How to Overcome Perfectionism So You'll Be More Confident In Your Life (Not Only Fix Self-Confidence Problems)

If you are a perfectionist chances are perfectionism ruins your self-confidence every now and then.

How to overcome perfectionism is so important to a perfectionist, perfectionism causes many problems in life.

A perfectionist tends to become a top achiever among his peers because he will do his best anyhow in going after his goals.

However, his perfectionistic attitude always ruins his self-confidence as he always thinks he was done something wrong whenever he fails to do a task or done imperfectly.

The difference between a perfectionist and other top achievers is perfectionist would think the reason of a project failed is due to his own faults and feel inferior when this happen.

Consequently, his inferiority will destroy his self-confidence because he started to suspect his own's abilities and doesn't fully believe in himself.

In contrast, if another top achiever fails his project, he will accept the fact and overcome it immediately.

He still believes in himself that he can achieve his goals because he has solid self-confidence. After accepting the fact of the failure, he'll continue to move on with his life. 

Normally perfectionists lack self-confidence so they always want to be perfect to protect their ego, they don't allow themselves to make even a single mistake, they want to be as perfect as possible.

And mostly this will end up with more decrease of self-confidence if the failure occurs.

What causes perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a learned behavior.

Perfectionist learned this behavior through their past experience that people are valued by their performance and achievement. Most of them developed perfectionism in their childhood.

For instance, teachers according to students' exam result decide which classroom they are belong to. 

Some teachers pay more attention to students who get high marks and neglect those who get bad result.

A person through this experience learned that, if he didn't get a good result, teachers would not care of him.

If parents give heavy weight on exam result will even strengthen the beliefs that people really valued by good performance.

To get the caring he admires and craves, his ego developed a perfectionistic attitude to make himself feel he is worthy to be caring of. Hence, he becomes a perfectionist.

Perfectionists feel pressure when doing things because they always aim for perfect and no mistakes are allowed.

They fear of failure, mistakes, and disapproval.

Therefore, they keep being perfect to protect themselves from facing criticism, rejection, and disapproval. In fact, most people's rejection doesn't make sense. See also: 6 ways people wrongly judge others.

Besides, perfectionists have black-and-white or all-or-none thinking, if they don't achieve what they set to achieve, then they would think themselves are a total failure. 

Most of them overemphasize the word 'should' - "I should do this..I should do that..blah blah blah".

They set rules for themselves and this limited their actions and feelings, they focus on the result instead of the joyful of the process and this results in feeling of stressed and low confidence.

Furthermore, perfectionists can have imbalance psychological state. They are likely to think they give a lot of blood and tears but get unsatisfied results.

They see other successful people as giving lesser efforts and achieve more comparing to them. They likely to believe other people don't make many mistakes like them.

Based on these causes mentioned above, perfectionist develops the perfectionism to help maintaining his psychological balance. 

How perfectionism works?

Perfectionists always aim for perfect, and this ruins their self-confidence.

But how this perfectionistic attitude affects people's behaviors?

How perfectionism works?

Firstly, a perfectionist will set himself unreachable goals. These goals are unattainable because they're overwhelming and too high standards for people to execute.

In other words, he is setting failure for himself. See how to set your goals effectively

Therefore, perfectionist fails his projects or goals because the aiming is too high to achieve and thus the failure is inevitable.

They don't even know where and how to begin their goals because these goals are impossible to begin.

Perfectionists always feel stressed in making progress due to always go for perfection.

The feelings of stressed in executing tasks and chasing dreams reduce his productivity and effectiveness. 

As perfectionist is always planning to fail subconsciously ( Even though his achievement is great but he would still believe he is a total failure).

He tends to be self-critical and self-blaming. This reduces his self-confidence and self-esteem and even leads to guilt and depression.

Therefore, perfectionists may give up their goals completely if the goals are failed.

Later on, they start to set other goals again.

But the new goals they set are still hard-to-achieve goals.

Therefore, the cycle will be repeated over and over again and eventually they failed to achieve any goal and this results in inferiority, depression and guilty.

Perfectionists likely give heavy weight to people's opinion. Their self-worth builds on the external world but not from their inner world because they have false beliefs that people are valued by their achievement and performance.

Therefore, if other people judge, reject and critic them negatively they treat these seriously and even commit suicide.

In short, perfectionism works like this way: set unreachable goals > inevitably fail > feeling stressed > low productivity and effectiveness > self-critical and self-blaming > give up > new unreachable goals > inevitably fail >......

A perfectionist will repeat this vicious cycle endlessly, even if he achieved his goals, he will not satisfy with his achievement and become very sensitive to other's judgement, criticism and rejection.

Perfectionism is not only destroy your self-confidence

A person has perfectionism is because he feels inferior to others, therefore he decided to be perfect to protect his ego and raise his self-worth.

But this action won't make him become confident instead worsen his self-confidence because perfection is illogical and unattainable. Perfection is not the point.

Well, perfectionism not only destroys your self-confidence but also affects your other aspects in life. Some of them are explained below.


Perfectionism can lead to procrastination because you insist do things perfectly.

Even though the trivial thing won't affect the final result of the project, you would spend lots on time on it to make it perfect, therefore you'll delay your work to be done.

You must remember, perfection is not the point. 

You can do a task for 80-90 marks in a day; you can also do a task for 100 marks in a week, it's up to your choice.

However, if you don't insist everything to be perfect, you can do 7 tasks in a week instead of only 1 task. See also how to deal with procrastination.


If you're a perfectionist, you'll feel depressed when you find that you're not able to achieve your goals perfectly without any mistake in it.

Depression is one of the greatest negative emotions impact your life tremendously. If you're depressed for a long time, it's unhealthy for you physically and emotionally.

You want to prevent and eliminate depression as quickly as you can. See also: how to overcome depression.

Dissatisfaction of life 

If you're a perfectionist, you won't feel completely happy because there's nothing in this world is perfect.

Even if your goal is done nearly perfect like 99 marks, you still don't feel completely happy because your goal is 100 marks. You'll always feel dissatisfied with your life even your life is admired by other people. 

Perfectionism is not good for anyone because perfection is unattainable and it's hard to keep your performance in high-quality every day. Perfection is not the point.

The only way to deal with perfectionism is you want to get rid of it completely. You have to remember the sentence that has repeated many times in this article: Perfection isn't the point!

How to overcome perfectionism 

You have to understand that this is the world, this is how our life works. We are not a machine, we are only human being.

Our performance is different every time even though it's in our mastered field. You have to be more confident in yourself!

No matter what circumstance it's, you have to accept it in order to be able to change yourself.

Many people can't change and improve themselves because they refuse to face the reality. See also this post on TinyBuddha.

You have to get rid of the belief that you have to be perfect because it's holding you back to be more productive and happy.

Once you get rid of this belief, you will realize that life is easier than you think, so you'll execute your life in a more high-quality way. 

Do you find that you're trying to be perfect in something?
How do you feel?
How do you get rid of it? 

About the author


Rio Yee is the Founder of WealthyLoveLife and is super passionate about helping people change their mind and take action to improve your important areas in life such as dating & relationships, personal finance and productivity.


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