Understanding Atelophobia, the Fear of Imperfection

Atelophobia: Fear of imperfection

The fear of imperfection is one of the most common fears among humans. Some people are afraid even when they don’t have any reason to be scared. The fear of imperfection is a very strong psychological feeling which makes us feel uncomfortable in our own skin.

At least it does if you’re not a masochist or someone with some sort of phobias (like spiders).

What exactly is the fear of imperfection?

It’s the fear of having something missing from your appearance. You might have heard it described as “looking like a fraud”. If you’ve ever been around someone who suffers from atypical perfectionism, then you’ll know what I mean. They will often say things such as “I’m so glad my hair isn’t completely straight!” or “My nails aren’t perfectly square!”. These types of statements are usually accompanied by a little frowning face. That frowning face is probably because the person feels insecure about their appearance.

Why do we feel this way?

Well, there are several reasons why we might feel insecure about our appearances. One of them is due to social pressure. Another reason could be because we perceive ourselves as being less attractive than others do. However, there’s another reason which is biological and it involves hormones and brain chemistry!

Sometimes when people are really insecure they feel so bad that they become paralyzed and unable to do anything about it. That’s when you have to force yourself to get over it and remind yourself that no one is perfect, and that there are always people who look worse than you do. It’s either that, or finally snap and go on a killing spree because everyone keeps making fun of your looks!

But how do you get over the fear of imperfection?

There are several ways to get over this fear and they involve learning to become more confident. Most people think “confidence” means you think you’re perfect. This is the furthest thing from the truth. True confidence means accepting your imperfections. You’ll be better able to do this if you’re aware of your insecurities, which are probably at least a few. The ones I’ve already mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg. For example, some people can’t help but blush when they speak in front of a large group of people. This is obviously perfectly natural for shy or introverted people. Other insecurities can be learned. For example, some people become embarrassed when they have to do certain things in public such as singing or dancing, even though others might not even be able to tell that they’re nervous about it.

Whatever your insecurities are, try to become aware of them. Then, force yourself to become more comfortable with them. To do this, you need to realize that everyone has some sort of insecurities.

Some people have many more than you do, while others might have only a few. No matter how many you have, it’s important to remember that no one is “perfect”. Remind yourself of this whenever you start having thoughts about your insecurities.

When I say everyone has insecurities, I’m not just making a platitude to make you feel better. Some people might seem to have no insecurities at all, but this isn’t true. Everyone has some insecurities, they’re just very good at disguising them so that they don’t show.

This is what “confidence” really means and why it’s so important.

But why would someone have insecurities if they can disguise them so well that no one can tell?

There are a few reasons.

One reason is that it still eats away at them on the inside. Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. If someone has a great talent for acting, then you really have no way of knowing whether or not they’re insecure about whatever it is they’re acting.

Most likely, they are.

Another reason is that people become tired of “wearing a mask” all the time. It can be tiring to always keep up a brave front and never let your insecurities show, even if you’re good at it. Some people are more prone to showing their insecurities than others.

Often, people will lash out at others when they’re feeling insecure. They might pick fights or get angry at people for minor things. The irony is that this makes other people less likely to approach them about their own insecurities since they don’t want to be the target of someone else’s anger.

With this, it almost seems like people would be better off just letting their insecurities run wild and lashing out at others all the time. This isn’t the case for many reasons, but the biggest one is that it’s likely to cause major problems in their lives. If you have a lot of anger pent up inside, you’re much more likely to act on it without stopping to think about the consequences.

This can easily get you into fights or get you fired if you have a job.

In fact, you may already be doing this to some degree.

Do you ever get angry at people for minor things? Do you ever find yourself getting angry at the same people for no reason, even if they’re generally nice to you? Do you ever get angry or annoyed at things that aren’t really “issues” worth getting upset about?

Chances are, you have pent up frustration from your insecurities that you need to release in some way. You probably show other insecurities as well, even if you don’t realize it.

How can you show these insecurities to others so that they can help you?

The best way is to talk to someone about it. Even if you think they might not understand or will judge you, it’s important to get these issues out in the open. If you truly feel that no one will listen to you, perhaps this isn’t the article for you.

But if you do have someone in your life that you feel would listen to you, then all you need to do is talk to them. Tell them what’s going on and let them help you. Maybe it’s a friend or a family member.

Maybe it’s a counselor at school or someone you contact with online. Whoever it is, you need to trust them enough to reveal your insecurities and then listen to what they have to say in order to get help.

