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Perfectionists, Beware

Lowering your standards can improve your mental health

I am a recovering perfectionist.

No surprise there because the cards were stacked against me. As a firstborn, I was more likely to hold myself to punishingly high standards of flawlessness than my younger siblings. Then, I was drawn to detail-oriented and high-achieving careers — becoming a classical musician and later a psychologist and scientist. These professions are known for attracting perfectionistic types.

The standards to which perfectionists hold themselves are unrealistic, overly demanding and often impossible to achieve. And when perfectionists fail to achieve perfection? We beat ourselves up with harsh self-criticism and are less able to bounce back and learn from mistakes. We’re also unlikely to celebrate our achievements or take pride in improving on our personal best. To a perfectionist, it’s all or nothing — you can be a winner or you can be an abject, worthless failure, with nothing in between.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Washington Post.

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