The statement "it's okay to not be okay" is often used to acknowledge and validate the complex range of emotions and experiences that people go through. 

This feeling of accepting their problem is something just not possible for some individuals which is called "Perfectionism" because they want to be perfect in every way. Perfectionism is all about striving for flawlessness and setting extremely high standards for yourself and sometimes others. So, these people just cannot accept that there can be something wrong with them or others. This attitude striving for flawlessness makes them overly critical for self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations. It involves a consistent need to achieve high standards, often beyond what is necessary or attainable, and can manifest in various domains of life, including work, academics, personal relationships, and physical appearance. It can sound positive on the surface, but it often leads to problems. It should be noted that 'Perfectionism' is a personality trait, and not a mental health condition; but people who exhibit perfectionistic traits are more likely to develop certain mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties and eating disorders. 

Societal norms and gender roles may contribute to different manifestations of perfectionism in men and women. Housewives serving at home, may also be victims of it. Societal Pressure may lead to specific expectations regarding women's roles and behaviour, including how they manage household responsibilities and care for their families. These societal pressures can contribute to feelings of perfectionism as women strive to meet or exceed these expectations to gain approval and acceptance from their communities.

Key Characteristics of Perfectionism:

Here are some key aspects of perfectionism:

Setting unrealistic expectations or high standards: Perfectionists often set goals and standards that are nearly impossible or exceedingly high and difficult to achieve, which can lead to disappointment and frustration.

Harsh self-criticism or self-evaluation:  Perfectionists are often their own harshest critics. They tend to be very critical of themselves, focusing on their perceived shortcomings or any mistakes they make rather than their accomplishments and strengths.

Fear of failure: There is a pervasive fear of making mistakes or failing to meet these high standards, which can lead to significant anxiety and stress. The fear of not being perfect can also lead to procrastination, avoidance of challenges, and difficulty taking risks. Due to the fear of not meeting their high standards, perfectionists may procrastinate to avoid the possibility of failure or imperfection.

Procrastination: The fear of not being perfect can also lead to procrastination, avoidance of challenges, and difficulty taking risks. 

All-or-Nothing Thinking: Perfectionists tend to view outcomes in black-and-white terms, seeing anything less than perfect as a failure.

Validation Seeking: There is a strong need for approval and validation from others, and perfectionists may feel that their worth is contingent on their achievements.

Types of Perfectionism:

1. Self-Oriented Perfectionism: Involves imposing high standards on oneself and being highly self-critical.

2. Other-Oriented Perfectionism: Involves imposing unrealistic standards on others and being critical of others' performances.

3. Socially Prescribed Perfectionism: Involves the perception that others have high standards for oneself, leading to pressure to meet those standards.

Causes of Perfectionism:

Perfectionism can affect individuals of any gender, but research suggests that women may be more likely to experience certain aspects of perfectionism than men. In many cultures, including Indian culture, there may be specific societal expectations and cultural norms that contribute to perfectionistic tendencies in these roles. People may struggle to accept their flaws for a variety of reasons, including:

Social Expectations: Society often places a high value on perfection and success, which can create pressure to appear flawless. People may fear judgment or rejection if they openly acknowledge their flaws, so they hide or deny them instead. Also, social comparison can be a common aspect of perfectionism, where housewives may engage in comparisons with others in their social circles, whether it's neighbours, relatives, or friends. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy or pressure to meet perceived standards of success or achievement in domestic and caregiving roles.

Cultural Expectations: Cultural norms and values can shape how individuals perceive and respond to their flaws. In some cultures, there may be a strong emphasis on saving face or maintaining a certain image of perfection, making it difficult for people to openly acknowledge their imperfections. Our Indian society often places a high value on traditional gender roles, with women typically expected to fulfil domestic responsibilities, including caregiving, cooking, and maintaining the household. These roles may come with implicit or explicit expectations of perfection, as women may feel pressure to excel in these areas to meet societal standards and fulfil their perceived duties. In family dynamics, women are also supposed to have respect for elders, which can place additional pressure on housewives to meet the needs and expectations of their family members. This can contribute to feelings of perfectionism as they strive to create harmonious family environments and meet the needs of their loved ones.

Self-Esteem Issues: Accepting one's flaws requires a certain level of self-awareness and self-compassion. Individuals with low self-esteem may struggle to acknowledge their flaws because they fear it will confirm their negative self-image or make them feel even worse about themselves.

Body Image: Women may experience higher levels of body dissatisfaction and engage in more appearance-related perfectionism compared to men. This can be influenced by societal pressures to conform to narrow beauty standards and ideals of having perfect body curves.

Career and Achievement: Men may be more likely to experience self-oriented or achievement-oriented perfectionism, which involves setting high standards and striving for excellence in work or academic settings. This can be influenced by societal expectations for men to be ambitious, competitive, and successful in their careers. It is equally valid for women as well.

Fear of Failure: Admitting to flaws can feel like admitting to failure, which can be uncomfortable or even frightening for some people. They may worry that acknowledging their flaws will make them seem weak, incompetent, or inadequate in the eyes of others.

Vulnerability: Accepting flaws requires vulnerability, as it involves being honest and open about one's shortcomings. This can be challenging for individuals who have experienced past hurt or rejection, as they may fear being hurt or rejected again if they show vulnerability.

Lack of Self-Awareness: Some people may simply lack the self-awareness necessary to recognize their own flaws. They may be unaware of how their behaviour or attitudes impact themselves and others, making it difficult for them to acknowledge and address their flaws.

