Sunday, November 02, 2008

Perfectionism

Quotes from The Worn Out Woman by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray regarding perfectionism:

Many women secretly believe they must be perfect, or nearly perfect, in everything they do. They may give lip service to "nobody's perfect," but the despair they feel when they fail reveals their perfectionism.

Perfectionists strive for the unattainable. They need to be first or best and try never to make a mistake, which they see as a sign of failure or unworthiness... Because of this, perfectionists are rarely happy. They frequently slip into depression and are often disappointed. Sometimes they're so worn out by their own expectations that they fail to do anything at all.

At the heart of perfectionism is fear--fear of making a mistake and being judged, fear of failure and rejection. The faulty belief underlying perfectionist behavior is this: If I could get everything right, life would be good. People would love me, and then I could finally love myself. The problem is that as soon as you think you have everything right, something goes wrong.

The chapter goes on to say that perfectionism reveals a lack of faith. In a sense, perfectionism is really a way of playing God with our own lives....we try to preempt His work and get it right without His help.

A few principles to help you fight perfectionism (the short version...each principle is elaborated in the book):

Admit that perfection is impossible.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
Accept your weaknesses and failures.
Set realistic and reachable goals.
Aim for excellence, not perfection.

This chapter uses phrases such as "living human" and "accept your own humanity."

Henry Van Dyke said, "Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."

5 Comments:

  • I have the perfectionist problem too...

    then if it's not perfect...
    I eat like crazy.

    By Blogger Terri@SteelMagnolia, at Mon Nov 03, 01:07:00 PM  

  • I read somewhere that perfectionism is paralyzing. You feel that if you can't do it just right, you can't get started on it at all. This is so true, and doing nothing is so much worse than doing something. I find myself facing this all the time. I don't want to vacuum because I haven't dusted, and I don't want to dust until I've picked up, and I need to put the stack of pictures in albums, but first I have to print the ones that are still on my camera, and....

    In the meantime, nothing has gotten accomplished. It doesn't have to be perfect. You just have to DO.

    By Blogger Erin, at Mon Nov 03, 09:47:00 PM  

  • Holy cow it has been a while since I was here. Last I recalled you were recovering from having your blog hijacked. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, from the pictures she is a real cutie! I like the B/W one of you two.

    Hope you are well. (I'll read more later :)

    By Blogger g-man, at Tue Nov 04, 03:17:00 PM  

  • Chucky the rugrat perhaps sang it best: ya caint pleeze ebree one so you gots to pleeze yourslef.



    meow

    By Anonymous sauerkraut, at Wed Nov 12, 08:17:00 PM  

  • I'm reading this post to my 12 year old middle daughter. She is the queen of perfectionism.
    Well said.

    By Blogger EE, at Sun Dec 07, 07:52:00 PM  

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