This is the ninth of a 14-part series that covers the negative effects of low self-esteem.

In this chapter, we will try to unravel the facts that surround one of the most common causes of conflicts in any group or organization.


It is a state of mind that makes one think that anything less than perfect is not acceptable.

You are showing signs of perfectionism if you possess any of these characteristics:

– You always think that no effort is ever good enough;

– You are afraid of making mistakes thinking that anything less than perfect is a failure.

– You cannot tolerate the mistakes that other people commit and you are highly critical of your own flaws;

– You have a tendency to focus on little details that no one would notice.

While perfectionism seems desirable in the eyes of many, it is actually hard to work or live with a person who is a perfectionist. It is in fact, considered by many psychologists as a personality disorder, and it is one of the most common effects of low self-esteem.

The Roots of Perfectionism

Experts often relate perfectionism to low self-esteem.   Most People who are lacking in self worth are afraid of failure.  They believe that the way to avoid rejection is by being flawless.

A lot of perfectionists were raised in a family with rigid rules in which a family member, usually a parent, always criticizes them for their mistakes. 

Constant criticism can negatively affect a person's sense of self-respect.  It can make him or her anchor his or her self-esteem on other people's opinions and criticisms.  It can make him or her develop into a perfectionist, thinking that it is the only way to deal with criticism.

Overcoming Perfectionism

Nobody is perfect. Even perfectionists know that.  We have to learn to accept our own imperfections as well as the flaws of others in order to live in good harmony with them.   Here are a few tips which can help you overcome this unnecessary state of mind:

1. Stop believing that you are not good enough.

When you look lowly at yourself, you would want to compensate for it by trying to be perfect.  This is a self-esteem issue and you should work on it at once.  Start to build your self worth by accepting yourself.  Focus on your strengths and stop listening to that little voice that keeps on telling you that you are never good enough.

2. Set reasonable expectations.

It is perfectly alright to want to be the best you can be, but to want to be perfect is a different thing.  Behind a healthy goal to excel, you should learn to acknowledge your limitations.  This will help you to accept yourself despite your faults.   

5. Stop being your own harshest critic.

It is good to do right all the time, but you know it is impossible.  Do your best in any endeavor, but you need to give yourself some tolerance for errors because they can happen.  This can help to prevent you from exerting undue pressure on yourself.  You don't have to be overly conscious of the opinions of other people because they too are not perfect.

6. Use your sense of humor.

Learn to laugh and take it easy on yourself.  Life is road of trials and errors and the way to live it is to take things less seriously.

7. No one expects you to be perfect.

You should realize that no one expects you to be perfect.  Everyone believes you can make mistakes because you are human.  We make pencils with erasers because we know we can make mistakes even as we write.


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