The majority of us will hold ourselves to an impossible standard that is difficult to uphold, where we continue to aim for perfection.
Perhaps us having to have things perfect, is our way of saying we’re not good enough, or we’re not perfect. Those thoughts, together with any negative experiences, will sew a seed in our minds that we’re less than perfect, therefore we need to reach or have perfection.
But I don’t think it’s just that. I believe that having OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) contributes towards perfectionism and things having to be perfect. Perfectionism has been strongly linked to OCD where we have a strong desire for things to be done a certain way, or just right.
For example, it is not uncommon to think that unless our compulsion is carried out perfectly, a feared outcome will change the status quo, such as a death of a loved one. Another example, when we begin to question ourselves over things we’ve done, like lock the front door, or turn the cooker off, but we have to go back and check.
Perfectionism is particularly strong where there is a need for things to be done ‘just right’ for them to be considered right and if they’re not done in a certain way, or with certainty. Sadly, perfectionism tends to be high when it involves us having to double-check things.
We may also talk ourselves into feared outcomes if the compulsion isn’t carried out as it should. We may worry that we might have left the door unlocked and that could mean unwanted attention. Checking and re-checking things, sadly reinforces the idea that we’re not perfect, or that we’re losing our mind.
Unhealthy OCD perfectionism may also perpetuate obsessions that we need control over and the cycle continues.