Yes, I'm a perfectionist! And I find it hard to deal with this. Preferably, everything in my life has to go well. It’s not nice to lose control over a certain situation for too long. Over the past few years, I have worked hard to deal with this character trait. In contrast, I tried to focus on the positive aspects. In this piece, I hope to share some tips and tricks with you.

Lately, I have seen many students who also 'suffer' from perfectionism. This trait comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people would like to have their presentation or report to fit perfectly to the rules (often made up by themselves). Others - including me - like to present themselves on a more social level, and want to give a lot of attention to, and do good for others. When setting the boundary’s for this too high, it is easy to lose yourself.

The insight that turned me around is that I started to see perfectionism as something that has a lot of love and good intentions behind it. Sounds a bit cliché perhaps, but the fact that you want to write a good report só badly has to do with the fact that you want to do very well yourself. You want to show yourself, or others, that you can do it! Or, on the other hand, you want to show that you are the person that can kick of a party, that you are the person to trust, or that you are the person who they can always ask for advice. In all of this, there’s a lot of kindness!

However, the things you’re doing to achieve this aim are far beyond their initial purpose if you start to completely exhaust yourself. For example, in terms of over-presenting yourself socially or over-performing at university. If you exhaust yourself and you can't give yourself that love, you're not going to succeed towards other people, or towards completing an assignment. In that case you start losing yourself. That may sound harsh, but the perfectionist loop is a downward spiral. You aim for doing things more perfectly, but at the same time things are getting worse for yourself. The initial goal you had, also won’t be achieved. 

Perhaps that is the most peculiar thing when perfectionism kicks in; you want everything around you to be perfect, but you’re the one feeling and doing far from perfect.

In short; what helped me is to take a step back in almost everything I do and ask myself two questions: 1. Why am I doing this, and for whom am I doing this? 2. What do I gain from the thing I’m doing, what do others gain from this, and is this balanced? This way, I find out whether my intentions are genuine and whether I'm not doing something like a headless chicken.

And here, too, I have actually become more strict/perfectionistic with myself; 'Am I giving myself a enough attention and love?' But even here I'm still far from perfect.... I'm just trying to do something.

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