Perfectionism: What It Is and Key Features

Perfectionism: What It Is and Key Features

Perfectionism is a type of behavior characterized by the desire to carry out all the tasks in a perfect way, not being allowed errors or unsatisfactory results to your default. The person perfectionist usually has a high standard of billing on himself and on others.

Perfectionism can be classified into:

  • Normal, adaptive, or healthy, when the person has motivation and determination to accomplish the task so well made;
  • Neurotic, maladaptive, or harmful, in which the person has a very high standard of perfection, and it is often necessary to carry out the same task multiple times because you judge not to be perfect, and may generate frustration.

In spite of the perfectionist does not accept errors and, when they happen, they feel frustrated, incapable, anxious, or depressive, be a perfectionist is not necessarily something bad. Why you want to always perform the tasks with perfection, the perfectionist is usually very focused, disciplined and determined, which are important characteristics for the personal and professional life.

Main features


People perfectionists typically look well to detail, are extremely organized and focused, seeking to carry out the tasks with the minimum possibility of error. These characteristics are considered normal and even healthy for all people, because it interfere positively on the personal and professional life. However, when these features are accompanied with high standard of collection and self-criticism exacerbated, can generate feelings of frustration and depression.

Other characteristics of the person perfectionist are:

  • A lot of responsibility and determination;
  • High level of requirement with you and with each other;
  • Don’t admit failures and mistakes, having difficulties to accept that you made a mistake and learn from it, in addition to feel guilt and shame;
  • Feel difficulty in working in group, since it cannot believe in the ability of the other;
  • They always feel that something is missing, never getting satisfied with the obtained result;
  • Does not accept criticism very well, but tends to criticize others to demonstrate that she is better.

People perfectionists are very afraid of fail, so if you care about constantly with things and establish a pattern of charging very high and, therefore, when there is any fault or error, even if small, end up getting frustrated and with the feeling of inability.

Types of perfectionism

In addition to the classification into healthy or harmful, the perfectionism can also be classified according to the factors that influenced their development:

  1. Perfectionism personal, in which the person charges a lot, demonstrating a behavior of excessive concern for that everything is perfect. This type of perfectionism with respect to the way the person sees himself, is the self-criticism exacerbated;
  2. Perfectionism social, which is triggered by the fear of how it will be interpreted and recognized by the people, and the fear of failing and being rejected, being this kind of perfectionism often triggered in children who have been very charged, praised or rejected, the path to such a way of the child to be accepted by the parents, for example. In addition, the perfectionism social, the person has difficulties to talk or interact with other people about your fears or insecurities precisely because of the fear of judgment.
  3. Perfectionism directed, in which the person has a lot of expectations not only about themselves but also about others, which makes it difficult to work in team and to adapt to other situations, for example.

Perfectionism can also be the consequence of psychological disorders, such as anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), for example.

When perfectionism becomes a problem?

Perfectionism can become a problem when performing any task becomes exhausting and stressful due to the high standard of billing, excessive concern with details and the fear of failure. In addition, the fact of never being satisfied with the obtained results it can generate feelings of distress, frustration, anxiety and even depression, which in some cases can result in suicidal thoughts.

People perfectionists tend to have the self-criticism very much present, which can be very harmful, since they are not able to evaluate the positives, only the negatives, resulting in mood disorders. This not only reflects in carrying out day to day tasks, but also in the physical aspects, which can result in eating disorders, for example, since the person thinks that you always have something to improve in the body or in the appearance, without taking into account the positive aspects.

Perfectionism What It Is and Key Features 1