Do you have self-esteem or perfectionism issues?
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Do you have self-esteem or perfectionism issues?

What gets in your way? Lack of self-esteem or being a perfectionist? The answers to these questions will come to you when you use your highly sensitive deep-thinking capabilities.

A lack of self-esteem comes from not believing in yourself or your abilities. These negative feelings of not being worthy probably stem from childhood experiences. We’ve all had them.

I had some negative school experiences that profoundly impacted on my life. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown them. I believed for too long all the “junk” that was thrown at me in those days. Through much soul searching, I was able to replace some of those negative beliefs I had about myself with this insight: I am a person of value, and I have a lot to offer. I’d like to extend that same insight to you. You are a person of value, and you have a lot to offer. The key is to actually believe it.

Everyone is extraordinary. Your mission in life is to figure out your genius and how you can use it to benefit yourself and others.¬†You can outgrow your negative programming by becoming more self aware…by knowing your strengths and by exploring your talents. Being open to new learning experiences will do wonders for your self-concept!

Perfectionism is a difficult burden to haul around in your life. Trying to be perfect in every situation is impossible! Why cause yourself needless stress? Nothing is ever good enough. Your productivity and sanity will surely suffer.

Negative self-esteem and perfectionism are definitely related. Negative self-esteem uses perfectionism to mask feelings of inadequacy. You don’t want to be judged for making a mistake, so you try to do something perfectly. Can anyone relate to this?

The answer to the question….Do you have self-esteem or perfectionism issues?…. You probably have a little bit of both. It’s important to question your negative beliefs and see if they are true. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. Nobody is immune from them.

I’m interested in a thoughts or comments that you have.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Carroll Straus

    I think this is simplistic. yes perfectionism is a very real issue for us HSPs.But layered on that in many cases (as Aron notes) are lifetimes of invalidation. If you have b v been told all your life to be something you are not it is unlikely you will be able to create “Self esteem” without DEEP work. You have literally been told FROM YOUR EARLIEST days that you are NOT OK.

    But the perfectionism can be your best friend there. When others settle for some twisted version of life with a set of barriers (drugs, denial, use if family to carry your Shadow– etc) to the deep hurt of being rejected over and over, you can, and probably will, seek endlessly to understand what the real problem is.

    Maybe it is just me– but I doubt it. On some level I KNEW I had done terrific things and only tried to live everyone, so I could not be the broken subhuman my family (to this day) insists I am and must remain.

    SO I DID have “self esteem”– it just did not match the messages I was getting from my family. So naturally I had doubt and confusion. (And REALLY good “reality testing” skills.)

    No, it is not this simple at all.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Carroll,

      You’re correct, perfectionism is a very real issue for HSPs as well as non-HSPs. It’s a universal issue for all of us! I know how difficult it is to go against past negative programming. Not an easy or simple task, but it can be done through lifelong learning and seeking help when needed.

      Trust your natural highly sensitive instincts that your fine and move on confidently in your life. You’re fine, I’m not sure the rest of the world is. We deep-thinking highly sensitive people will survive whatever happens.

  2. Kelsey

    Hi Cliff,

    Yes, in answer to your question. I have both.

    I’m 16, 17 in July, so I’m still at school but doing my A-Levels. Through my high-school years I’ve never really believed in myself, in what I can do and achieve. In primary school, I was fairly confident in my abilities, but high-school smashed that confidence like a sledgehammer on glass. Through the lower high-school years, I found it hard to pick up the pieces scattered around me, it was difficult to fit in and be liked. In every school report I have, at least two teachers have stated that I should “become more confident”. It’s funny how demanding it to be used to make me want to shrink further into my shell.

    I’ve started to glue what little of my confidence I can find, back together and I’m making a conscious effort to improve my self-belief and confidence in myself and what I can do. I am also an introvert, so showing this to other people is difficult. That’s where I think my obvious perfectionism has come from. It wasn’t until a few months ago that a teacher called me a perfectionist. It got me thinking, so I asked my friends and they agreed. I’ve never noticed it in myself before, the urge to get things right first time has always been there. I just hate being wrong when the answer is so simple. It reminds me of how stupid I can be and thinking that I’m a moron makes me extremely unhappy to say the least.

    I feel that being a perfectionist is a consequence of suffering from prolonged negative self-esteem.

    I’m not as lonely as I used to be and I’m beginning to believe in myself properly. My psychology tutor told me that to believe in what I can do, is to pass my exams with flying colours.

    – Kelsey

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Kelsey,

      There is nothing wrong with you. Highly sensitive or not, it’s difficult to fit in with others if you’re perceived as different. We are all different. What would life be like if we were all the same? Boring! The best thing you can do is to be yourself. Your real friends will accept and love you just the way you are. The more you learn and accept yourself, you’ll find that others will accept you too.

      Being a perfectionist is not a bad thing if it’s not taken to the extreme and prevents you from accomplishing things. Stay tuned for another blog post that I’m doing on this subject. Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

      You sound like a very intelligent and extremely capable young lady. Don’t let others impact your self-esteem. The teenage years are very difficult because you’re just learning about yourself and others. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re going through normal growing pains. I’m sure that you’ll do well in anything you set your mind to.

      Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Please let me know how you’re doing.

  3. Lisa

    I can so relate to this. My son who is 8yrs old is highly sensitive and I find myself constantly trying to make his journey a little more bearable. I don’t want him to have to have all these negative childhood experiences. But he already is. It’s very difficult as a parent. I don’t know how to help him. He is an extreme perfectionist which often makes him so frustrated that he ends up crying. This doesn’t do much for his self esteem. He is on prozac which does help for his fears but even this doesn’t help protect him from a cruel world that won’t accept boys to be sensitive. Teachers are always trying to toughen him up which just makes it worse. So comforting to read about people with the same experiences.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Lisa,

      As much as you might try, it’s impossible to protect your son from negative childhood experiences. If this makes sense, you might be better able to help him by not trying to protect him as much. Don’t baby him. He has to learn from his own experiences at his own pace. Teachers trying to toughen him up will not help. Support him in any way you can and make sure that he knows that there is nothing wrong with him. People will do what they do, like it or not, and he shouldn’t take other children’s cruel behavior personally. I know that this is easier said than done. I’m not a medical professional, but I would like to suggest getting another opinion about your son’s medication. He might be better off getting talk therapy and getting suggestions about setting personal boundaries with others. Just a thought. I hope this helps.

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