We have heard time and again that “not everything is in your control”. For those of us who crave control, this can be extremely frustrating. Even trying to convince ourselves to let go is a battle. What do perfectionists actually need?
Perfectionism in psychology is defined as a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.
- Understand – Telling someone to “let it go” or “realize it isn’t within their control” can actually give this person anxiety. Control is a comfort. Without it they become panicked. Instead just ask if you can help. A perfectionist may feel like controlling a situation or project, but they don’t want to do everything themselves.
- Trust – If you do reach out to help, be trustworthy. Don’t just say you want to do a task and forget altogether. The bond between you two could possibly be jeopardized in doing so. This person probably already has trouble with trusting in general. If you’re going to help, you have to come through.
- Help Not Change – As I have said before, change doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to be practiced. The person also has to be willing to take steps necessary to change. So be accepting and helping until they are ready to change on their own.
- Positive Feedback – Be honest and encouraging. The perfectionist wants to get a task done right and they also need thoughts of encouragement along the way. In doing so, all their hard work will feel valued.
The “art” of perfection is an overly critical road to self-depreciation. It is a daily struggle just like most disorders. Knowing how to help can make a huge difference for those who suffer.