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Highly Sensitive People: Does Perfectionism Get In You Way?

I’m a highly sensitive person and a perfectionist. These characteristics seem to be linked together. Perfectionism can be a strength if it’s not taken to the extreme, though it also has some major drawbacks.

“Absolute perfection is impossible to achieve,” you will insist, and of course you’ll be correct. But what is so wrong about making an extraordinary effort in every task that you undertake? As a productive force, perfectionism provides the drive to do one’s best.

I’ve been “suffering” with perfectionism all of my life. I was a perfectionist as a child, and if I made a mistake, I’d feel humiliated and hated myself for it. This unhealthy attitude made me an underachiever throughout my school years.

Another problem with perfectionism is that you expect everyone and everything to be perfect. This is a terrible burden to carry through life. You expect that everyone will feel and do things the way you do. This is not realistic!

Unrealistic expectations will make you miserable. You’ll be frustrated that events, social situations, and people, are not the way you want them to be. You’ll fight with everyone about meaningless things. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t expect good things from yourself and others, but you need to focus on what’s important. Pick your “battles” carefully.

Seeking outside approval from others before making a decision is a perfectionist characteristic. It’s fine to get advice from others, but not if it’s taken to the extreme and keeps you from making a decision.

Another perfectionist trait is having a hard time delegating. I have this problem. I have a false belief that “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.” This feeling stemmed from many people letting me down, not from my superior attitude. I have come to realize that if you work with a qualified person with honorable intentions, they’ll do a better job.

I’m still haunted by my perfectionist tendencies, but they don’t keep me from achievement or happiness in my life. I’ve learned to work with my feelings.

My perfectionism has helped me take advantage of my strong motivation that pushes me to work hard. It has given me the desire to improve myself. I’ve learned to set realistic short-term goals. Most importantly, I have learned that “good enough is really good enough.” I’ve finally come to realize that although I’m not perfect, I’m a pretty good and capable person!

I did something that I didn’t think was possible. I wrote a book. I never thought that I’d finish it. This was truly a miracle! I was riddled with the burden of trying to make the book “too perfect.” I wrote about my personal life as a highly sensitive person and the lessons that I’ve learned. I was concerned about what others would think of me. I decided to use my perfectionism to create the best book that I could and not look back.

It is fine to give your best effort and be conscientious, but don’t let your perfectionism keep you from finishing something. Perfectionism can be the motivating force to create your own miracles. I’m proud to be a perfectionist! If you’re a perfectionist, what miracles can you create for your highly sensitive self?

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