Lesley Shearer: Perfection & Anxiety

Posted: 18th July 2019 | Author: admin

Tales from an ordinary therapist, Lesley Shearer: Perfection & Anxiety

How perfection exhausts the brain…

As I grew up I had a clear vision of my own averageness. I am not particularly clever, I am not a top achiever, I am not that neat and tidy but what I am is, fairly content with my ordinariness.

On the other hand members of my family are, lets just say, above average in most things (whether they are perfectionists or not is for them to say lol! ).

Perfectionism can affect people of all ages and lifestyles. It is increasingly prevalent among new parents and students. Perfectionism can be about attempting to correct or deal with a defective, flawed, not so good enough sense of self.

Because perfectionism can look like a good thing as it often provides success, approval and mastery. It is also forming habits that can lead to rigid black and white thinking. It can paralyse your ability to make choices, procrastination, chronic stress and a deregulated nervous system.

So what is it? In basic terms is it a desire to be perfect. Perfectionism involves exceedingly high standards that a person sets out to achieve, the desire to be accepted by others and the need to be accepted.

‘A perfectionist’ is a person who yearns to be flawless in all that they do.


The Pros
Notice when you are motivated and achieving your goals when you are feeling encouraged and working towards self – improvement.

The Cons
Stress, fear of failure, procrastination, negative thinking, giving up easily and being over cautious. ( For example, spending 30 minutes going over an email checking for spelling errors. Or constantly trying to improve things by re-doing them, so they will be perfect)


How to enjoy your life more and worry less….

  1. Does it pay? Is it worth it? Be mindful of your perfectionism. Is your desire to be perfect causing you stress, guilt and low mood.
  2. What are in your life are you a perfectionist? Does it affect your relationship? Do you catastrophise? If your appearance or home is not perfect, pinpoint where your triggers are.
  3. Question your beliefs and challenge your thinking. Is it really important that every cushion is sitting perfect on your bed? What is the cost and benefit of spending time making everything perfect.
  4. Create more balance. Enjoy relaxation, redesign your day, initiate activities with others. Even subtle changes, like taking a break in your work day will enhance creativity.



Perfectionism itself is not the offender, allowing it to ruin your well being is.

Love & Laughter,