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How to Overcome INFJ Perfectionism

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

INFJs are prone to perfectionism. We are always looking at problems and situations to find the best solution. We see all sides of things and enjoy the challenge of making things better. It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking things have to be perfect before we do them or show them to the world. But it’s a dangerous trap to fall into.

Why is perfectionism bad?

Perfectionism is bad for a couple reasons. It distorts our thinking at a basic level by convincing us that it’s all or nothing in every situation. Eventually we start to believe that there is no balance or middle ground. It also prevents us from realizing there is even a problem. We mistake perfectionisms for its more healthy sister “High Standards.” The difference, though small, makes all the difference in the world.

Perfectionism vs high expectations

What does perfectionism look like?

  1. Fear of failure or rejection – doing things wholly to fit in or so that you don’t stand out, fear of being pointed out or mocked

  2. Low self-esteem – seeking validation from others that you haven’t found in yourself yet

  3. High determination – focused on the results only without enjoying the journey

  4. Being too rigid – a black and white perspective, shutting down other possibilities than what you want

  5. Become upset when criticized – losing confidence and questioning yourself

What do high expectations look like?

  1. Strive to do your best at all times – understand that mistakes happen, don’t let them discourage you.

  2. Healthy self-esteem – knowing you are enough no matter what other people think

  3. Resilient – not becoming discouraged by mistakes, keeps fighting to make things happen

  4. Able to be flexible – readjust expectations as necessary

  5. Comfortable with constructive criticism – appreciates the opportunity for feedback and growth

What does perfectionism keep you from doing?

Perfectionism can hold up back from doing many things. We focus on whether or not we can accomplish things perfectly and if we think the answer is no, we end up avoiding them completely. Here are a few examples:

  1. Starting something new

  2. Hobbies (art, writing)

  3. Finding the right career

  4. Being straightforward in communication

  5. Finding a connection with other people

  6. Teaching others

  7. Finding joy

  8. Living in the moment

Why are we perfectionists?

As an INFJ I always want to know the why. Why am I like this? What made me this way? I feel like that’s the first step to figuring out how to correct the problem.

Fear of failure

INFJs have this belief that we have a higher purpose for being here. We have a special gift to share with the world. We don’t want to fall short of that mark.

We are also people-pleasers who want to make those we look up to proud of us. We can’t stand the thought of letting people down in any way.

Seeing all the sides to everything

INFJs use both the logical and emotional sides to our brains, so we can see all of the sides of an argument. We want to find the perfect solution for everyone involved. We are also always wondering “what if,” wanting to explore new possibilities and experience new things.

We are our own worst critics

We are notoriously hard on other people, but it’s even worse for ourselves. Because we can see the possibilities and have the imagination to dream big dreams, we can fall into the trap of thinking that we are not enough. We can always see something more to do, to accomplish, to strive for. We are also very future-oriented, looking at what could be rather than what was.

Influence from society

Every personality type is affected by marketing. We are all exposed to what society tells us that we “should” be. INFJs are affected by it more though because we take things so personally.

How to overcome perfectionism

Overcoming perfectionism is not something that comes easy. It is not a snap your fingers and you are all better. Bringing balance into your life can be the work of a lifetime. It’s something that you have to do every day in order to get better at it. It’s like a muscle, the more you use it, the more you exercise, the stronger it gets. But if you neglect it all of your hard work disappears.

Here are a few things you can do to bring some balance into your life.

Manage expectations

Reevaluate your expectations regularly and keep them in check. Look at the reasons why you have those expectations for those particular things. Give yourself a break from time to time and the freedom to have an “off” day. You don’t have to be perfect all the time.

Remind yourself every day that you are enough just the way you are. You were made this way for a reason and your being unique is a reason to celebrate. Take some time to reflect on your accomplishments and feel good about the hard work that you have accomplished so far.

Become at peace with yourself

Don’t let the thoughts and opinions of others dictate what you do. You can’t live in constant fear of judgment or comparison. You must learn to love yourself for who you are just the way that you are. Your personality is unique and special. You are different on purpose. You are perfect as an introvert. You don’t need to be anything other than that.

Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at people on TV or in magazines and thinking how much better they look or how much better their lives might be. But they are not you. No one in the world compares to you. No one has your smile or your eyes or your facial expressions. The only thing you should compare yourself to is your previous self.

Reframe failure

When you make mistakes don’t beat yourself up too much. Instead, reframe them as learning and growing opportunities. Don’t focus on how you messed up. Focus on the change that you can make the next time.


Perfectionism is a sneaky thing that masquerades sometimes as high expectations, but they are very different. There is nothing wrong with having high standards. But when they get out of control is where you run into a problem. With a lot of self-awareness and a lot of work, you can overcome this sneaky problem. I’m sure of it.

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