Perfectionism Always Comes At A Cost

In the business world you’ll often hear people use the term “cost-benefit analysis.”  What they area expressing is that both the costs and the benefits must be examined prior to making any important decision.

Certainly both entities can be measured in material terms.  But I propose that the most significant measures are related to the non-material elements — our heart and soul.

What Is Perfectionism? What Is It Not?

Brene’ Brown — nationally acclaimed speaker, teacher, and author — has done significant research into the effects of perfectionism in one’s life, family, workplace, and so on.  Although once in a while Brene’s views come across as a little liberal to me, i really like the overall concepts from which she teaches.

Perfectionism costs way too muchThe remainder of my blog today is going to be an excerpt from an article by Brene’ entitled “4 Destructive Traits of Perfectionism, From Dr. Brene’ Brown, and Brene’s List of 5 Things Perfectionism Is Not.”

Here are Brene’s definitions of perfectionism:

    1. Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of blame, judgement, and shame.
    2. Perfectionism is an unattainable goal. It’s more about perception than internal motivation, and there is no way to control perception, no matter how much time and energy is spent trying.
    3. Perfectionism is addictive, because when we invariably do experience shame, judgement and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough. Rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to look and do everything just right.
    4. Perfectionism actually sets us up to feel shame, judgement and blame, which then leads to more shame, judgement and blame: It’s my fault. I’m feeling this way because I’m not good enough. (See also Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David’s tips for stopping destructive self-talk)

And, here’s what perfectionism is NOT:

    1. Perfectionism is not striving for excellence. It’s not about healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is a defensive move.
    2. Perfectionism is not the self-protection we think it is. It’s a 20 ton shield we lug around, thinking it will protect us, when in fact it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from being seen.
    3. Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfection is, at its core, about trying to earn approval. Early praise for achievement and performance has become a dangerous and debilitating belief system: “I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it, please, perform, perfect, prove.”
    4. Perfectionism is not the key to success. In fact, research shows perfectionism hampers achievement and is correlated with depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis, or missed opportunities. The fear of failing, making mistakes, not meeting people’s expectations, and being criticized keeps us outside the arena where healthy competition and striving unfolds.
    5. Perfectionism is not a way to avoid shame. Perfectionism is a function of shame.

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