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

Unhinged, Part 1

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 28, 2016 How To Do Life
A story about obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Don't Fall For These Six Myths Of Success—Do This Instead

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on January 27, 2016 Feeling It
We have the misconception that, in order to be successful, we have to postpone our happiness and well-being. Here are the six myths of success that we tend to fall for.

How Erin Willett is Bringing Us Out of the Darkness

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on January 25, 2016 Brick by Brick
Erin Willett, first a contestant on "The Voice" and now part of the current cast of "The Biggest Loser", shares her personal struggle with binge eating.

Do You Expect Too Much from Yourself?

We burden ourselves when our expectations are unrealistically high. Being human means having limits and sometimes failing. But failure can be a doorway to future success.

Ridding Happiness Contaminants: Guilt

No one need be deviled by guilt, no matter what. Learn what causes guilt and, more important, what to do to rid it from your life – now and forever.

Calm Down with Logic-Based Meditation

Practice the contemplative life; relinquish the craving for what cannot be; attain enlightenment, and transcend the self-defeating thoughts that painfully overwhelm consciousness.

Recovery from an Eating Disorder is Possible

Recovery from an eating disorder is a process, however, the resolve to recover is a definite choice. Moving forward and avoiding the trap of recovery as a New Year's Resolution.

Embracing Imperfections for the Holidays and Everyday

By Karyn Hall Ph.D. on December 24, 2015 Pieces of Mind
Perfectionism can be undermining your joy. Watch out for rigid expectations and judgments, especially of yourself.

Have a Very Meh Holiday!

To you and yours, here’s to a very meh holiday with your flawed families. Be gentle, stay small and walk softly.

Four Kinds of Depression and Self-Hate

Chemical solutions maintain the depressive frame, whereas philosophical solutions challenge it.

Perfectionism: Benefit or Detriment to Performers?

Rather than being a key to optimal musical growth, research suggests that a perfectionist mindset may in fact derail an aspiring musician's development altogether.

Cracks in the Firmament

By Paul Rhodes Ph.D. on December 10, 2015 Post Clinical
Perfectionism, girls and anorexia

6 Ways Self-control Can Make You Worse Off

Compulsive people are apt to get just as little long-range pleasure as impulsive ones.

The 3 Most Common Causes of Insecurity and How to Beat Them

Do you find yourself feeling unconfident and filled with self-doubt? Are you just waiting to be exposed as inadequate? Find out why you feel insecure and what to do about it.

Goodbye Perfectionism: I'm Done With The Anxiety You Bring

Have you had a long term relationship with perfectionism?The head games may be more dangerous than you realize, and get in the way of making new friends that are a lot more accepting, better for your health, and fun to be around.

6 Little Known Factors That Can Affect Depression

By Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. on November 18, 2015 Fearless You
These 6 little known factors can affect depression.

The Story of a Fierce 8-Asserter Facing Death

By Elizabeth Wagele on November 17, 2015 The Career Within You
As an Asserter, Lester had difficulty giving up his power and sense of control. He insisted that I see him as a powerful man.

A Bigger Take-Away From Paris

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 16, 2015 Ambigamy
In holier than thou competition, the absolutely holy become holy terrors.

Why Women Over-Apologize: How and Why To Stop It!

What drives women to over-apologize? And why you need to get a grip.

The Human Seeking Perfection

One cannot be truly human alone. Other humans are required

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

Procrastination, weight problems, and over-spending all depend on feeling special.

When the Best You Can Be is Not Good Enough

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on October 28, 2015 In Flux
There are specific times in our lives when we don't feel like we're good enough. But the challenges for a person raised to feel "not good enough" most of the time is a daunting one. Where do these internal messages come from, how are they generated, and what can we do to learn that we are indeed enough, just the way we are.

Embracing Imperfection

Frustrated with the messiness of life with kids? A subtle shift can make all the difference in the world.

Ridding Happiness Contaminant 2: LHT Anxiety

While we have to endure all sorts of hassles and hardships in life, we need not experience anxiety about them. Learn how to never turn a hardship into a horror and thus never fall prey to anxiety.

Let's Cut New Moms Some Slack

Modern mothering is the best and the worst, light and darkness, hope and despair, all rolled into one. And too few people are talking about it.

6 Mental Habits That Will Wear You Down

Do you struggle with self-doubt & insecurity? The best way to start feeling better about yourself is to notice the automatic mental and emotional habits that don’t serve you well.

The Zodiac and Other Thrill Killers

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Wicked Deeds
Thrill killers like the Zodiac are perfectionists and often have narcissistic personalities. Such traits may drive them to pursue the goal of a perfect murder. Their motive is to induce pain or terror in victims prior to killing them. Victims are generally strangers but the killer may stalk them for a period of time before the attack to fuel the the excitement of the hunt.

How to Think of Your Body as Beautiful at Any Size

By Gregg McBride on September 19, 2015 The Weight-ing Game
The more we accept and respect others (no matter what they look like), the more disposed we'll be to extending that kind of acceptance (and even kindness) to ourselves. And when we change our judgements about how we look and what we weigh, we'll be more likely to initiate and even accomplish the kind of healthy, positive change that can lead to true transformation.

Fear Failure? Here’s a Note to Your Inner Critic

By Leslie Becker-Phelps Ph.D. on September 15, 2015 Making Change
You, like many people, might motivate yourself by being self-critical. You might expect that you need to do this to succeed. But what if you're wrong? What if you're hurting more than helping yourself?

5 Beliefs to Radically Transform Unhappiness to Wellbeing

Are you sad, anxious, managing a difficult relationship, grief or divorce? Are you feeling the stress of medical issues, parenting or work? Like flipping on a switch, changing the meaning you ascribe to life’s hardships instantaneously short circuits the thoughts that breed negative emotions. Adopt these 5 beliefs to transform unhappiness to wellbeing.