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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Being a Perfectionist Causes Stress

Image of a man cutting his lawn with scissors to ensure each blade is perfect

To be a perfectionist—to live your life to perfection—sounds just about perfect, doesn’t it?

Don’t be fooled. This tip will have you realize why aiming for perfection is flawed and what you can do about it.

Perfection is a goal that you should not strive to achieve because it can prompt a crippling condition, anxiety, and overly critical self-evaluation.

Realize that while excellence can be reached, perfectionism cannot. Striving to be a perfectionist—for flawlessness—and setting excessively high standards is a burden no one should carry.

Being a Perfectionist Harms Youth

For many young people in particular, a focus on perfection has opened pathways to live with the idea that they have to be perfect for people to accept them. This is especially the case with young girls who develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia because of the striving for perfection.

Striving for perfection at a young age can become so tyrannical that too many young people develop anxiety attacks. This leads to the thinking pattern that they cannot perform or engage in an activity because they will not be good enough. The next stage is total paralysis.

Being a Perfectionist Impedes Growth

Perfectionism has people become reluctant to admit mistakes or apologize when wrong.

Failing is a natural outcome of trying, and it is a great teacher. That is, it can be if the choice is to learn from failure rather than be crushed by it. Remember my motto: You cannot learn and be perfect at the same time.

The emphasis should always be on effort, on trying, on the process, and on the progress. This positive mindset breeds a willingness to experiment, to try, and to risk. This is extremely important since improvement only comes with practice.

Tip: Aim for continual improvement—never for perfection.

You can get many more empowering tips like this one in my award-winning book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. Buy one and get one free as a gift. You will not want to depart with your own copy. Be sure to check out the Without Stress Facebook Group where you can connect with other life-minded people on a journey to reduce stress.

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Dr. Marvin (Marv) Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
PO Box 11 Los Alamitos, CA 90720
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Marv@MarvinMarshall.com
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