How should I deal with being a perfectionist?

Setting your sights high is admirable. However, beating yourself up because you haven't achieved "perfection" is dangerous and defeating.

Have you ever heard people say, "In a perfect world . . . "? Well, we don't live in a perfect world. Recognizing the importance of balance — good with bad, happy with sad, sunshine with gloomy days, work with play, serious study with a fun social life — is a critical part of growing up. We learn to strive in some areas, and set others aside. No one can do everything.

Why not ask yourself a simple question, "Why do I feel the need to be perfect?" Do you think you'll be unloved or unliked if your grade point average isn't high enough? Do you wonder if your boyfriend or your classmates will abandon you if you can't keep up with a frantic pace? Do you feel like something may sneak in and hold you back if you don't hurry up and "get things done"?

Set a time to talk with your parents, teachers, and counselors. They're on your side, and they want to see you succeed — without compromising your physical and mental health. High school is a time to prove yourself in more ways than just cranking out work that will put an "A" on your grade report. Moving through your teenage years means learning about yourself, as much as learning about English, world history, and higher math. You may realize your greatest achievements when you pause, prioritize, and appreciate the perfection of imperfection.