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Are you a perfectionist?

Many people who contact LawCare for support show signs of perfectionism. Whilst culturally perfectionism is often seen as a positive trait, especially in the legal sector, research shows that perfectionistic tendencies can lead to depression, anxiety and stress.

Man sat in front of a computer screen with his hand to his head looked worried.
There are two types of perfectionists – adaptive and maladaptive.

Adaptive or ‘healthy’ perfectionists have high standards, are disciplined and very motivated to do well.

Maladaptive perfectionists on the other hand will have unrealistic standards which are often impossible to achieve, they will feel that their best is never good enough, and will constantly think about, and berate themselves for a mistake they have made, however trivial.

Have a look at these statements. If you agree with most of them you may be a perfectionist.

  • I am far more critical of myself than others
  • I have lots of negative thoughts about myself
  • I find it hard to overlook small mistakes in my work
  • I often procrastinate
  • The thought of failing scares me
  • I have low self-esteem
  • I find it difficult to accept criticism
  • I find it hard to bounce back when I don’t achieve a goal
  • I often set unrealistic standards for myself
  • I am only focused on the end result

Whilst culturally perfectionism is often seen as a positive trait, especially in the legal sector, research shows that perfectionistic tendencies can lead to depression, anxiety and stress. 

 

Depression Hero Image (Man)

Here are some tips to help you combat perfectionist traits

Silence negative chatter

If your internal voice starts to be negative and critical, interrupt those thoughts. Speak to yourself as if talking to a friend – what would you say if they spoke to themselves this way? Every time a negative thought pops up into your head try to replace it with a positive.

Keep a record of your achievements

Write a list of recent achievements and keep a folder of praise or nice comments you have received at work – it can help when you receive criticism to remind yourself of things that have gone well.

Stick to the list

Breaking down a work project into items on a checklist and making sure you stick to the list can help stop you spending too much time and effort on something. For example, rather than checking something ten times you might list ‘check document’ - once you’ve ticked the item on the list you have to move on.

Ask for help

Sometimes it can be good to get a reality check from someone else. Ask a trusted colleague to read over or check your work, or run your ideas past them to check you are on the right track. This can give you the confidence to move forward.

If you want to talk to someone about how you are feeling please get in touch with LawCare on 0800 279 6888 or email [email protected]. We also have a live webchat whenever you see the red 'Chat Online' button.

We're are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and we are here for everyone in the legal sector (you don't need to be a lawyer to talk to us). 

We're here to listen...without judgement

Contact our free, confidential, emotional support service for the legal sector
0800 279 6888
Email our support team [email protected]

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