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Depression, How Meritocracy And Perfectibility Leads To It.

There are a lot of good things about modern society. Technological advances have allowed us to travel long distances within a short period of time and talk to people no matter where they are. But modern society has also made it easier for us to compare ourselves to others and made it harder to escape judgement. Here are two aspects of modern society that has led to higher levels of depression and anxiety.




How Meritocracy Leads To Depression And Anxiety

With the freedom that modern society allows us, we are now makers of our own fortune and misfortune. Destiny is fully in our hands and fate, a thing of the past. No matter who you are or where you come from, everyone has the ability to make it to the top as long as they are committed to the cause and talented enough. Sadly, this is not always the case. There are a lot of talented and committed people out there who have never made it. In the past these people would have been seen as unlucky. Their lack of success would have been chalked up to fate, whilst the success of another person would have been seen for what it truly was, a complex combination of various factors including luck, talent, status and connections. Modern society however paints this black-and-white. A lack of success is a sign of no talent or laziness. The people at the top deserve all their success and those at the bottom deserve all their failure. This in turn, changes the definition of poverty from a social problem into a lack of talent. If you are rich, you deserve it and if you are poor, you are no longer unlucky, you are just talentless.

Think for a second how meritocracy affects the average person working a nine-to-five job. If someone is promoted ahead of them, that person is the more talented person. This forces the person into a competition that he or she may not be interested in. Being content with life as it is, is no longer acceptable. You are reminded of all the people that are ahead of you and of your inadequacies. This causes you to become more anxious and leads to prolonged period of low-level depression.

depression and meritocracy

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How Perfectibility Leads To Depression And Anxiety




Another aspect of modern life that leads to depression and anxiety is the notion that perfection is within our grasp, not so much in what we do but who we are. We are expected to be spiritually content, mentally healthy, and accomplished. The section above about meritocracy is enough to prove that this is impossible but society promotes the idea of perfection anyway and as a result we end up hating ourselves. Instead of being seen as a sign of life, our emotional outburst, our fears, our discomforts and our mental unease, are seen as something wrong. Being unwell is an inescapable part of the human condition and not something divergent to it.

The key is to be acceptive of your spiritual and mental state no matter what it is and see it as something that is perfectly natural. As the weather changes, so do we. Although many of us may think of rain as something bad, it is in fact good. Without rain the plants don’t grow. Being reluctant to accept your feelings for what they are adds yet another layer of distress. You are sad but not allowed to be sad and therefore get even more upset. Living in such a state for a prolonged period of time will undoubtedly lead to depression.


Philip Andersson

Life Coach

Cross Culture Therapy

@CCTphilip


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Philip Andersson – Life Coach

Philip Andersson is a life-coach who is currently studying to become a psychotherapist. He treats people suffering from depression, phobias and anxiety. Having been raised in Hong Kong and having lived in England and Japan as an adult, Philip also treats people who are overcome with feelings of displacement and rudderlessness associated with a global-nomad lifestyle such as Third Culture Kids, Cross Culture Kids, Migrants and Asylum Seekers.

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