“I’m a perfectionist.”
“I’m not ready for my presentation because I haven’t had time to practice and I’m a perfectionist.”
“I need more time—I’m a perfectionist.”
Do any of those statements sound familiar? What if you knew that perfectionism is an excuse to protect you—would that change how you feel about it? Instead of saying it with pride, would you consider it’s a habitual excuse that isn’t serving you? In fact, it’s keeping you stuck!
After listening to this clip of Dr. Brené Brown’s explanation of perfectionism (it starts at 1:55 and lasts less than 90 seconds, with her talking about comparison at the beginning and handling change at the end), you might think about approaching your habit in a healthier way.
In the meantime, when you hear yourself claiming your perfectionism like a badge of honor, stop and ask yourself, “Where is the shame around this?” The answer may set you free!
President, The Zen Speaker
"I think perfectionism is something we don’t understand very well, so what we think it is, is we think it’s being our best selves. Actually, in the research the opposite of perfectionism is striving for excellence or healthy striving. Perfectionism is actually a defense mechanism that says to us…you that thing that whispers in your ear…‘Hey, if you look perfect, do perfect and accomplish perfect, you can avoid or minimize shame and judgement and blame.’ So, perfectionism is not about striving for excellence or being our best selves, it’s how we self-protect. Have you ever gotten that feeling when you’re going to start something and you’re like, oh, this has got to be perfect? How many of us…all of us?
So, I think the question to ask is, what am I afraid of? …there’s a great Aristotle quote: ‘If you don’t want to be criticized, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.’ And most of us choose not to live that way. Put your best effort in and realize that no one can contribute what you can contribute but you!"