Perfectionism may seem like it manifests as the person who has it all together- the straight-A students, the type-A personalities, the successful entrepreneurs, championship athletes, or the super mom with the perfect kids and the home straight out of better homes and garden magazines. As a Tampa counselor for high achievers, I understand, and I am here to tell you that the “hustle” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, that perfectionism isn’t the healthy motivator we thought it was. While we may think that perfectionism is the gateway to having it all, in reality, people with perfectionism hold themselves to impossibly high standards attached with the feeling of never doing/believing/being good enough. Individuals with perfectionist tendencies create these impossibly high standards, then criticize themselves and others for even the smallest imperfections or mistakes, often having to re-do tasks until they are perfect. It is exhausting, draining, and setting us up for failure, the opposite of what we think perfectionism provides. 

Perfectionism doesn’t always show up in the most obvious ways. Many think it is just about being perfect, and miss the signs of problematic perfectionism. Perfectionism is actually an identifier of low self-worth, because these individuals are so tuned in to their imperfections. They are hyper aware of their flaws and mistakes, and present the internal belief that they are not good enough, smart, funny, or pretty enough compared to others. This internal belief then either pushes perfectionists to try to excel even more or paralyzes them to the point where taking action or making decisions is too fearful, and could potentially confirm their sense of inferiority. How can one feel worthy when this internal belief is shaping our every thought and feeling? Our Tampa counselors are here to support you and find that sense of self-worth, again. 

Here are 7 subtle signs that you may be struggling with perfectionism from a Tampa Counselor for High Achievers:

You worry about what others think of you

Typically, perfectionists are less worried about being perfect, but more worried about what others think of them. Because if others see you making a mistake, then they will see your whole imperfections. An impossible standard to reach.

You miss out on opportunities and don’t try new things.

Oftentimes with perfectionists, trying new things means that there is potential to fail or that you won’t do it good enough, so opportunities are avoided instead.

You have a hard time relaxing.

Why relax and engage in self care when there is so much to get done? Perfectionists can view relaxation as a waste of time or something they will get to after the work is completed, but because they expect so much of themselves, they never get to it.

You procrastinate.

Perfectionism and procrastination are both rooted in the same fear, fear of failure, inadequacy, rejection, or not being good enough. Procrastination often happens when one doesn’t feel confident in their ability to excel or knowledge on how to do something.

You try to control your personal and professional life.

Perfectionists attract and often demand a sense of control. Not only do they need to provide perfection, but if someone else isn’t perfect in a project, then the outcome isn’t perfect.

You have become obsessed with rules, lists, and work.

Similar to above, perfectionists utilize to-do lists and planning as needed sense of control on their environment and feelings. 

You make even hobbies competitive.

Working to prove themselves as worthy is a perfectionist’s pastime, which innately can turn everything around them into a competition to do/be better.

You are unhappy, even when you do succeed.

No matter how much you accomplish, the positive feedback or awards you receive, you are always able to find the criticism and imperfections. You struggle to ever feel satisfied or that you are enough.

If perfectionism is an area in which you struggle, our Tampa therapists at Rise Counseling are here to help you identify and break through the perfectionist pattern to find a sense of peace, worthiness, and acceptance.