good-is-not-good-enough-why-perfectionism-stressesGuest article

Good is not good enough - Why perfectionism is stressful

We live in a performance-oriented society. If you want recognition, you have to deliver a corresponding performance. Already at a young age we are judged according to our academic, athletic or social successes. The compulsion to be perfect is a logical consequence of this. Younger generations in particular suffer from the constant pressure to be seen in the best possible light. social media to have to measure.

Many have lost the sense for a healthy mediocrity - good is often no longer good enough. So what if Perfectionism becomes pathological and a stress factor?

"I want to be perfect!"

Scientists have identified three types of perfectionism:

  • self-referential (high demands on oneself)
  • socially prescribed (high demands on others)
  • externally oriented (high demands from outside)

Nowadays, women and men are equally affected by the tendency towards perfectionism. The balancing act of the woman between child and career stand in the way of the demands placed on the man as a Family Head and manager in no way inferior. Both want to fulfill their roles, whether in private life, social environment or profession, in the best possible way.

The urge for perfection can quickly determine the entire life. This not infrequently leads to doggedness and ends up in a Downward spiral of failure, isolation and lack of acceptance.

Perfectionism can make you sick

Not every person who makes high demands on himself and his environment is unhealthily perfectionistic. On the contrary, people who strive for perfection usually achieve outstanding things. The desire for recognition is anchored in each of us.

An healthy (functional) perfectionism is characterized by high expectations of themselves. However, these do not negatively influence the environment and oneself. The pursuit of excellence becomes more of a passion and attitude to life. Successes are celebrated accordingly.

Perfectionism always becomes a problem when the fear of making mistakes determines one's actions. The unhealthy dysfunctional) perfectionism is characterized by neurotic and overly critical behavior. But not every ambitious adult becomes a dysfunctional perfectionist.

Researchers suspect the origin in childhood. Those who met only emotional coldness and rebuke for mistakes in the parental home equate perfection with affection.

Perfectionism is stressful!

Meeting high expectations is exhausting. Not infrequently it ends up at the doctor or psychologist. Excessive perfectionism can affect many areas of life. But it especially attacks mental and physical health. Stress rules a large part of life. The body is on constant alert.

This leads to a weakened immune system and a higher likelihood of infectious diseases. Cardiovascular disease, Eating disorders or Burnout are the consequences. This permanent panic mode can also be Insomnia, Depressions or Irritable bowel be responsible.

Pathological perfectionists are 50% more likely to die earlier, according to a Canadian study from Trinity College. Self-esteem also suffers. Everything depends on one's own perfection. Striving to achieve extraordinary things is stressful. Often Loneliness and social isolation the consequences.

Also perfect at work?

Fatally, perfectionists often cluster in jobs that require a lot of performance. However, they are not necessarily perfect employees. They often find it difficult to delegate tasks. They overreact to small mistakes. They need an unnecessary amount of time to complete an activity to their satisfaction.

Other, more important activities remain undone. Due to the permanent stress they expose themselves to, they are sick more often and absent more often. Unhealthy perfectionism in particular can be detrimental to business success and the work environment.

Perfect imperfect

Not every perfectionist needs therapy. It only makes sense if the high stress level becomes a permanent burden. Companies can even benefit from perfectionist employees. They perform well, but need clear structures and a lot of praise.

If you're a perfectionist. Allow regular relaxation and rest periods. Furthermore, it can help to deal with oneself and the supposed expectations of others. Nobody demands constant perfection. On the contrary, small mistakes often make sympathetic and human.


This article is a guest contribution from Viviane Schlabritz.

viviane schlabritz

I am a health economist and founder of the blog modernworklife.de.

With interesting contents, current topics and innovative ideas I would like to draw attention to the topic of health in the workplace and make company health management attractive and appealing.

modernworklife.com