The Toxic Nature of Perfectionism

The Guardian recently published a piece on perfectionism, which can lead to such mental health issues as depression, anxiety, and more. According to the piece, perfectionism mostly affects women. A U.S. survey in 2009 found that women are  more likely than men to experience feelings of inadequacy at home and at work, and a larger proportion felt they failed to meet their own high standards.

These insecurities are well-documented in the world of work: in 2011, the Institute of Leadership and Management found half of female managers, compared with fewer than a third of the male ones, reported self-doubt in their performance.

The seeds of perfectionism start young. A NHS study found 28.2 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds have a mental health condition, with one in four women aged 16 to 24 experiencing anxiety, depression, panic disorder, phobia or obsessive compulsive disorder.

Social media has a big role to play in influencing women’s outlook on this issue. The piece quotes an 18-year-old woman from Cambridge named Miranda, who says: “I certainly feel the pressure to be perfect and it has got to the point where it’s damaging my health. Social media is the main culprit. I had to delete my Instagram account because it would actually make me cry. I am a mature person with a firm grip on reality, but I have so many peers whose lives seem so perfect and sociable that it left me feeling worthless and lonely.”

Read the full piece here.


Adam Wahlberg

Founder of Think Piece Publishing