Perfectionism. Is it a good or a bad trait? When someone says they are a perfectionist, do you think of them as humble braggers or victims? As always, there isn’t a straightforward answer. However, one thing is for sure: “too much of anything is bad for you”.
This “evil” has been around for a while. Just ask any creative. They’ll tell you how incapacitating this trait can be. However, can you guess what generation is experiencing it the hardest? Yes, you’ve guessed right — millennials. As a matter of fact, the rise of perfectionism has become so prevalent among young people that researchers decided to dub this phenomenon as an “epidemic”.
So, why is this happening to millennials? I know what you’re thinking: social media. But wait a minute… Can one really blame it on social media? Are these social platforms the real culprits for this new “epidemic”?
Social Media And Perfectionism
Social media platforms are popular because people have made them popular. Let me emphasize the word “people” — “we” made them happen. So, what does this tell about ourselves? That we’re all too into ourselves. That’s right, it’s all about “me, me and me”.
All social media platforms have a sharing button. And what are we doing with it? We are sharing pictures, videos and thoughts. Most of the times, we are sharing personal stuff. It’s all about sharing something about “me” and my so-called “friends” should all like what I post — I want my “ego” to be stroked.
Having said that, I think it’s time to talk about narcissists. Actually, what’s the difference between narcissism and egocentrism? Well, they are all close in meaning but there are some nuances…
Egocentrics are people that are too in love with themselves. Self-esteem is good, but these people take it to another level. They lack empathy. The only opinion that matters is their own. Wait a minute, it gets better… Egocentric people will often make up an imaginary audience. Does this behaviour remind you something? Youtub… Oops I’m stop there. I’m not ready to talk about it yet.
So… how does narcissism fit into this narrative? In many ways, narcissists are born out of egocentrics. They are like an upgraded version, but not in a good way. For instance, an egocentric is incapable of seeing someone else’s point of view. But a narcissist might see that point of view, they just don’t care about it. On top of that, narcissists often seek appraisal from others, whereas egocentrics don’t.
Millennials: The Special Generation
Now, I don’t want to sound judgemental but I believe most millennials are either narcissists or egocentrics. Nonetheless, I’m not just going to sit here bashing on millennials. You know why? It’s no their fault. They were bred into thinking they were “special”.
If you’re a millennial, chances are you were born in period of economic prosperity. You definitely had it easier than your grandparents. That all sounds great but there’s a catch: the good times were not meant to last. So… millennials are the most educated generation, but they aren’t the best paid generation. In a certain sense, millennials had everything that made them believe they were going to become great adults. However, most of the things they expected for their lives, didn’t happen. It’s hard to continue to feel “special” when you can’t keep a job or have to move back to your parents house.
How does the upbringing contribute to one’s addiction to social media and perfectionism? Well, if you grew up thinking that you were special — you’ll often seek ways to validate that affirmation. What screams more “validate me” than a social media platform? That’s why the “like button” exists — to make people feel better about themselves.
Social Media And Unrealistic Expectations
Setting unrealistic expectations is already bad enough for your mental health, but chasing them it’s even more exhausting. You see, social media is not the real culprit. “We” are the ones who are giving the power to these platforms.
You know what’s really sad? The fact that we believe that everything is real. Let me explain. This goes for everything: body image, relationship expectations and other “goals” that you might have.
There’s beautiful and there’s made. A classic example of “made” is someone who had plastic surgery in order to look of attractive. Yes, I said it. Note, I’m not saying that those people are not attractive, but they are not beautiful. So next time you think of #goals, think of beautiful. If you think about it, what’s the point of chasing something that’s “made”? That’s the real question for all of those measuring themselves against unrealistic expectations.
Now, beautiful and made are applicable to moments too. Not all “awesome” pics you’ve ever posted have a happy story behind them. Sometimes, you were just trying to “make” a moment beautiful. However, you know they were not truly beautiful moments. Having said that, it’s wrong to compare your low with someone’s highlighted high. Don’t do it because it’s going to make you feel miserable.
Having said that, social media is not the “real culprit” for millennials’ perfectionism. However, it sure does play a role at steering them into the wrong direction. Social media is not the fire, it’s the firewood that makes the fire even bigger.