15 Signs You're A Perfectionist (And It's Ruining Your Life)

Being a perfectionist isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Last updated on May 23, 2023

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It may sound so great to say, "I am a superhero — I'm superhuman!" But is it really? Have you really looked into what it means to be a superhuman?

You see, superhumans have all their ducks in a row all the time. Everybody can lean on them because they can handle it and they don’t need help in return. Also, they make the impossible possible because they don’t take "no" for an answer and they are looking relentlessly for the answer they are seeking.


Instead of calling yourself a superhuman, you might refer to yourself as a perfectionist. But even though being a part-time "superhuman" gives you confidence, a sense of worth and independence, you can’t make any mistakes because of the fear of failure.

Perfectionism is the relentless pursuit of flawlessness and the setting of unattainably high standards, often accompanied by self-criticism and fear of failure. Additional signs of perfectionism can include being overly critical of your mistakes, procrastinating tasks, having difficulty accepting constructive criticism, amd having a constant sense of never feeling good enough.


Being a perfectionist can negatively affect you in numerous ways, including increased stress and anxiety, procrastination, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, and burnout.

So if you notice any of the signs of perfectionism below, it may be time to take a step back.

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15 Glaring Signs You're A Perfectionist

1. You put unrealistic expectations on yourself.

You feel that you can never fail, make mistakes, or let others down. If or when you do, you will beat yourself up and feel that you are not good at or for anything. So, your view then becomes very black and white: It is or it is not, and you fill in the blanks.

2. You have a hard time trusting others.

As a perfectionist, you rely only on yourself, which means that you don’t trust others, not for help, input, opinion, or sincerity, and you subconsciously look for the hidden agenda somebody may have.

3. You need everything in your control.

With control, you want everything to be perfect and you put too much pressure on yourself. If it ends up not being perfect, it fails, and you don’t handle failure well.

Things that are not in your control will drive you crazy and unexpected events will throw you off kilter, which interferes with your well-being.


4. You're constantly overwhelmed by life.

Being a perfectionist 24/7 is hard work and it seems you can’t take a break because you are on call all the time.

Not only are you in charge of your life, but others start to lean on you, regardless of whether you can take them on or not. In their mind, you are the go-to person when something goes wrong in their lives and you will fix it.

5. You have unrealistic expectations of others.

Your expectation can be that you find that others have to be superhuman as well and, if not, they are "weak." Or, others view you as this superior, out-of-this-world person that takes on the responsibility of the world.

Both expectations are very tiring for all parties.


6. You feel lonely.

When you need a shoulder to lean on, you find that you dismiss a lot of people as your confidant because you feel like they can’t understand you, and therefore can’t support you.

By isolating yourself, you cut off all the support that could be out there for you, and you experience feelings of loneliness.

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7. People think you're a know-it-all.

People will either come to you for advice, or they will shun you, keeping you out of their social circle because you make them feel inferior. This is often done unintentionally, but your need for everything to be "perfect" makes you come off as a know-it-all.


8. Your stress levels are high.

Being "on" all the time will take a toll on your health. Never giving yourself a break means it's not so uncommon that you might develop health issues down the line that may shorten your lifespan and your quality of life.

9. You don't prioritize self-care.

Often, perfectionists put others before themselves and don’t have a great practice of self-care. Even when the cost is high, they do this just so they don’t disappoint others and be seen as a failure.

As good as taking charge of your life is to become a well-rounded human being, you need others in your life. You need others to learn from, collaborate with, and lean on when you have a difficult moment. We all encounter difficult moments once in a while, but nobody can escape those.

10. You're afraid of failure.

Perfectionists have a strong fear of failure and view mistakes or wrong decisions as personal failures. People who struggle with this often have an intense aversion to making mistakes or falling short of their own impossibly high standards.


This fear of failure can paralyze you, leading to a reluctance to take risks or pursue new opportunities, as you prioritize avoiding failure over personal growth and exploration.

11. You have trouble making decisions.

You often second-guess your choices, fearing that making the wrong decision will reflect negatively on your competence or character. Perfectionists tend to overanalyze and overthink every decision, weighing all possible outcomes and potential risks.

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12. You rely on validation.

Perfectionists often rely heavily on external validation and approval to feel a sense of worth or accomplishment. You may constantly seek praise and recognition from others, basing your self-esteem on meeting the expectations of others rather than your own internal standards.


This reliance on external validation can lead to a constant need for acceptance and a fear of disappointing others.

13. You avoid taking risks.

Perfectionists may avoid taking on new challenges or pursuing opportunities outside their comfort zone. The fear of not being able to achieve perfection or the possibility of making mistakes can hinder your willingness to explore new areas, try new activities, or take on projects that you perceive as challenging.

Avoiding taking risks can limit your personal and professional growth, and prevent you from fully experiencing new and rewarding experiences.

14. You constantly compare yourself to others.

Perfectionists often compare themselves to others, seeking validation and reassurance about their own worth and accomplishments. If this sounds like you, you may feel a sense of competitiveness and measure your success based on how you stack up against others.


Constant comparison may fuel feelings of inadequacy and intensify your perfectionistic tendencies as you strive to outperform or measure up to an idealized standard set by others.

15. You have a hard time celebrating your accomplishments.

You often struggle to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements. Even when you accomplish something significant, you downplay your success or quickly shift your focus to perceived flaws or areas for improvement.

You're essentially robbing yourself of the joy and satisfaction that comes with recognizing your accomplishments, leading to a perpetual cycle of feeling never quite "good enough."


So, what can you do to let go of your perfectionist tendencies:

First, make a priority list. What is important for you? Write that down. Cultivate the list and let go of the things that didn’t make the list, because guess what? They are not important to you.

Next, take time for relaxation. Meditation, sports, yoga, movies, fishing, and hunting all count as long as it relaxes you.

Finally, and most importantly, ask for help. It's a way of showing trust in the ability of others to be of service to you, and it gives you the feeling you don’t have to do it all alone.

RELATED: How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others & Seek Validation From Within


Ellen Nyland is a certified life coach and the author of "Life is Great Even When it Sucks." Her work focuses on helping people grow, get out of their comfort zones, and find their passion.