Noticing the negatives

Besides all or nothing thinking, people with perfectionism also have a “notice the negative” thinking style. They tend to regularly examine their performance harshly, ignore any successes, focus only on the negatives and be very harsh on themselves. To overcome this unhelpful thinking style, one can become aware of areas where one examines performance, and broaden one’s attention.

This “notice the negative” thinking style tends to occur in areas important to people.  Some common areas of perfectionism are shown below. Tick the areas that you notice the negative and include your examples.

Tick Area Example of noticing the negatives My Example
Looks I look like a mess because I have a small hole in my tights
Room Cleanliness My room is not clean because there are a few streaks on the windows
Studies I did poorly in the oral presentation because I mispronounced one or two words
Eating / Shape / Weight Even though I am a size 8, my body shape is too big overall because my thighs are too large
Sports Even though I was second in the race, my performance was poor as I did not start as quickly as I should have
Friendships I do not have a good relationship with my friends because we argue sometimes
Social Situations I made a fool of myself because I stumbled over my words at one point when talking to Brenda
Hygiene I will spread germs to people because I have a small cut on my hand



This thinking style continues because focusing on the negatives maintains an anxiety about how well you do in that area.