We all need acceptance and approval. We want to be perfect because we’re afraid that others will judge us and think we’re not good enough. We try to please everyone and never make mistakes. But when we focus on avoiding mistakes at all costs, we can’t learn – we’re stuck in our comfort zones. We miss opportunities and sabotage our progress. To defend ourselves from judgement and to shut off vulnerability, we hide our feelings. This defensiveness blocks compassion and empathy – we can’t connect with others. Instead, we feel resentment and anger when they don’t even notice our efforts.
It’s possible to overcome the downward spiral of perfectionism. If you examine your thoughts and feelings, you can uncover unmet needs that drive your behaviour and find ways to meet them that also allow you to grow and connect to others. Learn to:
Katarzyna is a PhD student at UCL Interaction Centre where she explores how technology can help people develop medication-taking habits. Before realising that research was her biggest passion, she worked as an analyst and an undercover UX Designer at a large media company.