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

Adoption in the Life of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs' adoption provided an environment that helped him become the co-founder and major influence of Apple Computers, but his genetic inheritance was also crucial.

Changes in the Family: Impact on Sexual Development

In modern times, the family unit has been dramatically reconstructed. Regardless of the family’s formation, the behaviors observed by children of both single and two-parent families significantly impact children’s sexual development.

Techniques to Manage Your Procrastination: Part II

Techniques to Manage Your Procrastination: Part II. 8 tips sure to work if you don’t put off using them. Part I of this post is Procrastination: Why You Do It. By Jane Burka, Ph.D. and Lenora Yuen, Ph,D.

9 Warning Signs of Burnout

Burnout has been described as the biggest occupational hazard of the twenty-first century. Educating busy professionals and workplaces about its warning signs is a big first step in reducing its impact.

Do You Feel Sexy on the Inside?

By Rick Miller LICSW on March 23, 2015 in Unwrapped
Expanding the ways in which we feel “sexy” is good for everyone (yup, except maybe for the beauty industry that sells just one way).

Don't Believe Everything You Think

Every human mind generates fear much of the time, unless we "retrain" the mind. Without conscious management on our parts, fear can permeate our thoughts -- and poison our relationships with our children. That’s why fear has to be consciously confronted. Here is how.

Playing to Win

Conventional wisdom about making better judgments and decisions consists of methods for reducing biases and errors. But this is a defensive strategy, playing not to lose. We can do better. By trying to foster insights and discoveries, we can play to win.

What Would You Never Dream of Doing?

By Elizabeth Wagele on March 17, 2015 in The Career Within You
Ones (Perfectionists) Would Never Dream of: • being half an hour late to work • not making reservations for every night of their vacation • leaving their clothes in a heap and their dishes unwashed all week • using their sleeve for a napkin • taking a relaxing bath just before guests come

21 Things Clinical Perfectionists Do

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in In Practice
Perfectionism can be a healthy strategy for getting ahead. Clinical perfectionism, however, is a darker form that often impairs performance rather than improves it.

Make Your Dreams Come True, Be Extreme

If you push yourself to extremes and find out what your true talents are.

Procrastination Part I: Why You Do It

Procrastination: Why You Do It; What To Do About It. Procrastination is often used to manage struggles with self-esteem. By Jane Burka Ph.D. and Lenora Yuen, Ph.D.

4 Ways To Be A More Authentic Person

People are attracted to authenticity. Here are four techniques that help you be your most authentic self, even in uncomfortable situations.

How NOT to Raise a Narcissist

Narcissism is more than believing “I’m great!”; it’s believing “I’m better and more important than you!” Here's how NOT to raise a narcissistic child.

Genes and Eating Disorders

The "idea" that eating disorders are genetic has yet to be proved. Despite all that we know, some continue to assert that causation is not multidimensional, but rather genetically determined. Some thoughts on the matter....once again.

Who Was George Washington?

By Gregg Henriques on February 22, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
An analysis of George Washington's character and relational strivings on what would have been his 283rd birthday.

8 Negative Attitudes of Chronically Unhappy People

All of us experience negative thoughts from time to time. How we manage our negative attitudes can make the difference between confidence versus fear, hope versus despair, mastery versus victimhood, and victory versus defeat. Here are eight negative attitudes of chronically unhappy people...

4 Ways to Keep Your Cool, No Matter What

With these four simple steps we can become emotionally resilient, gracefully and calmly handling every situation that comes our way.

Is Your Teen an Observer, Asserter, Perfectionist or …?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on February 16, 2015 in Singletons
So much about being a teen can be confusing and difficult. Understanding the nine Enneagram personality types could help your teen. What type is your teen and what does that say about the way he or she relates to others including you, her parents?

5 Steps Toward Believing in Yourself

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on February 14, 2015 in Wander Woman
Whether you are starting something new or you made some mistakes you regret, you might fall into the trap of calling yourself a failure. Or you worry others will judge you as incompetent. This post will help you recognize scenarios where you discount yourself and then it gives you 5 steps for helping you recover your confidence so you can move on.

10 Ways to Tell if You're Giving Your Relationship a Chance

We all hold beliefs about love and the importance it have for our happiness. This 10-item scale will tell you how realistic or unrealistic you are about what to expect from your closest romantic partners, how responsible you are for other people's happiness, and whether you're driven by the need for approval.

Perfectionism Is Self-Deception

Perfectionism is a nasty perception problem

We Are Brian Williams

Imagine Brian Williams saying "I tried to feel good about myself but never felt good enough. I constantly criticized myself. I inflated who I was hoping that somehow the reflection back from my audience would overcome my inner diminishment. Now I see that it never did and it never can."

Are You a Perfectionist?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on February 10, 2015 in Living Single
A 30-item quiz promises to reveal your perfectionist tendencies and, along the way, let you know what perfectionism really is. But how do you know whether this quiz, or any other, really does measure what it claims to measure?

Seeking Perfection? There's a Better Way.

I want the best for myself and my children. Why settle for less? We live in a society of plenty, so we often simply go for it and ask for exactly what we want. An almost inaudible, but powerful voice inside of us might tell us to reach for the best and only for the best. Is this always a good choice though? Is getting the best making us happy? When is it detrimental?

Well Hung and Happy, Right?

By Rick Miller LICSW on February 05, 2015 in Unwrapped
The media tells us who we are – and are not. The vast majority of us are too this, and not enough that. And for gay men, one message certainly is clear: “size does matter.”

What I’ve learned from learning the Ukulele

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in Listen Up!
Sometimes our failures contain the seeds of our greatest successes. Consider what happened when I, yet again, decided to try and learn to play a musical instrument before it was too late.

Which Type of Perfectionist Are You?

Research on perfectionism suggests that there are both adaptive and maladaptive forms of perfectionism.

The Burden of Expectation: A Lesson From an Olympic Champion

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on January 27, 2015 in The Power of Prime
Mikaela Shiffrin, the 19-year-old ski racing phenom, has certainly put herself between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the expectations she has created from her short, though illustrious, career. The hard place is that the 2015 World Ski Championships will be contested in Shiffrin’s home town of Vail, Colorado. The expectations on her get ratcheted up big time.

Methink Thou Doth Perfect Too Much

By Hal Mathew on January 25, 2015 in Unagoraphobic
When you let go of perfection you are freeing yourself of anxiety

Are You a Debbie Downer?

Some people see the glass as totally empty, most of the time. What makes a Debbie Downer so negative, and what can you do if suspect you are one?