It may be scary to do this, but it’s important. If you don’t, these insecurities will only get worse and make it harder for you to function. It may even prevent you from accomplishing your goals or lead you to potentially dangerous situations.

Remember, everyone has insecurities of some sort. The important thing isn’t that you have them, but rather that you deal with them in a productive manner. If you let these insecurities lead to destructive behavior, then you’ll never move forward in a positive manner.

But if you can conquer your insecurities, then there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

Remember, whatever you may be afraid of now, chances are most people are afraid of it as well. You probably aren’t the only one who feels this way, so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed that you have these feelings. The important thing is to not let these insecurities control you.

If you do, it will hinder your ability to succeed in life. But if you can master your fears, then there’s virtually nothing you can’t accomplish.

Stop Judging Yourself & Others

There is a big difference between being critical and being judgmental. Being critical is good as it helps us make improvements in our lives and the things we do. Being judgmental is never good as it causes us to see others in a negative light and prevents us from seeing their positive qualities.

When it comes to insecurities, being judgmental of yourself and others is one of your biggest problems. You’re probably very hard on yourself when it comes to your thoughts, feelings and actions. You may also find yourself being judgmental of others as well.

Instead of accepting them for who they are and respecting their differences, you criticize them for it. While part of this may be due to your insecurities, it isn’t a good way to live.

The more you judge others and yourself, the worse your insecurities will get.


Because part of the reason you’re insecure is due to the negative thoughts that you think about yourself or others. This only makes it worse because the more you think these things, the more believable they become.

So if you’re going to be thinking negative thoughts about yourself or others, it’s going to be even more important to counteract those thoughts with positive ones. Don’t let your insecurities control you, use them as motivation to be the best person you can be and then refocus your energy into positive things.

The next time you find yourself being judgmental of yourself or others, stop and think about why you’re doing it.

Are your thoughts helping you in any way? Are they helping you solve a problem or are they only making it worse?

If you find that your judgmental nature is preventing you from being successful, then you’re going to need to make a change. You can start by trying to become more accepting of others and better yet, try to become more accepting of yourself.

Trust in Yourself

This may be the toughest one of all because if you’re insecure, chances are you don’t have a lot of trust in yourself. Building up this level of trust is going to take time and a lot of hard work. But if you can do it, not only will your insecurities begin to disappear, but you’ll find that your self-esteem increases as well.

The first step is to start small and focus on one thing at a time. Rather than tackling the big picture, think about specific situations where having more trust in yourself would really help you out. An example would be public speaking.

Next, think about all the things you do well and the traits you have that are worthy of praise. There is absolutely no need to be humble here. But rather than thinking of these things in a general sense, think about them as if you’re talking to a close friend or loved one.

Try to really connect with the words and imagine that this person cares deeply for you and is only saying positive things about you because they really care.

Now comes the hard part, believing it. It’s one thing to know that you have positive traits and qualities about yourself, it’s another thing to believe it deep down to your core. If you try this exercise and you find that you’re having a hard time really buying into what this other person is telling you, then that’s ok.

That just means you still have some more work to do.

Try this exercise again, and again, and again until you start to actually believe what this other person is telling you about yourself. When that happens, it’s time to move on to the next thing that you want to work on and start the process over again. Eventually all of these small successes will add up and your insecurities will start to fade away.

This is a long and tiring process, but it’s well worth it. Not only will your stress levels decrease, but you’ll also become a much happier person.

We’ve all been there in some point in our lives. Insecurity can rear its ugly head at any time, but if you keep these suggestions in mind, it’ll help you to better combat those negative thoughts and feelings. And remember, don’t feel like you have to rush through any of this.

Take as much time as you need to work on yourself and if you ever feel like giving up, don’t forget that you’re stronger than you think and you can get through this.

Remember that the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself.

Good luck!

This article was written by: Terry Daniels

Sources & references used in this article:

Portraying Assessment: The Fear of Never Being Good Enough by P Day – plymouth.ac.uk

What’s in a letter? Shakespeare’s 23RD sonnet revisited by IE Klyukanov – Analecta Malacitana, 1996 – search.proquest.com

An excess of phobias and manias by S Juan – 2006 – Andrews McMeel Publishing

Are organizations bicycles? On hosophobia and neo‐gnosticism in organizational thought by JG Robertson – 2003 – books.google.com