For most of us, holding ourselves to high standards contributes to our ability to be successful. But there’s a difference between being motivated to achieve, and the feeling that we MUST be perfect in order to be successful or happy.
For some people, the need to appear perfect to others can lead to feelings of depression and loneliness, as they believe they will not be accepted if others see their flaws. For others, the drive to appear perfect leads to anxiety and trouble relaxing. Often, perfectionism goes hand-in-hand with procrastination. The thought that “nothing I do is good enough unless it is perfect,” leads to not starting or not completing a task where the result might be less than what you want it to be.
Perfectionism gets in the way of trying new activities, because you might not succeed. Perfectionism gets in the way of having deep, meaningful relationships, because of the fear that your flaws will be discovered.
Therapy can help with understanding where your perfectionism comes from, and learning to acknowledge mistakes and set attainable goals. It starts with a more realistic appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses, and being able to accept yourself as you really are.