Normal perfectionists can strive for excellence without harm to their self-esteem. Neurotic perfectionists, or shouldaholics, will set unreasonably high expectations and then beat themselves up when they don’t achieve them.
A shouldaholic overuses the word ‘should’ by:
setting high expectations (I “should” do this perfectly, easily, without help, etc.; At the same time, I “shouldalso” be a great mother, wife and manager)
measuring self-worth by accomplishment (I “should only” be proud, satisfied, etc. if I have done this by such and such an age, I am rich, I can afford to vacation every year)
labelling self harshly for unmet expectations (I “should have” been able to do that, and because I wasn’t able to, I must be dumb, lazy, incompetent, a loser, etc.)
having an all or nothing mentality (I “should always” “should never“…)
A shouldaholic prioritizes:
results over price
“perception of” over “authentic” self
judgment over relationship
control over reality
has a biased filter with which to interpret the world
creates stress through shame, blame, and guilt
finds it difficult to celebrate successes or accept praise
is susceptible to burnout
If this resonates with you, you may be a shouldaholic!
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Happy
A recovering shouldaholic assigns only ‘SUCCESS’ or ‘LEARNING OPPORTUNITY’ to each outcome.
A recovering shouldaholic prioritizes:
improvement over perfection
healthy boundaries over accomplishments
relationships over expectations
collaboration over winning
A recovering shouldaholic:
adjusts expectations based on resources available
does not define self-esteem based on outcomes
practices non-violent communication when dealing with unmet needs
develops values-based boundaries
Do you want to start your recovery journey from shouldaholicism?