Personal Battles Part 3 – The Perfectionism Problem
Perfectionism can cause issues for many people. Here we explore symptoms and how to deal with and overcome these feelings.
The final blog in our Personal Battles series explores self-worth, what it means and why appreciating your own self-worth is important in life and in the workplace.
Self-worth is the internal sense of being good enough and worthy of being valued and respected by others. Those who feel they are unworthy and have low self-esteem - perhaps caused by earlier life experiences- have a tendency to think that their contribution at work is never good enough and that people judge them based only on what they do rather than who they are.
People suffering with a lack of self-worth generally have:
· Low confidence. Individuals who consider themselves unworthy often feel that they are not producing enough work or attending enough meetings as these are tangible measures of performance compared to realising that they may be valued for being helpful, friendly, organised or other softer skills. This issue is exacerbated more recently with the rise of hybrid and remote working as relationship building through face-to-face communication has been reduced and is often replaced with visibility online and KPI’s.
Other notable symptoms include:
· Assuming that everyone else is working harder and/or doing a better job than you;
· Working much longer hours than necessary to try to prove yourself;
· Performing tasks for others rather than working collaboratively with them and;
· Becoming irritated with yourself if you are not feeling productive enough or waiting for responses from others which are delaying you from completing tasks.
As with the many other personal battles, it is vital to be self-aware. Reminding yourself that you are not just measured by the work you produce but also by who you are as a person and how you affect others, can be a good start to realising your self-worth. Try to look for a balance between ‘doing’ and ‘being’ and acknowledge that there is value in both.
Another aspect of building your confidence and realigning your view of yourself can be to redefine how you view failure. If a task fails, it does not mean that you personally are a failure. Equally, failure should bethought of as a learning opportunity not as a defeat and, while it can cause a delay or detour to your plans, it doesn’t necessarily have to cause a permanent end to a goal. It is also important to remember that failure is not always avoidable and doesn’t only happen to unworthy people, so should not be thought of as a personal issue with your abilities or character.
Equally, it is important to recognise the difference between needing to ask for help in a specific aspect of a task where you may lack a particular skill, compared to being unable to complete the task at all because you feel you have been asked to do something beyond your abilities. This feeling generally stems from imposter syndrome, where an individual lacks the confidence and self-belief that they are worthy and capable of the task in question, and therefore could hinder themselves by not seeking the small amount of help they need, creating a self-sabotaging situation. It can be the case that those lacking a sense of self-worth may imagine that other individuals have no knowledge gaps and therefore, even asking for the smallest amount of help would equal shame or failure.
Finally, it can be helpful to listen to positive feedback from others to help with feelings of validation but also where this is not always available or forthcoming, self-validate by reviewing your experience and beliefs and see how they have converted into actions and successes.
You may find that behaviours displayed by those who do not recognise their own value are linked to other similar issues around imposter syndrome, self-sabotage, perfectionism or risk aversion and you may find some useful information about techniques to overcome such behaviours in our other blogs on these topics.
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