订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

领导力

过度追求完美不可取,精神会出毛病

Renae Reints 2018年11月17日

对于那些为追求完美主义而走极端的人士来说,任何不够完美的结果都会给他们造成很大的影响。

勤奋与高标准在美国社会通常是人们所称道的事情。然而,宣扬完美主义有时候会危害人们的心理健康。

健康的完美主义者“异常努力地工作,以期实现宏伟目标,即便遇到困难,他们也会坚毅地继续朝着这些目标前进。”西北大学家庭研究所心理学家、研究生心理辅导项目研究员杰西卡·普莱尔对《财富》杂志说道。

但那些为追求完美主义而走极端的人士,又被称之为“非适应性完美主义”,他们对失败有着截然不同的看法。无论是实现学校、工作中的目标,还是个人生活中的目标,任何不够完美的结果都会给他们造成很大的影响。

普莱尔说:“这些人可能会因为自己没有实现目标而变得异常沮丧,并开始反思其目标,同时进行异常激烈的自我批评。”此举可能会导致一系列心理健康问题,包括抑郁、焦虑、强迫症和饮食紊乱,例如厌食症。

普莱尔表示:“最糟糕的情况是,完美主义可能会让人萌发自杀念头和意图。这是一种非常孤独、痛苦的精神状态。”

普莱尔通过其在西北大学的研究工作,致力于呼吁人们关注不适应性完美主义,其表征通常体现为强烈的职业道德。越来越多的高校学生如今表示,他们出现了一些类似于完美主义的症状,后者是社交学习和家长经常性批评双重作用的产物,而智能手机的出现则加剧了这一问题。

美国心理学学会称,很多大学生都因为他人对自己过高的期望而倍感压力,这些学生的数量在1989年至2016年期间增长了三分之一。尽管完美主义者数量在这一年龄段的青年中出现了飙升,但所有人都可能会受到它的影响。

谁会受到完美主义的影响?

研究显示,这一问题在律师、医生和其他高成就人群中尤为突出,普莱尔说道。

普莱尔说:“那些天生便带有这种倾向[完美主义]的人士往往会选择异常严谨、具有挑战性的工作。而且一旦他们从事这类工作之后,周围的人会向他们传递‘要超越自我’,以及‘要更加努力地工作’这样的正面强化信息。”

普莱尔称,在不同年龄段中,千禧一代是最有可能受到完美主义负面影响的人群。原因在于,这代人的父母如今可以通过智能手机定位装置时刻监督其子女,而这也让父母对其子女的行为和学校表现感到焦虑(例如父母会问孩子,为什么呆在寝室里,而不是在图书馆学习)。此外,父母批评子女的次数越多,子女通常会更加努力地去实现目标,以避免再次受到批评。

这一点与整个社会的风气也有关系。普莱尔表示,人们不应把失败看作是消极的事情,而是应该学会把错误看作是学习过程中的一个自然事件。

她说:“在美国社会,我们一直都在强调职业道德以及朝着宏伟目标努力奋斗。我认为,一再强调这种观念反而对当代的年轻人产生了不利影响,而且这种理念的宣传已经达到了扭曲的程度……我们一直在大肆宣扬,如果完美主义是你一心追求的目标,而且只要你努力工作,它是完全可以实现的——但这只是自欺欺人罢了。”

如果人们此前就存在类似心理问题,那么不良的应对机制也会滋生完美主义。如果你对工作业绩感到焦虑,你可能会增加自己的工作量,甚至达到一种疯狂的程度。

不健康的完美主义有哪些迹象

除了从事心理咨询和担任教授之外,普莱尔还在实验室研究了完美主义的人际间影响。她指出,非适应性完美主义者不合群的可能性更大,因为他们担心自己的高标准会成为一种普适标准,而自己的不足之处便会成为人们品头论足的对象。

他们还有可能出现拖延的现象,由于过于担心失败,他们会拒绝开始从事某项任务。

普莱尔说:“在大学阶段,这种现象可能表现为学生不交论文,或不参加考试。在职场中,它可能表现为错过工作的截止日期,或拒绝截止日期,因为从事一项任务并承担失败的风险对于他们来说是异常困难的。”

普莱尔称,另一方面,这些人可能会增加自己的工作量,作为一种“积极应对”的方式。它可能表现为,“一些人会增加自己的工作时长,而且可能是以其健康和自我护理为代价。”

关键点在于分辨个人的动机:他们加班的原因是因为自己乐在其中,还是因为他们试图避免遭到拒绝和失败?

总的来说,完美主义者应该注意的是:自身的行为是否已经影响了其生活。如果答案是肯定的,那么此人可能正在遭受非适应性完美主义的折磨。

应对方法

如果要进行治疗,非适应性完美主义者可以试着采用“放弃凡事必须完美”的方法,也就是允许自己在生活中一些“不是很重要”的事项上不必做到尽善尽美,例如橱柜中物品的摆放。

普莱尔称,假以时日,这种想法可能会在适当的时候融入工作的某些环节中。她补充说,它告诉我们“秉持高标准并不是什么坏事,‘但只要我愿意,我可以随时对其进行调整,而不是成为这些高标准的奴隶。’”

完美主义者还可以将注意力更多地放在当下。普莱尔说:“完美主义者通常非常看重结果”,但结果的出现,依据不同的目标,可能还需要数个小时或数年的时间。如果完美主义者更加关注整个过程,并将目标分解为更小、更容易管理的阶段性目标,那么就会让整个目标变得更加容易实现。

普莱尔还指出,完美主义者还应该“庆祝每一步所取得的成果”,并避免在这一过程中进行自我批评。

普莱尔说:“我想说的是,尽管这一切听起来真的很简单,但对于那些已经存有非适应性或不健康完美主义心态的人士来说,要做到这一点真的是非常、非常不容易。”

她建议非适应性完美主义者在这一过程中寻求心理咨询师的帮助。

普莱尔说:“我的很多客户反复说的一句话是:‘我真希望很久以前就接受这一治疗。’我同意你的看法,这样的话你就不必在这么长的时间中独自承受这份煎熬了。”(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Hard work and high standards are usually praised in American society. But promoting perfectionism can sometimes harm people’s mental health.