Response to Stress: Research suggests that women may be more likely to use maladaptive coping strategies in response to perfectionism-related stress, such as rumination or social comparison. This could contribute to higher levels of distress and mental health problems among women with perfectionistic tendencies.

Effects of Perfectionism:

While perfectionism can drive individuals to achieve and excel, it often has negative consequences, such as:

  • Mental Health Issues: Increased risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
  • Stress and Burnout: Chronic stress and a higher likelihood of burnout due to constant striving for perfection.
  • Reduced Productivity: Procrastination and excessive time spent on tasks can reduce overall productivity.
  • Relationship Strain: Unrealistic expectations and critical behaviour can lead to strained personal and professional relationships.

How can Homeopathy help:

In Murphy's Repertory, there is a rubric regarding perfectionism. "MIND, Idealistic". It is the most important rubric but definitely not the only one, regarding it. Here are a few important Homeopathic remedies which might help to cope with this impulsive feeling of being a perfectionist.

Arnica: It is suited to people with history of falls bumps or blows. They are afraid of touch, or the approach of anyone, especially Doctor, so even if they are hurt, they deny their problems. They say that there is nothing wrong with him and want to be left alone. It is usually indicated in cases when any injury, however remote, seems to have caused the present trouble.

Aurum met: They set high standards for themselves and can be workaholics due to their highly ambitious and driven mentality. They also have strong sense of responsibility, and they take their commitments very seriously. Aurum met individuals can take criticism very personally. They suffer from deep sadness and despair, especially when feeling like a failure or facing loss. They withdraw themselves from loved ones and may even have suicidal thoughts. Every opportunity is sought for self-destruction. Feeling of self-condemnation and utter worthlessness and hopelessness prevail.

Calc carb: They are not exactly perfectionist personalities, but they constantly work hard thinking about what the other people will say about them if they don't do things a certain way. This can make them emotionally or sometimes even physically sick. Due to over work or cleaning household stuff etc., they have tendency for sprains and strains. Calc is also chronic of Rhus tox in such conditions. 

Carcinosinum: It is an important Nosode in Homeopathy which is suited to people who have family history of cancer and are very sensitive emotionally. They are typical perfectionist personalities with being very sensitive for criticism. 

Causticum: It is a remedy for people with strong sense of justice and fairness. They can be idealistic and bothered by injustice to them or to anyone around. Least thing makes them cry. They are sad, hopeless and intensely sympathetic. They suffer from ailments from long-lasting grief, sudden emotions. Thinking of complaints, aggravates, their condition.

Ignatia: Ignatia is a great contradictory remedy associated with emotional distress and grief. They experience deep sadness and grief after a loss, disappointment, or emotional shock. They tend to bottle up their feelings or cry easily. They pick up on subtle cues and can be easily hurt by words or actions, which makes them over sensitive emotionally. They also dwelling on the past negative experiences and have difficulty to let go.

Kali carb: It is suited to people with perfectionistic tendencies. These can be ladies, mothers or housewives who feel a strong sense of duty or obligation to care for their families and prioritize others' needs above their own. They generally suffer from backache and have a tired feeling throughout the day. They often tend to perspire a lot and in long run they can develop hypertension.

Lycopodium: It is suited to people who have excessive fear of failure. It can be suited to students who are afraid of examination because they just cannot accept their failure. So, they have extreme anxiety and digestive issues before examination. They tend to procrastinate things and also are afraid of confrontation. They have relationship difficulties and may never want to marry because of not being able to be in a committed relationship.

Natrum mur: Natrum mur is a remedy linked to emotional sensitivity and holding onto past hurts. They hold onto negative emotions and memories, hindering their ability to move forward. They may withdraw when feeling overwhelmed or upset and seek solitude. Despite their reserved nature, they crave deep and meaningful relationships. They are reliable and dependable. Due to their high standards and perfectionism, they can be quite critical of themselves and others.

Platina: It is suited to women with an arrogant and proud nature. They feel self-exaltation, with strong contempt for others. It is a strong feature of this remedy that physical symptoms disappear as soon as mental symptoms of these people develop.

Sulphur: This is great Hahnemannian anti-psoric remedy. It is most suited to people who have dirty looking skin, prone to skin affections and they have aversion to being washed. These are people who don't have a bath daily, and still think that they are beautiful. They are selfish type of people who are self-centered with no regard for others. They are generally lazy and tend to procrastinate things because of their perfectionism. Sulphur subjects are nearly always irritable, depressed, thin and weak, even with good appetite and are greatest critics of everything.

It's important to recognize that the experience of perfectionism can vary widely among individuals, and not everyone will experience it in the same way or to the same degree. Additionally, perfectionism is not unique to any particular culture or demographic group and can affect individuals from diverse backgrounds. Addressing perfectionism may involve challenging unrealistic expectations, fostering self-compassion, and self-acceptance and seeking support from loved ones or mental health professionals, when needed.

Remember Homeopathic remedies are prescribed based on a holistic approach, considering not just emotional and mental states but also physical symptoms. A qualified homeopath will take a detailed case history to determine the appropriate remedy for you. Therefore, self-diagnosis and self-medication is never recommended as it can be harmful. Choice of the right remedy in the right dosage should solely be left upon your Homeopathic physician. Always seek advice of a qualified homeopathic physician before taking any medicines. For online consultation or any related queries consult our expert homeopathic doctors and book an appointment with us.

Disclaimer: The author disclaims all liability for any loss or risk, personal or otherwise incurred as a consequence of use of any material in this article. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.