Perfectionism and Anxiety -How Do They Affect Self-esteem?

Perfectionism is defined as the desire to achieve ever-higher standards of performance and presents the tendency to excessive self-criticism.

Perfectionism is always pathological? Do you always go along with anxiety? Is it an obstacle or a resource for the wellbeing of the mind? What connection does it have with self-esteem?

And these are just a few questions that need to be answered to better understand how this personality trait can be a limit to achieving our wellbeing or being a resource that helps us achieve high levels of performance.

First of all, we must say that perfectionism is a mechanism of thought, determined by an internal state of tension. When accompanied by continued disapproval of oneself, it leads to a self-esteem lowering.

Perfectionism is common in many psychological discomforts and may even represent the premature state of the disease. That is before the onset of the disorder itself.

Moreover, perfectionism as well as predisposing to illness is also a pernicious mental retention mechanism that obstructs the change.

For example, perfectionism, as a characteristic of prevalent personality, in Social Anxiety Disorder originates mental rumination. This is a fear of exposing the criticism of others during actions or tasks of various kinds. It represents the repetition of a set of thoughts on what is negative and that prevents action and hence the search for a solution.

What does perfectionism originate?

In perfectionism, we can detect six main features …

  • Excessive concern to make mistakes
  • Doubts about your skills
  • Selective attention to errors
  • High standard, often unrealistic, with excessive effort to reach these standards
  • Error Interpretation as Failure Indicators
  • Low self-esteem and low self-esteem, with a tendency to engage in dysfunctional thinking

How do we distinguish between Perfectionism and Pathologic?

Pathological Perfectionism

It is always linked to an anxiety condition that creates a lot of malaise and is accompanied by low self-esteem and insecurity.

It leads us to establish too high standards and impossible to reach, with an exaggerated concern to make mistakes and fear of failure.

In some cases, when perfectionism is self-directed and standard imposition is very severe and rigid it can result in depression.

When, on the other hand, it is a total adaptation to the demands of others, one can live an internal state of strong anger and aggression.

There are cases where this is a socially imposed perfectionism and you are trapped in a cage of expectations that are too high in your regard. Here is what you begin to believe that meeting these expectations is the only way to have acceptance and approval. In these cases, it can result in social anxiety or social phobia, just for fear of receiving a negative judgment from the other.

At the base there is always a low self-esteem.

Perfect Perfectionism

It is not dictated by a state of disabling anxiety and is accompanied by a solid self-esteem.

In this case, we can speak of a healthy desire to improve and it is useful and functional in achieving its goals.

It is to be understood as the precision of thought, creativity and enthusiasm … It is useful to set up your life well and the efforts you make to achieve your goals, entail feelings of joy and satisfaction.

There is no fear of the judgment of others and there is no conviction that to have the love and appreciation of others must strike on them.

The mistake is not seen as a defeat, but as a learning opportunity.

They are able to defend their rights without fearing that others see us vulnerable.

At the base, there is a solid self-esteem.

Some therapeutic suggestions for dealing with perfectionism

  1. First, learn to become aware of your perfectionist traits

Distinguished if this is a perfectionism problem dictated by anxiety, because you want to keep behavior standards too high. In what areas of daily life does it occur?

It could be: school or work outcomes, sports performance, social appearance in some way, housework or more …

  1. Then make yourself aware of how perfectionism is related to the opinion you have of yourself

Ask this question: What do I think of myself in relationships, work, and social life?

Focuses within you on your individual and social conditioning, both in the present and in the past. How could they have influenced the development and maintenance of perfectionism?



Analyze Costs and Benefits … Try to find out your dysfunctional beliefs, the automatic thoughts, and the degree of conviction you have in them. These elements can be the basis of your perfectionist tendencies.

Look at your associated emotions and their intensity that leads you to use a certain kind of cognitive distortion.

And then … In what situations do you feel obliged to perform the tasks in an almost compulsive way? So how do you get rid of yourself for every small mistake?

Excessive precision can become a limit, making you run the risk of turning a task into an obsession. You can get to lose confidence in yourself and in your abilities.

As well as the exaggerated critical judgment of yourself that leads you to believe that you have never done enough.

When we punish for mistakes made, instead of learning from them, we end up to amplify our anxiety. We thus deprive ourselves of our self-esteem, feeling insecure and accompanied by the spectrum of bankruptcy that immobilizes us.

Shital regularly contributes on top health magazines and healthy living ideas to health blogs around the web. When she’s not busy working with the jobs, you will find her undertaking many of her own health-related topics and healthy living ideas! She has a lot of dreams. She works hard to fulfill her dreams. She loves to share her ideas, tricks, tips and information by blogging. She also works at, a company that committed to helping businesses with online marketing.

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