Healthy perfectionists “work really hard towards ambitious goals, and have resilience to continue to strive towards those goals even when things get in the way,” Dr. Jessica Pryor, a psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University and faculty member in the university’s graduate counseling program, told Fortune.

But people who take perfectionism to an unhealthy degree—what’s known as “maladaptive perfectionism“—react very differently to failure. Whether the goal is related to school, work, or personal life—any progress that is less than perfect deeply affects them.

“Individuals may become really frustrated, affected by the fact that they missed those goals, begin to ruminate on them, develop significant levels of self-criticism,” says Pryor. This can lead to a host of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and eating disorders like anorexia.

“At its worst, perfectionism can lead to suicidal ideation and suicide attempt,” says Pryor. “It’s a really lonely, painful place to be.”

Through her work at Northwestern University, Pryor aims to bring attention to maladaptive perfectionism, often disguised as a strong work ethic. More college students today say they have symptoms that are consistent with perfectionism, a combined product of social learning and heightened parental criticism, exacerbated by the rise of smartphones.

According to the American Psychological Association, the number of college students who report feeling the pressure of excessively high expectations by others increased one third between 1989 and 2016. While perfectionism is growing significantly within this younger population, it can impact anyone.

Who Does Perfectionism Affect?

Studies have shown that the problem is particularly acute among lawyers, physicians, and other high-achieving individuals, Pryor says.

“Those of us who have those natural predispositions [towards perfectionism] tend to seek out really rigorous, challenging careers,” says Pryor. “And once we’re in those really rigorous, challenging careers, we also get messages around being better than we are, and positive reinforcement for pushing really, really hard.”

Of all generations, millennials are the most suffer from the negative impacts of perfectionism, says Pryor. This could be because this generation’s parents now have the ability to monitor their kids at all hours via smart phone location trackers, creating increased anxiety about behavior and school performance (i.e. parents may ask why a child in college is in the dorms instead of at the library studying). Additionally, the more parents criticize their children, the more those children tend to push themselves to achieve in order to avoid criticism.

This is also connected to society as a whole, says Pryor. Instead of viewing failure as a negative experience, Pryor says more people should be taught to embrace mistakes as natural part of learning.

“In American society we’ve always had a strong message around work ethic and striving for ambitious goals,” she says. “I think we are doing our current young people a disservice by repeating this message, but doing so in a distorted way… we are giving a lot of messages that perfectionism is perfectly achievable if you want it enough, if you work hard enough—and that is just an illusion.”

Perfectionism can also develop as a failed coping mechanism to a preexisting mental health disorder. If you have anxiety about work performance, you may double down on your tasks to an unhealthy degree.

Spotting the Signs

Along with being a practicing psychologist and professor, Pryor studies the interpersonal implications of perfectionism in her lab. She says maladaptive perfectionists are more likely to withdraw from others, fearing their own high standards are held by everyone, and thus they’ll be judged for their imperfections.

They may also procrastinate, being so worried about failure that they refuse to begin the task at all.

“At the university level this could be a student who doesn’t turn in a paper, or doesn’t sit for an exam,” says Pryor. “In the professional world, this could be individuals who end up missing deadlines or pushing deadlines back because it’s so difficult for them to engage the task and risk failing at it.”

On the other hand, individuals may double down on work as a form of “active coping,” says Pryor. This could be “someone spending increasing amounts of time at their work, at the sacrifice of perhaps their well-being and their self-care.”

The key is to look for the individual’s motivation: Are they working extra hours because they enjoy it, or because they’re trying to avoid rejection and failure?

Overall, Pryor says perfectionists should be aware whether their actions are impairing their lives. If the answer is yes, the individual may be suffering from maladaptive perfectionism.

Treatment

To cure themselves, maladaptive perfectionists can experiment with “letting go of global perfectionism,” says Pryor. This means allowing yourself to be less than perfect in parts of your life that are “lower stakes,” like organizing the kitchen cabinets.

Eventually this behavior can be extended to parts of your professional life where it’s appropriate, says Pryor. She added that this teaches that “high standards are okay, ‘But then I can calibrate them when I wish to. I don’t have to be a slave to these high standards.'”

Perfectionists can also focus more on being in the moment. “Often perfectionists are very motivated by the outcome,” says Pryor, but that could be either hours or years away, depending on the goal. If the individual is more focused on the process, and breaks the goal into smaller, more manageable pieces, this eases the path towards one’s goal.

Pryor adds that individuals should also be “celebrating the accomplishment of each step,” and avoid self-criticism along the way.

“I would say all of this sounds really straightforward, and for those who are suffering from maladaptive or unhealthy perfectionism, this is much, much harder than it sounds,” says Pryor.

She recommends maladaptive perfectionists seek help from a therapist to help along this process.

“I have many clients who say the cliché, ‘I wish I had done this a long time ago,'” says Pryor. “And I agree, you didn’t need to suffer that long alone.”

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