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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte McKernan

You Do Not Have To Be Perfect

Perfectionism not about healthy achievement and growth.

Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect and act perfectly we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield that, at its core, is about trying to earn approval and acceptance.

Instead of striving for perfection, accept yourself as a whole, complex being and prioritize the things that feel good to you.

Do You Have Perfectionist Beliefs?

Rate the intensity with which you believe each of these statements, with 100 percent indicating complete agreement and 0 percent indicating that you do not believe it at all.

____ I must be perfect or I will be rejected.

____ If I make a mistake, it will be horrible.

____ If I do it perfectly, then I will be accepted.

____ I must be perfect or I will be embarrassed.

____ If I make a mistake, I will be humiliated.

____ When I get it right, I will finally accept myself.

____ When I achieve perfection, I will find inner peace.

____ If I do it perfectly, then it will be rewarded.

____ If others do not approve of me, then I am not OK.

____ If I make a mistake, then I am worthless.

____ I'm not good enough. I must keep trying.

____ I must be perfect or others will disapprove of me.

____ If I do it perfectly, then everything will work outright.

____ I'll never be good enough.

____ If others approve of me, then I must be OK.

____ If I do it perfectly, then everyone will notice.

____ I must be perfect or I will fail.

____ Things should be done the right way.

____ There is a right way and a wrong way to do things.

____ It is possible to do things perfectly.

To overcome perfectionism, we need to be able to acknowledge our vulnerabilities to the universal experiences of shame, judgment, and blame, develop shame resilience, and practice self-compassion.

When we become more loving and compassionate with ourselves and we begin to practice shame resilience, we can embrace our imperfections. It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find our truest gifts: courage, compassion, and connection. Charlotte McKernan is a couple and individual therapist in Fort Collins, CO.


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