Millennials Pursuit Of Perfection Is Leading To Depression

pursuit of perfection, social media, millennials

Millennials Pursuit Of Perfection Is Leading To Depression

Written by: Emilyn Gil

Practice makes perfect!

I heard this countless times during my childhood piano lesson days. I got it from my teacher, who cheerfully encouraged me to practice every day, from my mom, who persistently sat me down at the piano to do it and from my older siblings, who effortlessly flourished through “Fur Elise” and “Clair de lune.”

But whether or not you spent 30 minutes every day clunking out “Hot Cross Buns” and “Good King Wenceslas” on the keyboard, chances are you’ve heard this phrase just as much as I have.

And yet, as well-meaning as the phrase may be, it may be doing you more harm than good.

The Dark Side Of Perfectionism

No one is perfect. We know this. Yet the world is filled with perfectionists stressing and overworking themselves to meet an impossible standard. Due to the Psychological Bulletin, perfectionism throughout the world has been steadily increasing over time, which in turn has been increasing depression. This is especially true for millennials today.

So that leaves us with a question of why? What has changed from generation to generation that drives people today hopelessly towards perfection?

There are several reasons outlined in the Psychological Bulletin. The rise of neoliberalism, increasingly controlling parents and stronger meritocracy are important pieces of the puzzle. But the most intriguing and prevalent drive for perfectionism is the ever-present social media.

The Depressing Truths Of Social Media

The one constant thing at every event, landmark, or occasion is social media posting. When you’re looking great, take a selfie. If you’re at a birthday party, tweet about what a good time you’re having. If you take a trip, update your friends with filtered photos and clever captions.

With a society so centered on media, it’s hard to keep yourself from getting caught up in it. And for millennials who have known nothing different, the effects are astounding.

1. Likes Equal Success

Researchers have found that how people perceive success is based on how many likes, comments and shares they receive. This is especially true for teenage girls and whether they consider themselves beautiful or not. The more likes they get, the better they feel. This naturally leads to a drive for flawless features and an envious life.

2. Social Media’s Direct Link To Depression

Studies show that the more time a person spends on social media, the more depressed they become. It has also been shown that the more social media platforms a person has, the more likely it is for them to have increased levels of anxiety and depression. People who are so focused on presenting themselves positively to the world through social media can quickly be taken over by the depression that comes with it.

3. Fear Of Missing Out

You may have heard of or experienced from time to time a fear of missing out (FoMO). FoMO can occur when you start to feel that there are exciting or interesting things going on without you and you become anxious about not being there. FoMO easily leads into the belief that your life just isn’t as good as anyone else’s and gives you the urge to create a better or “perfect” life. FoMO has also been associated with a lowered mood and less satisfaction with life.

The Positive Side

The bad news is, no matter how much you practice, perfection just isn’t possible. The good news is that reducing the time you spend on social media can greatly improve your self worth, your mood and satisfaction with life and can even help you conquer the negative effects of perfectionism.

So who’s with me? Next time you get the urge to post or to browse social media, take the moment to instead look around you. Live in the moment, enjoy what and who is around you, and appreciate who you are in that moment. Perfection may be impossible, but don’t let that stop you from being the incredible, fascinating, wonderful YOU!

Emilyn Gil

Emilyn Gil

Emilyn Gil is a 22 year old English Major at UVU. She started writing at age 6, and since then has won several awards including the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key and was featured in the Kolob Canyon Review in Cedar City. Aside from the written word, her other passions include performing in the occasional musical theater production, and playing piano, guitar, and ukulele. Some of her favorite pastimes are baking, napping, and spending time with family. She likes monkeys, homemade rolls, and the color yellow. She has traveled to Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, and Canada, and currently resides in Orem, Utah with her husband Jorge. You can find more of her work online at emilyaddn.blogspot.com or on Instagram at @emilyncan.
Emilyn Gil

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