At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous.
It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Michael Law
The above quote from Michael Law sums up what is at the heart of perfectionism. It’s about fear in all its forms. Fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough or knowing enough, fear of doing it wrong or being wrong can be added to the above list.
The perfectionist fears what others may think of them if they don’t get it right and expends a lot of energy trying to be perfect. In some cases they may not even know the person or people they are trying to impress. For example they may have to dress perfectly, have not a hair out of place and make up just so before they can run out the door for a quick trip to the shops.
The perfectionist is always judging themselves as not being good enough and may have high standards for themselves and for others. Standards that are impossible for themselves and others to live up to. They then feel let down by others and themselves when those standards are not met. They may become angry, frustrated, critical and blame others and perhaps feel depressed and guilty that they can’t live up to these self-imposed impossible standards. They may lash out at others and then feel guilty. Their moods may drive others away leaving them feeling alone and perhaps abandoned.
Perfectionism can also be about control. Controlling how others feel about them and in some cases controlling others. Wanting others to do something perfectly can be a form of control. Always wanting to do something yourself and not allowing others to try can be a form of control. For example, showing someone how to do something at work and then taking over again because they don’t do it to your exacting standards.
Perfectionism can also be a form of procrastination. You may give up and not even start because you feel that you will never get it perfect. You may start but never complete the project because you need to keep on trying to find or do the one thing that will make it perfect in your eyes when for everyone else the project is finished or fine as it is.
You may push yourself and try to over achieve in your quest for perfection ignoring your own needs and those of your family and friends. You focus on what’s wrong and the negative aspects rather than what’s right. You spend time on perfecting a project at the expense of your relationship with your family, friends and your health. When all you can see is the negative it’s time to change your perspective and see what’s good in your world. It can also be time to get another’s perspective on what’s great about your life or project.
Perfectionism is about your ideas of how things should be and your beliefs surrounding them. Is there a should in your life that you can let go of? Can you lower your expectations a bit? What would happen if you did?
How has being a perfectionist benefited you? There is always a benefit. Take the time to carefully consider the benefits and if the time and energy you are putting into being a perfectionist or doing something perfectly is worth it.
Finally consider this. It is often our perceived imperfections that people love. What do people love about you? If you don’t know, ask.
Use one or a blend of the following essential oils in a vaporiser, massage or anointing oil to help you with your issues surrounding perfectionism.
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) – to help you bring a little more balance into your life especially if you are feeling stressed due to a work life imbalance
German chamomile ( Matricaria recutita) – to help you let go of your high expectations, acknowledge your limitations and ask for help and support when you need it
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) – to help you with your high expectations of yourself and others and the feelings of guilt, frustration and blame surrounding them when they are not met. If you comfort eat grapefruit can be helpful.
Juniper (Juniperus communis) – to help clear the negative thinking surrounding fear of failure
Teatree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – to help you see another perspective