Being a perfectionist isn’t about things being perfect; it’s about thinking things need to be perfect and vigilantly pursuing it. Emotionally, this means that instead of living your life in a place of self-acceptance, perfectionists are on a continual
treadmill chasing the elusive feeling of having everything in their lives be “right.” But even when the brief satisfaction of “right” is achieved, it’s temporary. Then it’s on the to next level, achievement, or day of needing to make everything
“right.” Most perfectionists smile beautifully on the outside, but feel frustrated, exhausted and unappreciated on the inside.
Here are the difficulties of a perfectionist
1. Trouble in Relationships:
It’s very difficult to be in a romantic relationship with a perfectionist. Their expectations and demands are extremely high, and their partners often feel inadequate and pressured. In relationships, perfectionists often feel disappointed, angry and resentful. In friendships, they will always go out of their way to be supportive and gracious, but they also
can be competitive, rigid, and very passive-aggressive.
2. Always Anxious and Exhausted:
The perfectionist lives with continuous anxiety about what needs to be accomplished. Unfortunately the perfectionist’s response to anxiety is to work harder and accomplish more and more and more. This leaves them exhausted and miserable most of the time.
3. A Deeper Sense of Shame:
The perfectionist is usually very intolerant of mess and disorganization. They believe that if they can make their outside environment look a certain way, that means that everything is good and safe on the inside. This is often an attempt to get away from deeper internal feelings of toxic shame. These are the feelings inside of them that are more messy, painful
and disorganized—the feelings that are difficult to articulate, define or resolve immediately.
4. Earning Your Specialness:
A perfectionist’s core internal belief tends to be they are not good enough or special the way they are. They believe their value comes from perfect production, achievement and service in every aspect of their life. When one feels like they have to constantly earn their place as “good” in the world, it means living with a deeper sense that you don’t deserve to just exist and be loved for who you are.
The key point is that perfectionism grows from a point of feeling not only imperfect, but deeply flawed and therefore, unlovable. If you have to constantly re-earn or re-prove your worth—even if it’s to yourself—you are running on a never-ending treadmill of external achievements that will not bring you a joy that lasts. The thing to always keep in mind is that true internal acceptance and peace does not come from changing what is outside of you.
Remember lasting change always entails shifting and understanding what’s inside of you. You will never hustle your way into self-love.