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Striving for perfection may keep you from being happy, studies suggest

Being overly critical of yourself can hold you back from enjoying life. Find out what it is that is making you feel you are not good enough.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Published: January 21, 2020 2:10:27 pm
perfectionism, perfection, being perfect, happiness, seeking perfection, perfection and unhappiness, indian express, indian express news Perfection is inversely proportionate to happiness. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

The very idea that perfection has a dark side to it, seems counter-intuitive. After all, shouldn’t the art of perfectionism make you happy? Well, it does not. If studies are to be believed, attempting to be perfect at something, say in your work for instance, can hold you back in life. Being subjective in nature, perfection can suck you into a pool of relentless self-critique, which is not good for the mind.

According to a 2018 study conducted by the University of Bath, it is the younger generation that tries to achieve substantially higher levels of perfectionism, having high standards and being overly self-critical, as opposed to the previous generations around the same period in their lives.

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The study says that the data taken from some 40,000 North American and British university students points at the fact that young people give an irrational importance to being perfect. This need has also increased with time, as has the feeling that they are being judged harshly and mercilessly and must, therefore, be their perfect selves and get other’s approval. The study also lists the demands of parents as a contributing factor.

Experts say that there is a difference between doing something to the best of your abilities, doing something and expecting to reap rewards, and doing something because you are obsessed with proving that you are good enough and perfect.

perfectionism, perfection, being perfect, happiness, seeking perfection, perfection and unhappiness, indian express, indian express news Attempting to be perfect at something, say in your work for instance, can hold you back in life. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

The imposter syndrome

When there is no balance between the aforementioned objectives, the imposter syndrome comes into play. It makes you critical of yourself. According to experts, you begin to feel that you are not good enough and your true self will reveal itself and then everybody will find out that you do belong here. It, thus, holds you back from trying new things, and attempting new challenges because you think you are highly incompetent.

Tell-tale signs

One of the classic signs of perfectionism is procrastination, which others may read as laziness. A perfectionist may feel they will not be able to rise to the occasion and produce worthy results. This fear and other negative emotions may make them avoid the task.

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Dealing with perfectionism

Experts say that you can begin by being a little kinder to yourself and showing more self compassion. You can also go back in time and think about why you do not feel you are good enough.

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