Do you strive to be perfect in everything you do? And does it get you down if you don’t or can’t achieve your goals? You’re not alone.
Perfectionism is being seen by psychologists as a driving force for other disorders such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders such as anorexia.
While it’s not considered a behavioural disorder on its own, some academics believe about 30 per cent of the Australian population have ‘clinical perfectionism’ – relentlessly striving for high achievements and unfairly judging yourself when those goals can’t be met.
Talya Rabinovitz is a clinical psychologist in Sydney who sees many clients who have an obsession with being perfect and not knowing how to set achievable standards.
“It’s really important that we differentiate against a desire to excel and perfectionism,” she told Hack.
“So for example, because it’s HSC time coming up, you might have a desire to excel and get great marks so that you can go to university.
“Perfectionism would be obsessing over every assessment in the HSC, beating yourself up if you don’t get over 90 and feeling totally worthless if you don’t get into medicine.
“And so we really see that harsh self-critic coming in there and probably lowering the person’s sense of worth.”