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15 Struggles Only Perfectionists Would Understand

15 Struggles Only Perfectionists Would Understand

Being a perfectionist can come with its nightmares. It is not that it makes you less worthy, it is just that you can’t help reacting to anything below par in life. Perfectionism is not a healthy pursuit of excellence because it comes with struggles, self doubt and fears of disapproval. Perfectionism comes with several hazards such as anxiety and depression, and could be a trigger for suicide. Perfectionism has plagued celebrities like Martha Stewart, Reese Witherspoon and Barbara Streisand. As perfectionists, these are the struggles you all understand.

1.You find it difficult working in a group

Your standard of achieving goals is higher than other people’s. Thus you find it difficult working on group projects or with other people because you do not want their mediocrity or inefficiency to rub on your desire to attain perfectionism.

2.You are extremely conscious of deadlines

When you have to meet a deadline you are often burning the midnight oil or making sure you get things done in the nick of time. You have a sudden exciting rush to turn over something you are ultimately proud of. Whatever extra effort it requires doesn’t mean anything to you.

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3.You take everything to heart

Even when people make light or less thoughtful jokes at you, you tend to put in much thought to the casually poked fun. You tend to take everything to heart and such jokes could be a devastating blow to your psyche.

4.You overwork yourself because you want a perfect job

Many may not see what you have done in private, but you overwork yourself to be so flawless because you want only a perfect product on anything your name has to be attached on. This could portend a major health disaster, yet you are willing to take the risk.

5.Your past work is never good enough

Anytime you look back at your past work you tend to ask yourself, “What was I thinking back then?” You find it difficult to appreciate where you are now compared to where you were. Thus you are either throwing out old work projects or simply deleting them.

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6.You are bothered by little things

Seemingly little things like typos in an email, a Tweet or a Facebook posts from your boss can leave you disgusted. Even when your old pair of pants is darker than your new pair of blue pants, you are bothered and the rest of your day is clouded with bitterness.

7.You procrastinate

According to studies, perfectionists tend to procrastinate. When you have a big project you push it off until later, and when deadline approaches you try to execute a big project within a short time. Although perfectionism can push and motivate you with the fire to complete a good work, you only do this because you want an affirmation from others that you are great at what you do.

8.You always arrive early

You are always punctual and focused on beating every other person to being early. Yet when any other person is running late for as little as ten minutes, it drives you crazy to think about what you could be doing with such lost time rather than waiting.

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9.You think of yourself as lazy

You feel lazy because you have set such high standards and high expectations that executing and undertaking them takes longer than you planned for. And when such goals are not met, you ridicule yourself for not being good enough.

10.You take few chances

For you taking chances is tough. You don’t want to make mistakes and instead of finding reasons why you should engage in a task, you find reasons why you shouldn’t. You would only jump in on something if there is a guarantee on the outcome.

11.You are your own most severe critic

You criticize yourself so ruthlessly that it is difficult to accept criticism from others. This is because before others offer any criticism you would have recognized the issue long ago and pushed for a solution.

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12.You don’t feel accomplished until you see results

You are focused only on delivering a perfect outcome, and nothing should be short of that. If you are writing an article, it should be good enough to be a featured editorial. You don’t want shoddy, but you are focused on creating exceptional work. That is why you are spending more than the average time on improvements and details.

13. You are never a casual observer

Anything that engages you casually is not worth your time, whether it is reading a book or watching a TV show. You can’t even have a casual conversation with people about such forms of entertainment because their opinion will never be intrinsic enough.

14. You focus on efficiency

You want to make sure everything is done the right way and so you dedicate yourself to reading and studying about efficiency. If others are not efficient enough and they make a mistake, you are afraid to help because you don’t want to be seen as a know-it-all.

15. You feel like a slacker sometimes

When the day has been spent on trying to get one thing perfect, you feel like the day has been wasted. As much as you wish you could cross off five things from your to-do list you only end up crossing out one.

Featured photo credit: Roni Rosen via flickr.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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