Kayla Kelly, Staff

The illusion of perfection is an engulfing parasite to mental health. Early in childhood, our society’s obsession with being perfect is projected through the media, parents, and even teachers.


Teens need to accept that perfection is not the key to happiness and not the goal. Social media contributes to perfectionism and feeds those with low self-esteem new insecurities through photoshopping. According to a study done by the City University of London in a survey done with 175 teens, over 90% of teenage girls filtered, edited, and photo shopped their pictures before posting. Remembering that not everything we see is reality is hard to comprehend for most teenage girls, as it is hard to imagine people we idolize not loving their bodies. Body standards change, faces age, and knowledge fades. The person below the surface does not. Accepting who you are physically and mentally and appreciating every aspect of yourself you had seen as imperfect is the only way to achieve happiness.


The interrelation between academic perfectionism and academic achievement is apparent in adolescents from a young age. What can start as craving academic validation from teachers and educators can develop into a spiraling destructive case of perfectionism. Often overlooked, the majority of perfectionists in schools maintain good grades throughout their education, which can transcend into academic burnout. When you derive self-worth and goals around schoolwork and exceed the teacher’s expectations it leads to frustration when something doesn’t work out. Perfectionist tendencies are a toxic cycle of motivation from unrealistic goals, striving for those goals, and maladaptive coping that inevitably leads to burnout. Academic burnout is when over criticizing and negative thinking lead to a lack of motivation, and students stop caring about doing the work altogether rather than its quality making it counterproductive.


There is no perfect way to live your life. Often driven by low self-esteem, individuals become obsessed with being perfect. When something is not up to their high standards, it defines them and confirms their low self-value which ends up consuming them. Children who exhibit perfectionist behaviors are seen as precocious and visionary and are praised from childhood. Being seen as perfect in the eyes of others for so long and adapting their standards can transcend into self-sabotaging behaviors. Conquering perfectionism is not only accepting one’s mistakes and failures, it is finding greater reasoning behind everything you do. Valuing our humanity and ability to make and learn from mistakes is of much greater importance than being meticulous to appease our conscience.


Overcoming perfectionism is accepting yourself for who you are and the mistakes that you make.