Are You Struggling With Toxic Perfectionism?
As a woman of color, you may think you have to work twice as hard to prove yourself in a world that often doesn’t value you. But sometimes, that drive for success can evolve into a toxic form of perfectionism. This can hold you back and keep you from enjoying your accomplishments. We will explore toxic perfectionism, how it affects your life, and coping with it.
What Is Toxic Perfectionism?
Perfectionism is the pursuit of high standards and excellence. While this can be a positive trait, it can become problematic when it becomes all-consuming and prevents you from feeling satisfied with your achievements. When the pressure to be perfect becomes so overwhelming that it causes negative emotions, anxiety, and self-doubt, this is toxic perfectionism taking it to the extreme.
There are several different types of perfectionism. Here are a few of them:
- Self-Oriented Perfectionism. When you focus your standards and ideals on yourself.
- Other-Oriented Perfectionism. When you hold yourself to a higher standard than others.
- Prescribed Perfectionism. The urge to achieve and meet high standards for others because you believe they demand no less.
Perfectionists are common and usually mistaken for high achievers. At first glance, it is impossible to tell them apart. High achievers and perfectionists have an intense ambition to succeed and high standards. But there is a definite distinction between the two. High achievers have a desire for greatness. Perfectionists have a demand for perfection.
What Causes Toxic Perfectionism?
Many factors can contribute to toxic perfectionism. For women of color, systemic racism and discrimination can create a feeling of needing to constantly prove yourself and outperform others to be seen as equal. Family pressure, cultural expectations, and past experiences of failure are also likely contributing factors. The need for approval from others and fear of failure can also contribute to toxic perfectionism.
The Signs Of Toxic Perfectionism
The signs of toxic perfectionism can manifest in different ways, including:
- Fear of failure or making mistakes
- Extreme self-criticism and negative self-talk
- Procrastination or avoidance
- Difficulty delegating tasks to others
- Perfectionism in all areas of life, not only work or academics
- Feeling like you’re not doing enough, even when you’re accomplishing a lot
How Toxic Perfectionism Impacts Your Life
Toxic perfectionism can impact your life in many ways, including:
- Decreased self-esteem and confidence
- Anxiety and stress
- Burnout and exhaustion
- Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships
- Physical symptoms such as headaches and digestive issues
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicidal ideation come with perfectionism. Social perfectionism comes with an increased risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Social convention-oriented perfectionists believe that others will criticize them. Perfectionists feel they always let people down because they can never be flawless.
Coping With Toxic Perfectionism
Here are some practical tips for coping with toxic perfectionism:
- Recognize the negative self-talk: Pay attention to the critical voice in your head. Challenge it with positive affirmations and realistic self-talk.
- Celebrate progress: Focus on the effort and the progress. Do this rather than celebrating perfect outcomes.
- Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and treat yourself with compassion. The same compassion you would give to others.
- Set realistic goals and expectations: Set goals that are challenging but achievable. Adjust your expectations when necessary.
- Seek support: It is best to reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for help with this issue.
Why Is It Important?
As a woman of color, toxic perfectionism can be especially challenging. The pressure to succeed and overcome systemic barriers can be overwhelming, leading to increased feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. You have to recognize that these feelings are not your fault, and that you are not alone.
Toxic perfectionism can be a major obstacle to achieving happiness and success. It is best to recognize the signs, understand the impact, and practice coping skills. Doing so can help you overcome this and live a more fulfilling life. Remember, you are worthy and deserving of love and success, even if you’re not perfect.