All too often, we hear “I’m such a perfectionist.” It’s even the go-to “what’s your weakness” answer in job interviews – and it’s practically a boast. But in reality, a true Perfectionist, the shadow archetype of the Creative, is a rather troubled, anguished soul.

The Quest for the Unattainable 

Perfectionism is the drive and desire for an idealized version of art, beauty or even another person. These unrealistic expectations can be a device of control by a person who frequently finds themselves subject to bouts of imagination, chaos and eccentricism. 

The Reaction is Never Good Enough

Creatives harboring perfectionism are extremely unhappy when their big unveiling is a considered a flop, simply because they feel as though the reaction needs to be over the top, unforgettable and outrageous. Their insatiable drive for perfection is met with inconsolable feelings when the end results of work or love are disappointing.

Low Self-Esteem, Low Self-Love

The Perfectionist is actually self-centered, but in a negative way. This shadow archetype is representative of the lack of self-love, almost obsessively so. The Perfectionist will try to hide or cover up their failures and mistakes – thinking of them as weaknesses, resulting in shame and ultimately, distress. They do not want the world to see them falter.

Commitment-phobic in a Vicious Cycle

Creatives can be so passionate about the beauty of their work that they surpass inspirational and veer right off into the unreachable, continuing along a path of perfection and finding themselves never achieving it. Because they can never live up to their standards, they also rarely fully commit to any one thing, feeling dissatisfied and scattered along their journey, rarely finishing projects for fear of it not being good enough. The cycle will continue as they settle into these feelings of inadequacy. 

Your New Mantra

“Strive for excellence, not perfection.” Aiming for the best you can do is a positive motivator. Remember that when you strive for perfection, you demoralize yourself, your work, your life, and set yourself up for failure.  Work on your self-esteem and, as cliché as it sounds, realize – nobody is perfect!