The Dis-Ease of Perfectionism


The Universe is clearly trying to tell me something, and it wants me to share it with you. In the space of less than a week, the following resources have come to me through disparate avenues:

  1. perfectionism Well, shit. Now you tell me.
  2. A whole video on getting out of the gap between your ideals and where you currently are.
  3. And this article on trauma (it’s not necessarily what you think) and work addiction.

The Source of Perfectionism

According to Dr. Gabor Maté, perfectionism is an addiction to validation. And this need for validation comes out of trauma, which “is the loss of some essential part of you, like a sense of peace, vitality or presence.” Whoa. Who doesn’t identify with that, even if your dis-ease isn’t perfectionism?

Maybe your trauma was a caused by a single violent episode, a steady stream of low to high-grade stress, or even a minor wounding. No matter the cause, or how quickly the trauma influenced you, the result is the same. You end up looking to some outside source for validation of your self-worth. “Self-esteem is now that the individual consciously thinks about himself; it’s the quality of self-respect manifested in his emotional life and behaviors.”

It can also show up as needing to be in control of everything. A perfectionist and control freak are often two sides of the same person. And it’s not limited to work. This applies to all areas of life. What do you have to have just right or you flip out?

Keeping Perfectionism in your Rear-View

A quick summary of Learning How to Avoid the Gap:

“There’s a permanent gap between your highest ambitions (which are always stretching and growing) and the reality you’re living today. This can give you great inspiration and motivation, but it can also be intimidating or disheartening if you fall into “The Gap.”

With this definition, which is the same as the definition of perfectionism, it is impossible for you to ever reach your goals. If you stay in The Gap, you’re constantly unsatisfied with yourself. On the other hand, if you can appreciate your progress you’re much more likely to be happy with yourself. And being happy with yourself eliminates the dis-ease of perfectionism.

So keep your goals, and keep growing them, but keep a little perspective on it all and see how far you’ve really come. Because you don’t want to get to the point of a nervous breakdown or general burn-out.





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