Perfectionism Has Two Sides. Only One Of Them Is Good For You

The other? Destructive as hell.

Martina D.
2 min readSep 23, 2022


Precise lines. /Photo: author

In preparation for my (still only fictional) job interview (which I know will come, eventually!), I’m wondering if calling yourself a perfectionist is in fact a good idea. Even if I am one.

It has become a bit of a cliche answer. Besides, perfectionism can have a surprisingly destructive dark side. I have had both. And I don’t really know if I’d call it a strength or a weakness.

Let’s break it down:

Healthy, good-for-you perfectionism is adaptive. Blendable. It folds neatly into any given situation without disturbing the flow and structure, like whipped egg-whites into macaroon mixture.

Your standards stay high but they’re realistic. Your expectations and projections are yours and yours only. They’re also high, but within sight. You are persistent but keep down to earth. You take actions that feed directly into your goals. You accept mistakes as part of the learning curve.

You separate constructive feedback from empty noise and filter out any toxic or jealous comments without looking back.

Most importantly, you keep your boundaries solid and don’t let pressure or the seductive bling of early success blur them out. Also, you keep mindful of your need to rest.


And so incredibly hard to do.

Life has different ideas. Reality often pushes the perfectionist to places much darker. Places riddled with brain fog, exhaustion and smoke’n’mirrors.

It’s the worrying if you’re good enough. It’s the endless deconstructing of past mistakes and replaying horror scenarios in your head. It’s the fear of making a brand new mistake tomorrow.

Expectations don’t belong to you anymore. Suddenly, not even sure how, you’re allowing other people to set them. Maybe because these people have position, power, or influence over your project. The bar gets elevated. And now you’re dreading you won’t ever reach it.

You start comparing. Joe has better brain for numbers. Lynn runs two miles every day. Tara and Alisa started hanging out as friends. Which means Tara has an in. Which means you can’t say no to extra work anymore. Even when you’re dying.

From there, the previously solid ground becomes impossible to keep.

And still you feel like you must prove to everyone you’re worthy of being a perfectionist at heart.

Yeah, so maybe I’ll keep this one to myself.

Story 3 of 45

My 45-Day Writing Challenge



Martina D.

Building my small one-person business UP. Publishing & writing books for both print and audio. 📍London