It doesn't take a study to tell us that the mental rigidity cultivated by many self-professed perfectionists doesn't exactly promote psychological health. However, our society still praises perfectionists--they're the ones who make discoveries, win awards, even change lives. Right?

Actually, maybe not so much. According to Thomas S. Greenspon, a psychologist quoted in an article in Science of Us, "Research confirms that the most successful people in any given field are less likely to be perfectionistic, because the anxiety about making mistakes gets in your way."

One thing perfectionists really do excel at? Sadly enough, self-harm—multiple studies have found that those placing high demands on themselves are at an increased risk for suicide. And unfortunately, perfectionism can be passed down to your children. Gordon Flett, a psychologist at York University suggests doing things like volunteering can help suppress someone’s perfectionist tendencies. Also, talking with your kids about previous mistakes made can help show that it’s okay to not always be perfect.

If you know someone to be a perfectionist and it is affecting his or her life negatively, please find the proper medical professional that can help. If you are or were previously a perfectionist, what remedies did you follow to stay even keeled?


Science of Us: The Alarming New Research on Perfectionism