What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a personality trait that is characterised by someone striving for flawlessness and setting excessive high standards.  This characteristic is combined with being overly self-critical and worrying what others will think of them. Being a perfectionist makes it harder to achieve goals as they struggle to meet their own perfect standards. Perfectionists tend to experience more stress than those who know what their capable of.


Common Signs of a Perfectionist

  • All or Nothing Thinking: Perfectionists will accept nothing less than perfection
  • A Critical Eye: Perfectionist are not only critical of their own work but those around them.
  • Pushed Towards a Goal: Perfectionists fear not reaching a goal and view anything less than a perfectly met goal as a failure
  • Unrealistic Standards: Perfectionists goals tend to be unreasonable from the beginning
  • Focus only on Results: Perfectionists are only interested in the results they don’t enjoy the process that gets them there
  • Depressed by Unmet Goals: Perfectionists will wallow in negative feelings if their goals are unmet which may lead to -
  • Fear of Failure: Perfectionists are afraid to fail at anything.  Failure to them is a terrifying prospect, which may lead to –
  • Procrastination: Perfectionists fear failure which may cause them to worry so much about failing to achieve perfection that they are unable to do anything
  • Defensiveness: Perfectionists take constructive criticisms defensively
  • Low Self Esteem: Perfectionists tend to be very self-critical and unhappy. Due to their critical nature they may be lonely and isolated as they have pushed others away


Useful Resources for Dealing with perfectionism





Online Videos


Tips for Dealing with Perfectionism

  • Be a healthy perfectionist, be positively motivated by high standards use this an incentive to push forward
  • Slowly remove the All or Nothing mindset, no one achieves success without some form of failure, everything progresses, learn from mistakes
  • Avoid being overly critical, don’t look for imperfections in your work or others. Concentrate on what was good about it but learn from the imperfections.
  • Value Relationships, ask others for help, share your workload with others in the group and ask others opinion as the goal you have set may be unrealistic
  • Celebrate every Victory and Failure equally, sometimes the best way to put a failure behind you its to celebrate you made a mistake and you can learn from it


Contact information

If you feel like you may be suffering from perfectionism and it is getting in the way of your daily life, speak to someone who can help. 

Try the Counselling and Psychological Services

67 Southpark Avenue

Glasgow G12 8LE

Tel: 0141 330 4528