Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?

Perfectionists have created many of our great works of art. Perfectionists are also at the heart of many of our scientific and technological discoveries. Perfectionists also show continued and extraordinary dedication to their tasks. But many pay a high price for their perfectionism. Does this have to be the case? We know that perfectionism can be either healthy or unhealthy. If you are a perfectionist, how is it affecting you? Is your perfectionism encouraging you or is it holding you back? If these are things you ponder then you might enjoy my recently published article which asks you to reflect on whether or not perfectionism is helping or harming you:

Many of us have high and exacting standards and, frankly, others are glad that we do. Would you want a surgeon who is careless? A book editor who isn’t focused on detail? An engineer who is casual when he checks over your holiday Boeing 747? Or would you prefer to have someone with exceptionally high standards, someone a little obsessed by detail? …….. continued…..  Is Perfectionism Helping Or Harming You? Some Questions To Ask Yourself.

Do you ever feel that perfectionism is holding you back? I really welcome your thoughts and comments below.

12 Comments on “Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?

  1. Excellent Article Ruth! Yes – I often ask myself (and have tried to instill this in my children) if I am aiming for perfection to “fill my own cup” or “someone else’s” 🙂 I think if we are motivated toward excellence from the innermost place – and require no external approval or praise – if our achievement makes us feel a peaceful kind of content/happy… it is a good sight we are in a healthy mode. Will give it more thought — but thank you for spurring this discussion! x Love to you … RL

    • Hi Robyn, Your insights are just perfect (no pun intended!) and I agree with them completely! The motivation towards excellence for its own sake, for the craft of whatever our topic is, is a worthy goal. To be wary of praise is a good one too for we can begin to need this external affirmation and it’s not a good place to be as peoples’ views change. We can be left bereft if we rely on the views of others. We really do need to be our own guide and value things just for ourselves. Such a lovely comment, thank you. Much love to you sweet one xx

  2. Great article, Ruth! Perfectionism can be such a terrible trap, although I definitely believe that having a high level of standards is very important. It’s all about balance really, isn’t it? You pose some excellent questions here for help in keeping that delicate balance in check, and for looking at things from a healthy viewpoint. Thanks for sharing your insight! Hope you’re off to a wonderful week so far, sending well wishes and much love to you, Ruth!x

    • Hi Julie, You’re so right – balance is definitely the key. We want good standards but not standards which crush us and are completely unrealistic. It is such a trap, and as I was just saying to Chris in answer to his comment, it’s sad to see people crushed by perfectionism. Thanks so much for reading the article and I’m glad it sparked a few thoughts for you. Take good care Julie and I hope you’re having a great weekend. Love, Ruth xx 🙂

  3. I really love this post Ruth as I know that my own perfectionism in all I do definitely holds me back on releasing my creative side as I always want it to be better and it’s never good enough… I hope you’re bearing up okay, much love to you…x

    • Hi Chris, Thanks so much for your thoughts. Perfectionism is often such a curse for creative people. While it’s good to have high standards and a desire to improve and be excellent, if we keep feeling things aren’t good enough then it can lead to procrastination and an unwillingness to open ourselves up to share our work. I think we need to try to start from a different place: a belief that we are good enough, that what we say matters, and that our voice is important and deserves to be heard. Each of us has something unique to offer and it’s a great shame if our individual voice is strangled by overly high and unrealistic expectations. Take care Chris, so good to see you here. Love to you xx

  4. Doing my Best is all I hope to be… I know I am far from Perfect.. and those who wish perfection are constantly trying to achieve almost the impossible if they try to do everything in their day Perfectly.. And are constantly critical of their efforts and others… Making themselves ill in the process…
    There is a difference as you have said to those who do their Job Well.. we would want our Surgeon to do a perfect operation.. We would want our Dentist to do the Perfect dental work upon our teeth, But we are all of us here to learn from our imperfections I would say..

    While I wouldn’t wish to be the surgeons or dentists mistake… its only by making those mistakes in life we learn to do or be better as we grow from the errors..

    Loved reading your article Ruth……
    Hope all is well……. Sending you my thoughts as we head yet again to another Weekend..
    Love and Blessings
    Sue xxx

    • Hi Sue, I agree with you. You’re so right to point out how people are made unwell by unhealthy perfectionism and trying to meet impossible standards. So glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks so much for reading it and stopping by. Always so good to see you here. Have a lovely break and I’ll see you soon. Much love to you xx.

  5. Whew, glad to know I don’t have that problem, since I’m already perfect I don’t have to work about overdoing it, lol! Seriously, I was raised to believe that in life we won’t ever get it perfectly right, so laugh at ourselves as we can, don’t take everything (including one’s self quite so seriously and that sometimes the imperfect can turn out to be exactly the right thing after all! Great article Ruth, Hope you’re having an excellent weekend my friend, xx

    • Hahaha, excellent Penny! Humour certainly is good medicine for us all, to make sure we don’t take things too seriously. It’s good advice I think. Have a great week Penny! xx

  6. See, messed up already, Meant to say I don’t have to ‘worry about’ not ‘work about’! lol



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