standards for oneself

having an unhealthy obsession with perfectionism

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Hi wani, thank you for sharing your situation.

While striving for excellence is a good quality that motivates and helps us achieve our goals, excessive pursuit of perfection may cause stress and affect our work/daily performance. Distinguishing between adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism is important as it helps us understand if we are helping ourselves or hindering our efforts in attaining what we want.

Maladaptive perfectionism is associated with a heightened level of perfectionism concern (1), with common signs include rumination of past mistakes, critical evaluation of own abilities and perceived performance, doubts about meeting expectations, fear of failure, fear of making mistakes, fear of disapproval, and fear of disappointing others (2). This combination of expectations and concerns in the light of high standards often leads people to become more stressed, anxious, and insecure.

If you could relate to what is being described—it’s okay, maladaptive perfectionism is something you can overcome and we are here for you. Here are some of the strategies that may help:

  1. Set SMART goals based on what you want rather than what others expect of you.

  2. Assess your goals when you feel stressed or anxious. Ask yourself, “Have I set myself a mission impossible?”.

  3. Confront your fears of not being perfect. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen?”

  4. Experiment with your standards for success. For example, instead of aiming for 100%, try 90%, 70%, or even 40% success. This will help you to realise that you don’t have to be perfect all the time and the world will not end because of such imperfection.

  5. Enjoy the process. Recognise that there can be value in the process of pursing a goal. It’s not always about the results.

  6. Be compassionate to yourself. When you make a mistake or are unable to achieve a goal, treat the experience as an opportunity for you to learn, grow, and do better next time.

You could try out this tool (3) to find an alternative perspective to maladaptive perfectionist if thoughts that may arise and/or this tool (4) to help you extend compassion towards yourself.

Hope this helps (:


(2) APA PsycNet

(3) Mental Support & Wellbeing Resources in Singapore to Improve Workplace Mental Health |

(4) Mental Support & Wellbeing Resources in Singapore to Improve Workplace Mental Health |


I understand your feelings and where you are coming from . It is good to have high standards to improve on ourself and is a sign of belief in ourselves and motivates but at the same time too much focusing on high standards would lead to unhappiness and leads to a downward spiral because if u are not able to reach a certain expectation then you would belittle and hate urself and it is important if the whole world has something to nit pick the only one who shouldnt lose belief or be hard on urself is you. You arent alone in this and many of us face this same not able to meet high standards but make sure u show enough grace and be kind to urself and try your best to be okay/ not be harsh on urself if things dont ur way. We all have our wins and losses. Good luck and keep doing you!!

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