English 9/ Period 7
19 May 2014
How many people are struggling with perfectionism? For a countless number of young people, perfectionism is not just a state of mind, it is a distinct way of life that becomes normal to them. Even everyday activities, such as school projects, that the average person participates in can be an internal battle to reach excellence for people who are perfectionists. Some of these people affected by this obsession attempt to make their extreme ambitions a reality. They also think that if they do not meet the supposedly skyhigh expectations set by themselves and those of others, everyone around them will be disappointed. Perfectionism impacts teens’ personalities and lifestyles in many different ways, although they are mostly negative.
Perfectionism can have multiple physical effects on teens. It is not a good trait to have because it can hurt their health. Studies show that perfectionism affects people mentally and physically, and is known to result in lack of sleep, irritable bowel syndrome, angina, and possibly death(“Trying to be”). This supports the fact that the utopian belief that many of these young people have can result in severe physical harm on their bodies. If someone tries too hard to be perfect, there will be more consequences than benefits.
Another negative aspect of this obsession is that it takes an immense toll on adolescents’ bodies and their minds. According to author Monica Ramirez Basco, “The reach for perfection can be painful because it is often driven by both desire to do well and a fear of the consequences
of not doing well. This is the doubleedged sword of perfectionism.” This gives an example of one of the negative emotional effects that perfectionism places on teenagers. Another thing the author is saying is that teenagers’ feelings sometimes lead to the will to excel, and this ends up damaging them more than benefitting them.
In addition to all of the physical and mental issues this compulsion brings, there are also negative impacts on relationships. Trying to be the ideal partner for one’s companion could harm a perfectly normal relationship. Assistant professor Domar at Harvard Medical School says that
“everything is never perfect, and if you expect it to be, true happiness and contentment will always be out of reach"(“Be Happy Without”). This quote is saying in functional and lasting relationships, perfectionism does not exist. Also, if it is present, there will not be felicity in the relationship. This is just one of many problems caused by the belief of perfection.
Personalities are one more part of one’s life that can be altered greatly by perfectionist actions. Being a perfectionist can completely change who a person is and how they act towards other people such as their friends and family. Research suggests that hubris in teens makes them endeavor for perfection and attempt to show their strengths. They are also severely sensitive to the idea of failing and not being accepted by others(Flett, Besser and Hewitt). This clearly points out there is a possibility that previously outgoing people could become introverted and fearful of being unsuccessful. Their personality could end up morphing into something different that people surrounding them did not expect. This could result in the loss of friends and trusted acquaintances. Conjointly, academics are substantially affected by the perfectionist trait that many students have. Grades can drop, and school participation in teens can plummet because they are
too distracted in trying to perfect what they are doing. An author adds that striving to be perfect can stress people out because they feel like they need to be the best, and they will not settle for anything less than it(Weston). Basically, the writer is saying that having a perfectionist mentality is detrimental to a child…