1. You’re more tuned into how things look than how they feel.
Perfectionism is to create an idea of how things are, one that is better than what the reality feels like. That is what drives people to become this way in the first place: a longing to escape the discomfort.
But when you get such positive feelings for how things look, you forget that it’s not how they actually are, and that there is a difference. You are so focused on curating your life that you’re not actually experiencing your life, and you start making choices based on the picture in your head, not the feeling in your heart.
2. You are letting your ego run the show.
Wanting things to be “just right” all of the time is a very ego-based desire. It is what happens when you are inherently disconnected from the truth of what it means to be alive.
The beauty of life is that it’s messy, unpredictable, and sometimes, the things that will mean the most will seem the least important on the surface. There’s so much lingering beneath what we immediately perceive, spending all of your time rearranging it is to miss the point completely.
3. You see failure as a judgment on your worth.
One reason perfectionists want to control things is because they are subconsciously curating who they are to the outside world. Therefore, if there’s any type of public failure, it becomes a moral judgement. This is why so many perfectionists fear humiliation: it is their inherent lack of self-worth that makes them desire to look “perfect” in the first place.
Sometimes, the thing people try to convince you they most are is the thing they fear is the least true.
4. You get pleasure from fixing things, not appreciating them for what they are.
Life is about the next big thing to fix, change or work on for you. Sure, that growth is beneficial at times, but it also robs you of the beauty of things as they naturally are.
It also creates mania when you realize that sometimes, the thing you most want to change isn’t meant to be changed. Sometimes, the thing you have to do is accept it, and your resistance to that is what put you in this spot to begin with.
5. You hold the people close to you to impossible standards.
Because you hold yourself to impossible standards, you do the same for others. You don’t want to see other people’s failures or weaknesses, because they expose you to the ones that you are suppressing within yourself.
When a perfectionist demands a lot from the people around them, it’s because they don’t want to confront their own humanity. That lack of acceptance within themselves echoes out to those around them, and can be a very destructive force.
6. You source your satisfaction based on what you imagine other people think.
The more happy you are with your life, the less you need other people to be.
Caring a lot about what other people think is a way to outsource a positive perspective on your life. Sure, maybe your accomplishments don’t feel great, but you know that they would seem great to those around you, and so you pursue them.
7. You don’t realize you’re a perfectionist.
The funniest thing about perfectionists is that they rarely realize they’re perfectionists. Being a controlling person isn’t within their acceptable self-image, and so they just see themselves as “driven,” “smart,” or “together.”
But by not recognizing it, you can’t do anything about it. And there’s a lot to be done about someone who is so busy creating an idea about their lives that feels good, they’ve disconnected from actually feeling good.