Low Self-esteem and Extreme Perfectionism walk into a bar…

…and all hell breaks loose.

esteem 1

I’ll tell you how this started:

I h8 my (bleeping) boss!!!!! (and what I assume was an angry emoticon, because my phone doesn’t translate Blackberry emoticons very well).

This was the text I got as I sat waiting for a friend for Thursday night happy hour. Apparently, her new boss is a bleepity bleep. Doesn’t really lift a finger to help get work done, but freely criticizes others for not working hard enough. Other words my friend used to describe her were arrogant, self-righteous, grandiose, rude, and hostile. Please note: I did clean and gussy up the language a little bit because this is a family-friendly blog.

There were really two main problems my friend had with her boss: The arrogant confidence and the excessively high expectations. Here’s what’s interesting: Confidence, or self-esteem if you will, is never synonymous with perfectionism. In fact, people with poor self-esteem are more likely to set excessively high expectations for others than those with strong self-esteem. Surprising, isn’t it? Here’s what the data from our Perfectionism Test reveals:

  • Average perfectionism score for people with low self-esteem: 64 (on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 indicating extreme perfectionism)
  • Average perfectionism score for people with high self-esteem: 48
  • Feel very disappointed when their family does not live up to expectations: 41% of people with low self-esteem, 26% for people with high self-esteem.
  • When they assign a task to others, they want it to be done flawlessly and without errors: 55% for people with low SE, 46% for people with high SE.
  • If a group project is unsuccessful, believe that it’s usually the fault of other team members: 47% of people with low SE, 42% of people with high SE.
  • Believe that they have to point out their partner’s mistakes because it’s the only way that he/she will learn: 35% of people with low SE, 30% of people with high SE.
  • Believe that it’s essential to be tough on a child when he/she fails in order to encourage success: 26% of people with low SE, 18% of people with high SE.
  • Get frustrated when they find a mistake in someone else’s work: 39% of people with low SE, 29% of people with high SE.
  • Expect chores to be done their way: 55% of people with low SE, 44% of people with high SE.
  • Consistently disappointed with their colleagues’ work ethic: 39% of people with low SE, 30% of people with high SE.
  • Get impatient when family members “mess up”: 50% of people with low SE, 34% of people with high SE.
  • Expect their partner to live up to all their expectations: 47% of people with low SE, 36% of people with high SE.

 

Perhaps people with low self-esteem lack the assertiveness needed to tell others, “Hey, I think you need to shape up,” and that may very well be the case for at least some. Arrogance, however, almost always hides a very fragile sense of self. And add this under the “sad but true” category: A lot of people will tear down others in order to make themselves feel good. Here’s my philosophy: Rather than expend your energy verbally beating yourself up (or in this case, other people), use it to rebuild the foundation of your self-worth. In essence, build yourself up rather than tear others down.

Insightfully yours,

Queen D

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One thought on “Low Self-esteem and Extreme Perfectionism walk into a bar…

  1. Pingback: The Self-Esteem Age Gap: Young women still struggling with self-worth | Queendom Blog

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