1. You are a control freak.
Perfectionists have a strong desire to be in control. You may be a workaholic, taking on more projects than you can handle. You may be a neat freak, where nothing can be out of place. Whatever it is, you try to control every aspect of your life, from your surroundings, to friends and family, to work colleagues, demanding absolute perfection from them. It makes you feel safe. Anything that is unpredictable or out of your control makes you uncomfortable. You set unrealistic standards for yourself and others. When those expectations are not met, you freak out and can not cope with the outcome of the situation. You need to understand that being this way is the quickest way to ruin your life. Your controlling ways are your own insecurities and fears rearing their ugly head. Being a perfectionist does not make you a bad person but being a control freak will ultimately push those who you love away. Learn to surrender to your controlling ways and acknowledge that seeking perfection will never happen. Be content with your imperfections and realise we are all a work in progress.
2. You are always anxious.
We all experience anxiety from time to time. Feeling uneasy or nervous is a completely natural experience. But for the perfectionist, anxiety levels become heightened. You become obsessed with meeting unrealistic standards that the goal post keeps shifting. You can never attain the perfection that you crave. You are constantly competing with yourself. Failure is not an option so if you mess up it is like your entire world has collapsed. This causes you to feel more anxious. Anxiety makes you believe that things are worse than they actually are. Feeling anxious will cause more stress, which in turn lowers your self-esteem and in more extreme circumstances makes you feel depressed. Learn to breathe. Accept your worries, inhale deeply and let go. Understand that this is how you feel in the present moment but it is not how you will feel forever.
3. You are sensitive to criticism.
Perfectionists do not like to be criticised. So if anyone even attempts to give you any form of criticism you perceive this as a personal attack on you. You act defensively and refuse to acknowledge that sometimes we all need to hear things about ourselves that we do not like. The illusion that you have created to the world, that everything is fine, everything is perfect, is just that, an illusion. When you have been criticised, you feel like a fraud. Like someone was able to pull away the mask and reveal your biggest insecurity. That you are not perfect. You do not have it altogether. You are human, not superhuman. You will make mistakes, people will call you out. Recognise that some criticism can simply be constructive. Know that we all have flaws.
4. You kill your own dreams.
We all have dreams and aspirations. The perfectionist is by no means any different. The only problem is that for you, everything needs to be planned and executed with absolute care. That means you stay within the lines. You follow a rigid routine and must not divert from your plan. You do not take risks. You wait for the perfect moment, the perfect opportunity to realise your dreams. This is the ultimate dream killer. There will never be a perfect time to do anything. That’s why you do it right now. Don’t allow your perfectionism to stop you from reaching for the stars. Don’t allow your pent up fears from stopping you from shining.
5. You listen to your inner critic.
The voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough to be loved. The one that says you will be alone forever. The voice that reminds you that you will be perfect if you lost a bit more weight. The voice that says you will never achieve anything in life. Negative self-talk is the perfectionists companion. Always there. Your inner critic, stops you from living a good life. It stops from being the best version of yourself. Learn to ignore the damaging self-hate talks. Your inner critic is a lie. It wants to break your spirit, kill your happiness and steal your joy. Whenever it starts to speak, acknowledge it but do not internalise the hate. Turn it around and start to practice positive thoughts. Say to yourself, ‘I hear you but I do not believe you.’ Please give it the middle finger and move on.