Striving for perfectionism is causing mental illness

There’s a good study in the Harvard Business review that looks at how we’ve set up our society and development of our youth to be modeled on perfectionism, where failure is seen as negative.

Here’s the gist:

“There is growing evidence that the increase in psychological ill-health of young people may stem from the excessive standards that they hold for themselves and the harsh self-punishment they routinely engage in. Increasingly, young people hold irrational ideals for themselves, ideals that manifest in unrealistic expectations for academic and professional achievement, how they should look, and what they should own. Young people are seemingly internalizing a pre-eminent contemporary myth that things, including themselves, should be perfect.”

This may be another reason why addiction is exploding in this country right now. There’s too much emphasis in society on being a perfect person (whatever that means) and displaying that image on social media.

I learned in recovery that life is messy. We are messy.

But life is exactly as it’s supposed to be. The money, fame, power and artificial beauty we chase as addicts are not what’s important in life. Love, and feeling that love as a sober person, is what’s important.

My failure at stopping drinking and drugs and subsequent recovery was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thank you Higher Power for our failures. They are all gifts in disguise.

Or as The Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes…you get what you need.”