Danielle Kowach, LCSW


Perfectionism often begins as a noble pursuit of excellence. We set high standards for ourselves and work tirelessly to meet or exceed them. It drives us to produce impeccable work, maintain immaculate living spaces, and present ourselves flawlessly. The pursuit of perfection can be motivating and lead to remarkable accomplishments. However, there’s a dark side to perfectionism. The relentless quest for flawlessness can lead to several negative consequences:

Procrastination: Perfectionists often delay tasks because they fear they won’t do them perfectly. This procrastination can hinder productivity and personal growth.

Anxiety and Stress: The constant pressure to be perfect can lead to anxiety and chronic stress, negatively impacting mental and physical health.

Fear of Failure: Perfectionists tend to see failure as a personal shortcoming rather than a natural part of the learning process. This fear of failure can prevent them from taking risks and trying new things.

Relationship Strain: Expecting perfection from oneself can lead to unrealistic expectations of others, causing strain in relationships.

Perfectionism isn’t inherently bad, but it becomes problematic when it stifles our growth and happiness. By embracing imperfection and striving for excellence instead of unattainable perfection, we can lead more fulfilling lives. Remember, it’s not about being flawless; it’s about being the best version of yourself. Embrace your imperfections, learn from your mistakes, and continue to grow on your journey toward a better you. 

Listed below are strategies to help break free from perfectionism.

Set Realistic Goals: Instead of aiming for absolute perfection, set achievable goals that challenge you without overwhelming you.

Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you offer to friends. Remember that nobody is perfect, and mistakes are opportunities for growth.

Focus on Progress, Not Perfection: Shift your mindset from an all-or-nothing approach to one that values progress. Celebrate small victories and acknowledge your efforts.

Learn from Mistakes: Instead of dwelling on failures, view them as valuable learning experiences. Mistakes often lead to innovation and personal development.

Seek Support: Talk to friends, family, or a therapist about your perfectionist tendencies. Sharing your struggles can provide valuable perspective and emotional support.