Perfect Imperfections

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In our society, perfectionism is viewed as a wonderful characteristic. The high standards and work ethic can produce excellent work and events. This attention to detail can open the opportunities for individuals to reach their best potential. However, some perfectionists become tormented in their pursuit of an errorless life. These individuals become stuck in their thoughts of blame, what-if situations, self-worth, and negative emotion.

According to the authors of the Almost Perfect Scale, there are two different sides to perfection – Standards and Discrepancy. Individuals who score high on Standards scale have high expectations and goals for them selves. They are considered adaptive perfectionists. These people have less irritation when they are unable to meet their standards. Individuals who score high on Discrepancy are considered maladaptive perfectionists. This is the characteristic that defines when perfectionism is disabling. These individuals feel anxious, have difficulty coping with negative emotion, and avoid work due to their fear of error.

Here is a test to measure the level of Standards and Discrepancy in your self. Rate each statement on a 7-point scale where 1 equals strongly disagree and 7 equals strongly agree:

  1. I often feel frustrated because I can’t meet my goals.
  2. My best just never seems good enough for me.
  3. I rarely live up to my high standards.
  4. Doing my best never seems to be enough.
  5. I am never satisfied with my accomplishments.
  6. I often worry about not measuring up to my own expectations.
  7. My performance rarely measures up to my standards.
  8. I am not satisfied even when I know I have done my best.
  9. I am seldom able to meet my own high standards for performance.
  10. I am hardly ever satisfied with my performance.
  11. I hardly ever feel that what I’ve done is good enough.
  12. I often feel disappointment after completing a task because I know I could have done better.

The maximum possible score on this scale is 84. A total of 42 and over with having high standards (7 items) would be considered high on the Discrepancy Scale would put you in the maladaptive perfectionism range.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-215-2519 for more information.


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