HSP: when perfectionism meets self-love

Photo by Hans Jongman

Do you know those people who want to do everything perfect? Who put lots of time and energy in investigating what stuff to buy or which holiday to book? Their minds are unstoppable, they go over different scenarios in little time. They have high standards and  if the product or service doesn’t live up to the standard you will definitely hear from them. Or they feel a strong need to change it themselves when they have the knowledge and skills to do so.

For example, this newly wedded couple went to Ireland for their honeymoon. They booked their 5-star honeymoon through a travel agency. From the moment they passed the doorstep of the hotel an awkward feeling crept up this man’s back, the perfectionist. When he saw a glimpse of the bathroom he almost jumped out of his skin. He was outraged. The shower was very basic plastic and it looked unclean. The toilet tank was constantly running. He was very disappointed. His mind flooded with thoughts of making a fuss with the hotel manager, fixing the bathroom flaws himself, pulling his hair  out of his head and filing a complaint at the travel agency. He didn’t put any of this in action, because of their newly wedded state. He didn’t want to make matters worse.

But meanwhile he had to calm himself down. If it was for him he would never ever book a trip like this anymore through a travel agency. He would rather book all the separate parts of the trip himself. He needed to control things. The need to control is certainly one of the characteristics of a perfectionist. In his mind he is, in most situations, the one who will do the job better. Because of this and because he want to see a certain outcome he feels the need to control others as well. As for receiving criticism, a perfectionist will take this very hard or won’t be bothered at all, because he himself is his worst critic.

Perfectionist usually don’t take time to relax. They use up all their time to perfect outcomes. Behind this behaviour there are different emotional needs hidden. There is this need to be acknowledged for who he is, for acceptance, for receiving compliments and enthusiasm for his input. He has a strong emotional need to be applauded, because up until this point his ego is his motor. If he doesn’t fuel up his ego he will collapse, because his soul is weakened and sad.

There is always this fight between the ego and the soul. What would fear do? Fear wants to flee or want to continually work on better performance. What would love do? Love would be happy with the path and the outcome as long as you had fun doing it. Don’t we all want to feel self-confident in a natural way? Perfectionists are insecure, cause who they are and what they do are not enough.

In order to heal from perfectionism I am strongly convinced these people need many encounters with love, unconditional love. If you are a perfectionist and you are reading this, ask yourself this question ‘What do I get when perfectionism meets self-love?’ Below I present to you the answers.

  • Transformation of the critical voice into a loving voice
  • Be a fun person around others when things don’t go as planned or when other people mess up
  • Imperfection: being ok with failing
  • Less thinking, more trusting on gut-feeling
  • Less energy in research, more into creating
  • Being able to receive compliments and give compliments
  • Being satisfied with whatever you accomplish
  • Being able to ask for help & delegate

I have seen these outcomes while coaching highly sensitive men who regard themselves as perfectionists. It’s pretty confronting, but if you had enough of your critical mind and you are curious and motivated to work towards building a natural self-confidence, it will be worth your time and effort.

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