beware of the perfect trap

  Mr. Liu is one of my visitors. His clinical diagnosis was anxiety disorder. He is over the age, has a gentle wife and lovely children; has healthy parents who live nearby; has a stable job and has short-term and long-term investment and career development plans; has a thick and tall figure with clean sideburns and forever wrinkle-free shirts.
  ”In the few years when I just graduated from college, I was in good shape, insisted on a vegetarian diet, ran marathons, lived alone in a clean house, and often read some books. After I got married, especially after having children, my diet, work and rest were messed up, and I became fat. I have lost thirty or forty catties, I don’t have time to run, and I don’t read books anymore. There is limited room for salary increase, but the expenses are getting bigger and bigger.” In his eyes, his body and career have reached the point of no return. In addition, the scattered toys at home, the no longer refined diet, and the messy schedule according to the child’s arrangement, all hurt him every second.
  Through the conversation, I learned that Mr. Liu has excellent grades since he was a child. He has always been called “other people’s child” by his relatives and friends, and he is the pride of the whole family. But after entering the society, there are no exams, and the matter of “doing the best” becomes very complicated. He thinks that compared with his friends, he can be regarded as step-by-step, but he seems to be worse than anyone else.
anxious perfectionist parent

  Although I have only met Mr. Liu, I seem to have known his parents. Children under this type of parental education are prone to the above problems. One of their common manifestations is anxiety-worrying about grades, waistline, “community death”, salary, and everything that can be worried. Even some anxious parents automatically project perfect expectations onto their children, so that the children are placed on the “starting line” before they learn to crawl.
  What’s more interesting is that such parents often expect their children to have “perfect personalities”, such as optimism, open-mindedness, generosity, gentleness, and kindness. It is conceivable that there is no winner in this game.
  But this kind of “winner” who only exists in an ideal state has become the norm in many people’s minds, as if this is the only way to live a “reasonable life under normal circumstances”.
  Perfection doesn’t exist in reality. Perfection and the satisfaction it brings are scarce and short-lived. The happiness and happiness obtained by using this as a yardstick are also scarce and short-lived. So, it’s a perfect trap.
Can perfection and optimism be both?

  Perfectionism is a personality trait that often manifests itself as a pursuit of the ultimate good and a refusal to accept all “second best” things. The object of this need for perfection may be yourself, it may be others, it may be everything.
  Optimism is another personality trait, which is mainly manifested in positive and positive judgments on things, positive and positive expectations for future development, not only thinking that the present is good, but also that the future will be even better.
  Can people who pursue perfection have both perfectionism and optimism? If you can only answer this proposition with can or can’t, the answer is that you can’t and you can.
  ——Let me talk about the reasons why I can’t
  . Perfectionism is a result-oriented thinking that doesn’t value the process, and there are only two answers to the result: “perfect” and “imperfect”. And optimism belongs to process-oriented thinking, even future-oriented thinking. It is not that optimists do not pay attention to the results, but “look at the problem from the perspective of development”, and are less likely to value the immediate results. Take an exam score as an example. A perfectionist who scores an 80 may become frustrated and define the learning task as a failure. Optimists, on the other hand, give self-affirmation and look forward to the future.
  The truth is, no one gets perfect marks forever. If failing to get a perfect score once is a setback, perfectionists must often live in frustration. Therefore, perfectionists are often pessimists, and excessive perfectionism is obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is clinically a type of anxiety disorder.
  Perfectionists often also have the problem of procrastination: if they can’t get the pleasure of achieving it overnight, they would rather choose “too bad”.
  Furthermore, perfectionists are more prone to suicidal tendencies: since the world is so imperfect… since I am so imperfect… since there is no hope for the future, let me call it a day.
  ——Let’s talk about the reasons why
  the world is not black and white. There are no people with 100% perfectionist personality traits, nor are there people with 100% optimism personality traits. Everyone is fine-tuning and deliberating, trying to find a balance between “perfection” and “optimism”. From this perspective, people with complex and fluid traits can also achieve a certain balance between perfection and optimism.
Three manifestations of perfectionism

  Canadian scholars established a multi-dimensional perfectionism measurement and evaluation system in the 1990s, and divided perfectionist groups into three categories: self-oriented, socially defined, and others-oriented.
  Self-oriented perfectionism is defined as having unrealistic expectations of oneself and holding critical self-evaluations, short for self-discipline. Socially prescribed perfectionism manifests itself in the belief that the social environment is demanding and they must be perfect in order to be recognized by others, referred to as being strict with themselves for the sake of others. Finally, other-oriented perfectionism is about imposing unrealistically high standards on those around you and evaluating others critically, short for being strict with others.
Get rid of distressed perfectionism

  In terms of thinking, you can try the following methods:
  1. Maintain a mature attitude and look at problems with a developmental perspective. Understand that nothing in the present moment is a foregone conclusion.
  2. Enjoy the process rather than the result, even if it is a failed process or result.
  3. Do not compare yourself with others, because we cannot truly and fully understand others.
  4. Don’t please others, because no one can be please forever, and no one can please the whole world.
  5. Know what you want, know what others want from you, and know how to tell the difference between the two.
  Here are some behavioral changes you can try:
  1. Consider the pros and cons of being a perfectionist. When thinking, you can often restrain your inner urge to pursue perfection. If you forget afterward, just review it again.
  2. Make an effort to understand yourself, including your body. Understanding is the cornerstone of acceptance and appreciation.
  3. Think about imperfect situations and try to see them as default patterns, accept them, and deal with them.
  4. Keep a grateful heart, record 3 things to be grateful for every day, and give sincere thanks.
  When I met Mr. Liu for the third time, he had passed the resistance stage and began to practice the above suggestions. We did a lot of “appreciate yourself” exercises together, including asking him to observe his hands, time 5 minutes, and observe his skin, bones, muscles, and meridians without distraction, and feel how they work together to hold the newborn baby; accept the hands Scars, sunburns and mosquito bags, because every imprint is accompanied by memories; I am grateful for the company of these hands for many years, and remember to walk together in the next days.
  He began to practice skeptically. From fingers, wrists to arms, elbows, to many parts of the body, and finally face yourself in the mirror and accept your white hair and wrinkles.
  It was another month after we met again, and he seemed much more relaxed, and I think he was making good progress. He said: “Although I am still prone to anxiety, it is much better, because I have given up pursuing the state of ‘no anxiety at all’. The rest, I think, will gradually get better.”