Dark Side of Perfectionism

New research shows chronic perfectionism, the kind that doesn't go away as one gets older, leads to suicidal tendencies.

Early warning signs are when people start to take extraordinary or costly measures to hide distress or appear perfect.

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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.

While setting high standards for oneself can be deemed as a positive quality, but perfectionism more or less assumes that we are flawed or defective.

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.

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.

Kinds of Perfectionism

Perfectionism comes in three types:

  • Self-Oriented Perfectionism: Demanding perfectionism from oneself.
  • Other-oriented Perfectionism: Demanding perfectionism from others.
  • Socially Prescribed Perfectionism: Feeling external pressure from the outside world to be perfect.

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To manage your perfectionism you can “calibrate your standards” by showing your efforts to someone early in the process. You may discover it’s already “good enough.

Even if you need to continue to work on it, the feedback will help you improve. Also, keep in mind that your work often needn’t be the final word, it just has to contribute something useful.

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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.

Perfectionism: The Pursuit Of Constant Excellence

There is a common trait among many high-achievers: Perfectionism. Celebrated geniuses like Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, Steve Jobs and even Kanye West share an obsessive commitment towards excellence.

The pursuit of excellence does have its pitfalls, and perfectionism does have the tendency to mutate into a constant striving for increasingly unrealistic goals, leading to frustration, anxiety, and a decrease in one’s productivity.

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