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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sophia Aguirre, Ph.D., CGP, FAGPA

7 Strategies for Overcoming Perfectionism


Perfectionism can be a debilitating trait that can hold us back from achieving our goals and living our best lives. If you're a perfectionist, you're not alone. Millions of people struggle with perfectionism every day. But there are steps you can take to overcome it and live a happier, more fulfilling life.


In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of perfectionism, the signs and symptoms of perfectionism, and the negative effects of perfectionism. We will also provide tips on how to overcome perfectionism and live a more balanced and fulfilling life.


Types of Perfectionism

There are two main types of perfectionism: adaptive and maladaptive.

Adaptive perfectionism is a healthy desire to do our best and achieve our goals. It can motivate us to work hard and achieve success. Adaptive perfectionists want to develop their skills continually and they approach work or tasks with a desire to grow and improve.

Maladaptive perfectionism is a more extreme form of perfectionism that can be harmful to our mental and emotional health. Maladaptive perfectionists set unrealistic standards for themselves and others, and they are never satisfied with their own performance. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and procrastination.


How Perfectionism Can Impact Your Life

Perfectionism can have a number of negative effects on your life, including:

  • Setting unrealistic standards for yourself and others

  • Spending an excessive amount of time planning or redoing work to make it "perfect."

  • Being overly critical of yourself and others

  • Having difficulty taking risks unless success is a guarantee

  • Having difficulty accepting mistakes

  • Struggling to delate tasks to others

  • Procrastinating because you are afraid of making mistakes

  • Feeling anxious and stressed about your performance

  • Feeling worried that if any laws are exposed, you will be rejected

  • Having difficulty relaxing and enjoying life

  • Feeling constantly disappointed in your self which can lead to low-esteem

  • Increased stress and pressure to succeed or overachieve

  • Traits of perfectionism are often linked to mental health issues, like anxiety, OCD, and depression

Strategies to Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be a difficult trait to overcome, but it is possible. There are a number of things you can do to overcome perfectionism. These include:

  1. Become aware of your perfectionistic tendencies. The first step to overcoming perfectionism is to become aware of your perfectionistic tendencies. What are your unrealistic standards? What are your thoughts and feelings about making mistakes?

  2. Challenge your perfectionistic thoughts. Once you are aware of your perfectionistic thoughts, you can start to challenge them. Are your standards really realistic? Is it really necessary to be perfect? However, it’s important that we make a conscious effort to also recognize the good. For everything you’re not quite satisfied with, challenge yourself to identify three things that you do appreciate.

  3. Set realistic goals. Instead of setting unrealistic goals, set goals that are challenging but achievable. You will feel much less stressed and more confident in our ability to reach our goals when they are realistic and challenging in a healthy way. This will help you to feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

  4. Accept mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It's important to accept that mistakes are a normal part of life. Mistakes are opportunities for us to learn, grow and do better. Don't beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Instead, accept and learn from your mistakes and move on.

  5. Learn to Receive Constructive Criticism. People who are perfectionists tend to have low self-esteem because they take criticisms personally. Consider constructive criticism as an opportunity to learn more about yourself - which is critical part of growing and healing.

  6. Be kind to yourself. Perfectionists are often very critical of themselves. It's important to be kind and compassionate to yourself. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and focus on your strengths.

  7. Seek professional help. If you are struggling to overcome perfectionism, you may want to seek professional help. A therapist can help you to understand your perfectionism and develop strategies for overcoming it. Therapy can also help you to better understand the deeper reason behind feeling the pressure to be perfect.

The Aguirre Center for Inclusive Psychotherapy provides therapy for perfectionism with a special focus on serving Latinx, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and the LGBTQIA+ Communities. If are located in the states of Georgia or Florida, and are ready to begin your path towards healing and wellness, you can get started through any of the steps below:

  1. Visit our Getting Started Page to request an appointment with one of our talented therapists.

  2. Learn more about our team of therapists and contact one of our therapists directly if you resonate with what they share on their profiles.

  3. Review our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about what you can expect about the services we offer.

We look forward to the possibility of working together and being part of your healing journey!

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