“At its core, perfectionism means striving for perfection, for the best, for the maximum,” said the psychotherapist and perfectionism expert Nils Spitzer a few years ago in a lecture at the international congress of the Austrian Society for Behavioral Therapy ÖGVT. Actually a good thing, you might think. We all want the spine surgeon to work as completely and error-free as possible during every operation on her patient’s back. That the crew in the hotel at the holiday destination has the goal of offering holiday guests the best possible service. And we also want to get the best out of ourselves, be it in terms of work or private life.

At the same time, a survey by the Techniker Krankenkasse from 2021 showed that for almost half of Germans, “high demands on themselves” are the biggest stress factor in life alongside work. The question remains: is there good and bad perfectionism? How much striving for the best is healthy? And what can I do to loosen up?

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