For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. It's a fast track to unhappiness, and perfectionism is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. And love isn't a refuge; in fact, it feels way too conditional on performance. The need for perfection is usually transmitted in small ways from parents to children, some as silent as a raised eyebrow over a B rather than an A.

Recent posts on Perfectionism

Want to Be Less of a Perfectionist? (Try To) Do This 1 Thing

By Andy Molinsky Ph.D. on February 18, 2017 in Adaptation
Want to Be Less of a Perfectionist? (Try To) Do This 1 Thing
Ben S

Say Farewell to Emotional Exhaustion

Stop letting other people, present circumstances, or ghosts of your past dictate your life. Be willing to let go and no longer be paralyzed by perfectionism.

Grad Students and Perfectionism

By Amy Green M.A., C.C.C. on February 06, 2017 in Psy-curious
How getting a C once in awhile (instead of always striving for the A+) can help students overcome perfectionism and procrastination - but may be easier said than done.

How You Can Be More Confident

How can you have more confidence? Do this one exercise and feel the difference!

Minimum Daily Requirement for Creativity

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on January 12, 2017 in Creating in Flow
Tips to help you "Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists."

5 Ways to Make Changes That Stick

Want to make your resolutions a reality? Yes, you can. Here's how.

The Beauty of Imperfection

By Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D. on January 02, 2017 in Between Cultures
How the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi fits into our modern lives.

Everything is Important and Nothing is Important

Getting stuck in either the big picture or the small details prevents a full experience of being human. Learning to hold these opposites simultaneously can lead to a rich life.

Perfectionism vs. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Ralph Ryback M.D. on December 20, 2016 in The Truisms of Wellness
OCD is often misunderstood as a disorder that simply means being overly detailed or perfectionistic, when in fact this disorder can be debilitating for those who are affected.
James Coplan, MD

Perfectionism, Part 2

Do you have gremlins below decks, countermanding the captain's orders?

5 Things No One Should Ever Brag About

When you're in a job interview or just chatting with your friends, bragging about these things could backfire.

The "Failure to Launch" Epidemic

By Hara Estroff Marano on December 05, 2016 in Nation of Wimps
Turning out OK is no longer an outcome acceptable to parents. Today children must be optimized. And that may be why failure-to-launch is a growing problem among young adults.

Crush Holiday Stress: Have a Better Than Perfect Holiday

Want to crush the stress of the holidays? Here's how to have a better than perfect holiday season!

Perfectionism’s Upsides

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 26, 2016 in How To Do Life
Examples to help you decide if you want to be less perfectionistic or more.

5 Ways Your Thinking Can Hold You Back

What is wrong with wanting things to be perfect? Nothing, unless it is hurting you.

9 Signs That You Might Be a Perfectionist

You might be a perfectionist and not even know it.

Holiday Traditions

Are your holiday traditions those of stress and apprehension? Try a new approach.

6 Fatal Job Interview Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Don't commit one of the deadly blunders that fell many inexperienced interviewees. Following this advice can help you land your dream job.

How New Ideas Are Presented May Influence Creativity

By Wilma Koutstaal Ph.D. on November 02, 2016 in Our Innovating Minds
What things invite us to come forward to speak and share new ideas?

Why Do Some Narcissists Need to Be So Perfect?

A new article analyzing personality data from over 9,000 participants sheds light on why some high in narcissism need to see themselves as destined for perfection.

Michelle Obama, Super-Popular 1-Perfectionist 1st Lady

By Elizabeth Wagele on November 01, 2016 in The Career Within You
Enneagram Ones, including Michelle, are highly principled: “You work hard for what you want in life, your word is your bond, and you treat people with respect..."

Myth of the Perfect Partner

Mary and Jordan are a couple I worked with fell into a pattern of avoiding sex because Jordan had come on too strong, too directly, without setting a context for love-making.

Matt and Lisa’s Wedding Ceremony

It’s much safer and more convenient to fall in love with your phone.

How to Beat Perfectionism, Make Progress, and Find Happiness

By Ryan Holiday on October 18, 2016 in The Obstacle Is the Way
Don’t excuse yourself from trying to achieve your goal because the conditions aren't right. There are plenty of small steps that will help move you forward.

How Parents Inadvertently Foster Racism

Parents inadvertently cultivate a twisted superiority that hitches a ride on racial categories.
By John Snape (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Art and Science of Mistakes

To err is human, but...how human do we have to be?

When I Failed Miserably I Also Succeeded

By Dan Pontefract on September 19, 2016 in Working on Purpose
Why do many of us tend to run from the room screaming when we hear the word "fail"?

How To Be Perfect

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on September 18, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Do you want a perfect job? A perfect body? A perfect relationship? Perfect health?

Why I Still Don’t Like Diversity Events

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on September 13, 2016 in Feeling Our Way
Humility itself becomes a perfectionistic ideal, and it’s alarming how arrogant people can become about how self-effacing they are.

What Your Back Pain Is Telling You

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on September 11, 2016 in Presence of Mind
Your back pain carries some important messages. Maybe it's time to listen.