added to their insecurities, leads them to such distress they might even suffer from anxiety crises, excessive tiredness, or even lack of motivation when they don’t achieve their goals.

As you can see, perfectionism doesn’t mean striving for the best. It’s actually quite the opposite. Perfectionism gets the worst out of us and it tells us nothing we do is ever going to be good enough.

“Excellence does not require perfection.”

Henry James