As a recovering Perfectionist and an aspiring good-enoughist, I’ve found it extremely helpful to bust some of the myths about perfectionism so that we can develop a definition that accurately captures what it is and what it does to our lives.

  • Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievements and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame. It’s a shield. Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.
  • Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn  approval and acceptance. Most perfectionists were raised being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule-following, people-pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, we adopt this dangerous and debilitating belief system. I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect . Healthy striving is self focused – How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused — What will they think?

Excerpt from “Gifts of Imperfection”

This is just a piece of what I relate to. I do have more to share on this topic and will do so in bits and pieces. I don’t want to overwhelm you as it is a heavy, thought provoking topic.

I welcome your thoughts and views to this or any of my writings.



2 thoughts on “Perfectionism

  1. i now have a clear understanding of what perfectionism is. I’m glad I took myself out of that loop a long time ago. That quote is 100% right. As long as perfectionism exists in your life, the fun won’t be there. Thanks for sharing!

  2. this is interesting and a lot to think about. i went to a painting class today. we have a painters’ prayer that we say before we start our class. one of the things that we say is “acceptance of where we are as artists today.” If we are not perfect, that is OK. We are where we need to be today. It is always a process of growth. So I am happy to be less than perfect because I know that there is room for improvement.
    I appreciate everything that you said, especially about trying to do your best to make yourself happy.
    I think that I make other people happy when I am focused on making myself happy because I believe that my joy spills out and that others can see it.
    Have a great day!

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