Do You Pursue Perfection?

June 27, 2014

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College students (and all of us) are burdened by the idea that we have to succeed in all areas of our lives to be as well balanced as we can, but when does the idea of being perfect go too far?

At times, there is a lot of pressure to get the best grades possible on our finals. There are many people that struggle with perfectionism, whether it is realized or not. Perfectionism is described as the belief that making mistakes us unacceptable, and everything must be error-free. Perfectionists believe that making mistakes makes them less worthy, and less successful. Wanting to achieve academic success and to live up to your full potential is admirable, but achieving perfection is often impossible. Expecting yourself to be perfect can lead to the following mental health stressors:

  • Frustration: Wanting to have everything done perfectly allows you to never be satisfied with your work.
  • Procrastination: Perfectionism is one of the major causes of procrastination. The fear of work not being done perfectly may prevent you from doing the work all together.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Perfectionists are their own worst critics, and are hard on themselves by telling themselves they are not trying hard enough or doing well enough, which leads to low self-esteem.
  • Anxiety or Depression: Someone who struggles with extreme perfectionism may also struggle with depression or anxiety since they are constantly feeling unsatisfied and pressured.

If you struggle with perfectionism, try setting realistic, achievable goals, as well as goals that celebrate personal accomplishment when they are achieved. Getting a grade that upsets you in a class can be very frustrating, but remember that a letter grade does not make you a failure. College comes with a lot of stress, and it’s important to step back and remember we can only do what we are capable of. For more information on how to help yourself or a friend, visit this page by the University of Minnesota Counseling & Consulting Services.

Are you a perfectionist? Find out how the strive to be perfect may be more harmful than beneficial.

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