Diary of a depression fighter: Things that promote depression – perfectionism

In this country the children of my generation were raised to work hard and always do their best. Most of our parents came out of relative poverty by sheer perseverance and hard work. Even today our workers are sought after in many countries, because of their strong work ethics. Unfortunately the desire to do your work PERFECTLY often goes with this work ethics. Possibly some parents expected it, because we were the first generation to have the opportunity for tertiary studies. Some of us (nudge, nudge, wink, wink …) were raised without encouragement and positive motivation – not out of a lack of love, but out of the fear of raising children who think too much of themselves. Often parents had such a battle to feed and clothe the family that there was no energy, time or desire to work on a child’s self-image.
Today we know how easily this can lead to a child feeling that he is not really accepted in spite of his shortcomings, and often to a life-long quest for acceptance by working himself to the ground and expecting too much of himself.
These are only a few of the things that can lead to perfectionism. The problem is that a perfectionist sets himself up for failure. With our minds we know that nobody is perfect, but we still try to be. This often causes us to spend 90% of our time on that last 10% of the quality of a task. Often we find it impossible to stop working on a project, and we keep on and on making small changes using time that could have been used for other things. Other times it leads to the avoidance of a task, because we fear failure. Everything that is not perfect, feels like a failure. Coming second is the same as loosing. A single negative point cancels everything that is positive.
When all the time you feel that you are not good enough, it is the easiest thing in the world to poison yourself with negative self-talk: I am not good enough … I will never succeed … And before you know it, depression has caught hold of you.

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