The Positive and Detrimental Effects of Perfectionism Essay

The Positive and Detrimental Effects of Perfectionism Essay

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The Perfectionist

I’ve never been that girl who has to cut construction paper three times to make sure it’s a straight line. I skim through measurements in Engineering class. I could care less if my handwriting is unreadable, even if I can’t read it myself. Because of these things, I never have considered myself a perfectionist. However, when I began to structure my morning routine down to the minute, create king-sized lists of things to do every weekend, and have a near panic attack if there was a chance I’d be late to an event, I was unable to question of my unrealistic expectations for myself. Perfectionism can have positive outcomes, but it can be detrimental to one’s mental health.

Perfectionism isn’t about being perfect or doing something perfectly. According to the Centre for Clinical Interventions, perfectionism involves putting pressure on oneself to meet demandingly high standards, greatly influencing one’s self perception. Perfectionists can be self-oriented, other-oriented, or socially-oriented. Self-oriented perfectionists have irrational standards for themselves that lead to strong motivation and harsh self-evaluation. Other-oriented perfectionists have unrealistic expectations for others that turn the pressure onto their peers. Socially-oriented perfectionists believe that others have unrealistic expectations for their behavior, experiencing an external pressure to be perfect.

There are quite a few positive effects of perfectionism. Perfectionists tend to be highly motivated with high standards for themselves. This leads to a thorough completion of tasks at hand. The pursuit of excellence leads to a lot of effort being made to achieve good results. Paul Hewitt and Gordon Flett present research showing that self-...


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Works Cited

Borchard, Therese J. “10 Steps to Conquer Perfectionism.” Psych Central. Psych Central, 31 May 2011. Web. 7 Feb. 2014. .
Centre for Clinical Interventions. North Metropolitan Health Services in Western Australia, 18 Mar. 2009. Web. 6 Feb. 2014. .
Kyle, Lisa. “How Your Perfectionism Affects Others.” The DaVinci Dilemma. Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. & Lisa Rothstein, 20 June 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2014. .
Pychyl, Timothy A. “What Flavor of Perfectionist Are You? It Matters!” Psychology Today. Sussex, 30 Apr. 2008. Web. 7 Feb. 2014. .

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