The Effects of Perfectionism on Happiness

The Effects of Perfectionism on Happiness
Perfectionism is not always an asset- it can be a hindrance to our happiness as well. No matter how hard we try, perfection is often impossible to achieve. Chasing an unachievable goal can only bring us unhappiness, yet social media promotes perfectionism, and our work-life manifests many of it’s symptoms.
An App Becomes One’s Mirror

Social media has now surpassed print in propagating the perfect figure, face, and persona. Apps provide perfection in a snap. They distort reality and create illusions of perfect people.

*Studies by Dove Self-Esteem Project revealed that by age 13, 80% of girls change the way they look online.

People who consume a lot of social media content are more likely to fall prey to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. They tend to compare themselves to those in perfectly staged photos. In doing so, they rob themselves of happiness and serenity in the present.

Behind the Scenes

Beautiful photos and fascinating stories of people living their dream lives often leave us envious and make us feel left behind. What we don’t see is what’s behind the scenes.

Our high school classmate’s promotion to vice-president may have come at a steep price. An acquaintance’s lovely brood of Instagram-able children may actually despise their parent. In other words, we don’t get the backstory on what’s posted or published online.

Keeping track of other people’s accomplishments makes us feel anxious about missing out. Instead, let's ask ourselves what we really want.

We all work at our own pace and timeframes. Instead of using the internet for comparison, use it to educate, inspire ourselves, and provide value to others.  

Manifestations of Perfectionism

Perfectionism shows itself in procrastination, impostor syndrome, burnout, and lack of enthusiasm. The root of these symptoms is resistance and fear. We fear failure, negative feedback, and the feeling we’re not good enough.

We may be obsessing over the tiniest details. However, we need to break this cycle of fear by starting a task even when we aren’t completely prepared. 

Focus on progress rather than perfection. An average job is better than none done at all.

Let’s not believe everything we see and read on social media. There’s always something hidden from us. Perfectionists often hinder themselves and frequently miss the opportunity to travel the path to achievement. Let’s celebrate being imperfect and take the chance to grow by doing the job instead of contemplating a perfect dream. No one needs to be perfect to be happy and successful long-term.

Just remember: "We are not meant to be perfect; we are meant to be whole." – Jane Fonda

Eryn W.
Wife and mother. Flirting between words and personal experience, she offers inspiration for women to stay positive and work hard.

Related Stories