wavy pattern

how to spot if you’re a perfectionist

in short: you probably are

- Posted byHannah Miller

In many ways, I’m not your classic perfectionist (you’ll be able to tell this from the errors I make on my blogs). 

But I am putting the case forward today that perhaps many of us suffer from perfectionism in a whole variety of guises.

Which of these sounds like you? OK, they’re caricatures, but do play along. 

(You might have a combo to be fair – I do). 

“The Rule of Straight”

“Sky High Expectations”

“You’re Measuring Me”

“Closeted Perfectionist”


Most of us will spot some tendencies somewhere on this list (really well done if you don’t!). 

Now that we know this is an issue, what on earth can we do about it?

I know you’re busy and you’ve probably read enough for today. 

So I’m going to tell you more next week.

But for now, I’ll just tell you what I learned about concepts of perfection in two different cultures. 

The Greek ideal (the one I would argue we tend to lean towards) is based on the word amemptos. This word basically means to be blameless. Without fault, without deficiency, without flaw. In this ideal, we constantly fall short – never measuring up to a ‘flag held high, beckoning us beyond the limits of our present tiredness.’ (Ronald Rolheiser). Relate? I hold myself to standards I will never reach. I can, at times, look to be accepted by grasping for an unreachable benchmark that just leaves me feelings lacking. No thank you.

There is also a Hebrew way of looking at the idea of perfection. This is rooted in the word teleios. Think telescope. Think of the idea of full-stretch, maturity, growth. This concept of perfection leans more into growth, perfection through growth, integrity, virtue. The Hebrews saw perfection not by being perfect, but by leaning into perfection. This is something I can live with. A journey and a choice rather than a ruler and tick list. 

Next week, we will look at some more strategies for perfectionism, but for this week, keep in mind that the amemptos way will always leave you falling short, whereas the teleios route gives you both a focus and reason.

Why not spend a bit of time this week spotting the signs of perfectionist, anti-failure, self- limiting, self-deprecating behaviour, and whether you tend to be amemptos or teleois in your approach. 

Next week we will look at what to do about it 😉
The good news is we can get better at being a perfectionist.
Is this an oxymoron?


Hannah x



P.S. Don’t overdo the Christmas preparations – no one likes a festive stress-head. You can find my tips on this here.

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