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A lot of teenagers and young adults push themselves hard, wanting a better education and a better future for themselves, but being a perfectionist can also make you depressed when you fall short of your expectations. 

Newsweek reports that “perfectionists may be more susceptible to depression – unless they can be kind to themselves.” And in a survey that was done in Australia where a thousand teenagers were polled, it found “perfectionists who were more self-compassionate were less depressed, regardless of their age.”

As Newsweek continues, there’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist or having high standards, but the problem is, as one psychologist puts it, “is when you beat yourself up when you don’t meet your standards.” When you beat yourself up when you fall short, you can become a “maladaptive perfectionist.”

As a psychologist explains, “If you think about what perfectionism is, it’s a way to feel safe, isn’t it? We don’t want to mess up, because if we mess up then we may not be safe. If we’re perfect, then maybe we’ll be safe, we’ll be accepted and acceptable people.” And perfectionism comes with a lot of stress. “You pay a pretty high cost for success,” this psychologist continues. 

Being kind to yourself is one of the best ways to beat down feelings of inadequacy, and start to reverse a vicious cycle of being too tough on yourself when you’re not perfect (and nobody on earth is perfect no matter what). As one psychologist puts it, “We spend our whole lives knowing how to be compassionate and how to motivate the friends we care about. All we have to do is give ourselves permission to turn it inward.”

Article by Sonia

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