IMPERFECTION IS BEAUTIFUL

IMPERFECTION IS BEAUTIFUL

In today's world, pursuing Perfectionism is everyone’s point of attention and in this fast pace of change, achieving Perfectionism and being the best is major concern to keep a strong stand in this competitive world, the adolescents are majorly affected by its consequences. In Psychology, Perfectionism is a term used to describe a personality trait that involves constantly striving for excellence, looking the best, doing everything better than others, maintaining high (sometimes excessive) standards, and refusing to accept anything less than flawlessness. In 1993 Merriam explained Perfectionism as “an unsurpassable degree of accuracy on excellence”. Perfectionism, like the most personality traits, exists on a continuum and people typically lie somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. And like other traits, Perfectionism has both its good side and bad side. The good side is referred to as Adaptive Perfectionism. Adaptive Perfectionists are those individuals who set high standards for themselves and are highly motivated by the needs of achievement, yet recognise and accept their limitations in striving to meet these standards. On the other hand, Maladaptive Perfectionism is considered as the bad side of Perfectionism. Maladaptive Perfectionism includes those who set high standards in every situation and do not accept their limitations. Therefore Adaptive Perfectionists verge upon striving for betterment that's why it is considered as healthy Perfectionism whereas Maladaptive Perfectionism as unhealthy because it is more towards concern.

There are many factors that contribute to the development of Perfectionism, like insecurity, anxiety, fear of condemnation or rejection. Along with these factors, Perfectionism is inherent in nature. A research suggests that ‘Perfectionism is a trait that one can pass down to their kids’. Some parents may force their adolescent to be a Perfectionist by supporting them to succeed in every area or nearly Perfectionism on them when their adolescent's efforts do not result in perfection; their expression of disapproval can be considered as abusive. People having the history of higher achievements can make them feel overwhelming stress for maintaining their previous level of achievements, which many times lead them to fit into in a category of a Perfectionist. Adolescents who are generally get praised for their achievements sometimes can also feel pressure to keep up with the achievements as they grow up There are possibilities that this pressure may lead them to get involved in the development of the Perfectionist tendencies.

It is usually considered that Perfectionists experience a higher level of stress as compared to those with non-perfectionist quality. Perfectionists experience satisfaction by negatively evaluating the aspects of performance for themselves and others, as a result, can generate stress because of their Perfectionist approach. The negative impact of stress gets positively influenced by the existence of Perfectionism, which can probably later result in maladjustment. A perfectionist experience the high amount of stress because they have the ability to evaluate unrealistically ordinary events as still because they are too distressing, in contrast to this there are ideas in literature stating that the Perfectionists contain such characteristics which will lead to occurrence and enhancement of stress. The different dimensions of Perfectionism influence stress differently as maladaptive dimensions affect stress negatively, whereas adaptive dimensions affect stress positively.

In the beam of this relationship between stress and Perfectionism, coping strategies has established a greater attention. In general, there are 2 forms of coping: Problem-focused coping, which focuses on altering the source of stress; on the other hand, Emotion-focused coping intense to decrease or manage the emotion of distress related to stress. Methods which focuses on explaining the problem are frequently used, commonly known as Problem-focused coping. Whenever the stressor generates elect, something which helps in tolerating the effects like, Emotion-focused coping is employed. The various dimensions of Problem-focused coping have different roles to play in Perfectionism. Self- control establishes a link between Adaptive Perfectionists and stress. Accepting responsibility plays an important role in teaching that mistakes do not mean failure and teaches a person to accept mistakes which will move and develop Adaptive Perfectionism in adolescents. Problem-solving helps in organizing the knowledge, it teaches that 'if at first, you don't succeed, try, try and try again’. It gives strength to stay positive and hopeful for the best. Positive reappraisal plays an extremely important role in reducing the effect of maladaptive Perfectionism by teaching and making an adolescent capable of re-evaluating the situation so that it's emotional impact can be changed.

The study “Relationship between perfectionism and coping strategies in adolescents” was conducted to investigate the effect of different coping strategies on the level of Perfectionism in adolescents. The study also explores the relationship between these factors in order to serve the area of mental health in better ways. Style of coping and Perfectionism level was assessed in 100 adolescent students in the pre-test and an intervention program was executed to enhance coping strategies and its effect was studied in post-test. Problem-focused coping results in a positive level of Perfectionism (coping strategies, Perfectionism, r= 0.65; p<0.05, p<0.01). Problem-focused coping affected the adolescent mental health in a positive manner and help in enhancing the adaptive Perfectionism results in better and healthy mental health. The findings suggested that overall coping strategies and Perfectionism share a highly significant positive correlation where enhancing coping strategies results in a noticeable increase in Perfectionism i.e., towards adaptive Perfectionism. These findings signify the importance of Problem-focused coping among adolescents to cope from the negative effects of Perfectionism and channelizes it in a positive direction.

About the Author

Himadri Singh
Child Psychologist.

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