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Perfectionism: Adjusting Your Standards

Standard shifting is adjusting your standards as circumstances change.

Your standards are what you use to judge whether something is good enough, clean enough, pretty enough, done well enough.

Perfectionists have very high, rigid standards, and they have trouble adjusting to the changing demands or circumstances of their life. When you are under stress it is very easy to lose perspective. Problems that are relatively minor can take on an apparent size that makes them seem difficult and intimidating. Naturally this feeds your feeling of stress, which makes your problems feel worse, which feeds your feeling of stress…. If you take a positive approach to life, trying to find a good side to every situation, then you will find that you are much less prone to stress. You will worry less, sleep better and enjoy life more. You will probably also find that you do better as people enjoy working with you more.

An important part of this is learning to view mistakes as learning experiences – if you have learned something from a mistake, then it has a positive value.

When you face what seems to be a huge and overwhelming problem, ask yourself the following questions:

•​Is this really a problem at all?
If you view it in a different way, is it actually an opportunity to do something well? If it really is a difficult problem, then most other people will probably fail at it or give up. If you can deal with the situation, then this will be a major triumph for you. If you take the problem on, then what will you learn from it, whatever the outcome?

•​Is this a problem anyone else has or has had?
If it is, find out how they deal with it or just talk to them to share the problem – they may be glad to talk. If you are facing a problem at work, talk to older or more experienced colleagues whom you trust. They will probably have seen the problem before, and may be able to help to put it in perspective.

•​Does it really matter anyway?
If everything goes wrong, will it really matter anyway? If it does, will it matter in six months or a year? Bear in mind that you will probably have plenty of opportunities to correct any failure, or to shine in other ways if things go wrong. As long as you have done your best, and learn from any mistakes you make, then you cannot do any better.

Perfectionism: Adjusting Your Standards

Aaron Karmin

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APA Reference
Karmin, A. (2017). Perfectionism: Adjusting Your Standards. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 21, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/anger/2017/04/perfectionism-adjusting-your-standards/


Last updated: 10 Apr 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Apr 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.