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'My brain feels like it's been punched': the intolerable rise of perfectionism

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/17/my-brain-feels-like-its-been-punched-the-intolerable-rise-of-perfectionism

theguardian.com

'My brain feels like it's been punched': the intolerable rise of perfectionism
Tom Nicol thought he had a problem with sleep. He could never get enough. He took "a very disciplined, stripped approach" to his routine. He drank water only at premeditated times, ate according to schedule, avoided caffeine, exercised (but not close to bedtime) and shut down all screens at 9pm.

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Perfectionism

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a personality trait, which can be an endless pursuit of high standards in every area of our lives, but can also be a 'disorder' like condition or a phobia, akin to 'Fear of Failure'.

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Constant Mental Punishment

Constant Mental Punishment

The trait of perfectionism constantly makes a person judge, compare and criticize suboptimal decisions or mistakes in any aspect of the daily routine.

A person starts having mental difficulties, striving to do everything the perfect way, but falling short eventually.

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The Voice In The Head

The Voice In The Head

Perfectionism is a voice in our head, constantly fed by the media and society's ideals, coaxing us into doing things in the best way, to get the desired results. 

It is useful in its purpose but in extremities can have negative effects on the body and mind.

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Perfectionist Behavior

Perfectionist Behavior

Perfectionist behavior is a broad personality trait prevalent in today's generation. It is defined as a hypercritical relationship with one's self.

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Perfectly Curated Life

Perfectionism is a growing cultural phenomenon that has engulfed a large set of people including celebrities. Some of the causes are:

  • Modern parenting
  • Competitive economy
  • Consumerism and advertising
  • Social Media.

Perfectionism x1000

Social Media acts as the biggest culprit in amplifying perfectionism as youngsters can constantly compare their looks and their lives to others in easily measurable ways.

There is an increased expectation from our family and our peers to be perfect in all aspects of our lives.

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Not Celebrating Your Success

It's never good enough, so you get sucked so far into the details that you become frustrated.

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Pursuing Perfection, But Never Feeling Perfect

Even if you have a clear goal of what perfection means, obsessively pursuing it is a sign of insecurity.

And insecurity, when not addressed directly, doesn’t go away because a concrete objective has been achieved, it manifests itself into self-criticism or a new overvalued goal.

Not Allowing Yourself To Fail

Instead of forgiving and viewing mistakes as a learning opportunity, you criticize and put pressure on yourself for not predicting a less than perfect outcome. You feel inadequate, and these feelings preoccupy your mind, often to the point of losing productivity.

Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress

Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress

Try to identify things you avoided due to fear of failure and situations where your perfectionism wasn’t worth it or moments where you did well despite being uncertain.

You...

Get an outside perspective on your perfectionist tendencies

Talk honestly and openly to someone about your tendencies and how you’re working on getting better.

Ask them to tell you when you are being too fussy about something so you can think about it.

Interrupting the cycle of rumination

  • Take note of when you’re ruminating and what triggers it until you can see your patterns and find ways to counteract them.
  • Don't trust your first reaction when ruminating. Most of the time, it colors negatively your read of the situation.
  • Seek a diversion to break the rumination cycle.
  • Think positively: remembering your successes and times you tried new things helps you to not be avoidant of tasks you can’t do perfectly.