Airport work by painterPerfectionism is a culturally accepted and even desired ideal. We want our children to be perfectly adjusted. We wish our bodies were perfectly shaped. We want to find the ideal soul mate. We expect our athletes in the Olympics to perform perfectly. We want our minds to be absolutely still – at least when we so chose.

There is very little room for failure in our goal-driven society.

And while there is nothing wrong with trying to give the best we can, wanting to be perfect is an endeavor bound to fail.

In fact, it lies at the heart of much of the anxiety and depression we encounter every day.

Children and teenagers crack under the exaggerated expectations of overly ambitious parents who want to force them to fulfill their own un-lived dreams.

Marriages fall apart under the strain of romantic ideals and ever increasing pressures.

Professionals, athletes, soldiers and spouses do their best to live up to what others have put upon them every day, and inevitably have to concede their limitations.

One example is the recently uncovered scandal over Jonah Lehrer, a young and brilliant science writer who was outed for making up quotes for his highly readable articles.

Lehrer broke into the writing profession at 26, published a bestseller two years later, and was quickly seen as a wunderkind and boy genius.

The media machinery of initial boundless admiration which later turned into scorn and schadenfreude made a loser out of this talented young man.

We can observe the cycle of high expectations leading to failure and shame practically every day in the media. Actors and musicians fallen from grace; politicians making unrealistic promises and quickly being ridiculed for i;t and companies promising never ending beauty and health that doesn’t happen (but then who somehow avoid taking the blame).

We all like a winner and a star. Alas, no one can live up to never ending success and glory. What goes up, must come down. What turns out flawlessly the first time around will inevitably lose out another time.

It’s time to accept that we are human. Nobody is perfect. It would spare us a lot of pain.

 

photo credit: puffmind

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 17 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

Trackbacks

Giant Comfort » Perfectionism is a Disease (August 6, 2012)






    Last reviewed: 5 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Schoen, G. (2012). Perfectionism is a Disease. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/gentle-self/2012/08/perfectionism-is-a-disease/

 

The Gentle Self Buddha Betrayed
Gerti Schoen is the author of The Gentle Self
and her latest book, Buddha Betrayed. Check them
out on Amazon.com today!

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Cooper: The weight that worrying carries is tremendous. It heavily influences the ways we live, and behaviors often...
  • Jasmine Settles: This article is very enlightening on an old age remedy. Many cultures believe that nature is the...
  • Cut the critic: Thanks so much for posting this topic. From the time I was 6 or 7 I have suffered from S.A.D. The...
  • tsinon: Thank you, this answer makes the most sense of any that I have heard.
  • Gerti Schoen, MA, LP: The experiential part is the challenge. The cognitive understanding is easy. Following through,...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!