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Atelophobia: 3 Signs You Are Dealing With This Common Fear & What You Can Do About It

Atelophobia is way more common than you imagine.

Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on October 18, 2023

Woman Experiencing Atelophobia

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Pretty Woman With Atelophobia Walking Down The Street Eyes Closed

Imperfections make you feel shaky?

You might have atelophobia.

But what exactly is it?

And how can you help yourself?

Let’s find out.


What Is Atelophobia?


Atelophobia is characterized by an intense fear of imperfection.

If you identify with this, you might find that you hold yourself to extremely high standards, valuing positive feedback and compliments as affirmations of your worth.

It’s not uncommon for individuals with atelophobia to feel deeply affected by criticism or not securing a top position in competitions or tasks.

It’s worth noting that everyone appreciates positive reinforcement, and many strive to be the best in their respective fields.

However, if you’re experiencing a persistent fear of making mistakes or encountering failure that influences your everyday choices, it might be a sign of atelophobia.

The journey of navigating through this can lead to a preference for avoiding certain tasks or activities, as the prospect of making a mistake can feel overwhelming.

It’s okay to feel this way, and there is support available to help you navigate through these intense emotions.

Reading this article is a positive step towards understanding your experiences.

If you resonate with the descriptions of atelophobia, consider reaching out to a professional who can provide a comprehensive diagnosis and work with you to develop a tailored approach to treatment.

There is a path to finding balance and ease in the face of imperfection, and you don’t have to walk it alone.


3 Common Signs You Have Atelophobia


1. You Avoid Possible Mistakes


If you have atelophobia, you probably try to avoid even the possibility of making a mistake.

You may be trying to achieve the illusion of perfection by eliminating all criticism and critique in your life.

You may even think that the chance of success isn’t worth the risk of maybe failing.

You may have developed avoidance behavior patterns without even realizing it.

Unfortunately, continuing to use avoidance behaviors only reinforces your fears.

These personal avoidance behaviors need to be identified by a professional and addressed so that they can be replaced with positive habits.

Woman With Atelophobia Sitting By The Sea


2. You Obsess Over Mistakes You Already Made


Even if you do everything in your power to avoid mistakes, you will occasionally make some.

How you react to your mistakes can be a good indicator of whether you have atelophobia.

If you can’t let the mistake go, if you constantly replay the mistake in your head if you still remember your small mistakes vividly even years later, you probably have atelophobia.

You let one mistake keep you from ever doing anything related to the situation in which the mistake happened.

You let your mistakes literally determine your future.


3. There Is Constant Self Judgement In Your Head


If you have atelophobia, you are hyper-critical of yourself.

You expect 150% more of yourself than you would even consider expecting of anyone else.

While criticism from others is painful, when you have atelophobia, your own inner voice is even more painful, and since this voice is part of you, it never leaves you.

You are your own worst critic.

You belittle yourself over mistakes that are just part of the normal learning process.

Pretty Woman With Atelophobia Looking Insecure


The Physical Symptoms Of Atelophobia


With atelophobia, your fear of making a mistake is so great that it leads to physical symptoms.

Some symptoms that you might experience because of atelophobia are:

  • Panic;
  • Anxiety;
  • Nausea;
  • Dizziness;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Fast heartbeat;
  • Headache;
  • Excessive sweating.

These atelophobia symptoms will be strongest when you think you’ll make a mistake or obsess over past mistakes.

Some of these symptoms, like anxiety, may become constant.

Experiencing these physical symptoms shows that your fear of being imperfect has developed into a phobia that needs to be addressed.


How To Overcome Atelophobia


1. Work with A Professional


If you show signs of having atelophobia, it is important that you see a mental health professional.

Doing so will allow them to make sure that this is the correct diagnosis and set up a team of professionals who can help you.

You may work with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed therapist.

You might use psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and possibly medication on your healing journey. Be brave and love yourself enough to work through this fear so that you can live your life more freely.


2. To Control Atelophobia, Work on Choosing More Positive Thoughts


In addition to working with professionals, you can do a few things to help yourself at home.

Since fears develop and live in your mind, your thoughts are a great place to start making a change.

Strive to replace your negative and harmful thoughts with positive ones.

If you make a mistake, tell yourself, “Mistakes are a normal part of life and learning.

I am worth more than my mistakes.

I can try again.” Make statements like these your mantra.

Say them at the start of each day or print them out and hang them where you will see them often.

You can also take up the practice of responding to your negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones.

Each time that you criticize yourself, give yourself a compliment.

Tell yourself about how hard you work regardless of the results.

Remind yourself of your talents.

Tell yourself that you are kind.

The compliments that you give yourself may have to start small if you are new to speaking kindly to yourself, but that’s okay.

As you practice self-affirmation, you will get better at it.

It will get easier.

Keep going.

Pretty Woman With Atelophobia Sitting On The Bed Smiling


3. Practice Mindfulness


You can use meditation to help calm yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or scared.

This applies to phobias like atelophobia as well.

A great meditation style to try is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware without reacting to or judging your surroundings or yourself.

When you are mindful of yourself, the tasks you do each day, and the world around you, it can bring a great sense of meaning and fulfillment from each of these things.

To start practicing mindfulness, set a timer for 10 or even just 5 minutes.

You can increase the time as you get better at this meditation.

Sit down in a place that isn’t too distracting – somewhere clean, quiet, and well-lit.

You might even try meditating outside.

Sit comfortably and start to notice your body.

Pay attention to any sensations in your legs and then your arms.

Then feel your breath and think only about how it enters and then leaves your lungs.

Stay focused on just your breath.

Woman With Atelophobia Doing Mindfulness Meditation


At some point, your focus will wander.

This is natural.

Without criticizing yourself, return your thoughts and focus on your breath when you notice that it has wandered.

Do this without judgment as often as needed until your timer goes off.

When it does, take a few moments to focus on any other sounds in your environment and acknowledge them.

Now that you are aware of yourself and your surroundings, you are prepared to take a moment to choose how you will continue with your day.

You may find it helpful to have mindfulness meditation sessions in the morning and again in the evening, but if that doesn’t work for you, find time for a session as often as possible.

If you find it hard to focus independently, you can find guided meditations online that will talk you through the whole session, including gentle reminders to refocus on your breathing.

You can also practice mini-sessions whenever you get overwhelmed.

To do this, take a pause and notice 5 things about yourself or your surroundings while you take a few deep breaths.

Taking a moment to be aware will help you be present and make conscious choices instead of reactions.


Atelophobia Can Be Minimized – But You Have To Give It Time


The most important thing you can do for atelophobia is to give yourself time.

It will take time to change your thoughts and behaviors.

It will take time to get good at the coping techniques and meditations that you learn as part of your healing journey.

Allow yourself this time, and even though it is hard, be willing to keep trying even if you don’t do it perfectly the first time.

Keep repeating your mantras, keep complimenting yourself, keep meditating, keep seeing, and working with your mental health team.

Be brave.

Love yourself.

You are worth it!

If you like these atelophobia tips, scroll down for more.

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