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Perfectionism: Myth vs Fact

To let go of perfectionist patterns, we’ll have to unwind some misconceptions in order to change.

MYTH: Perfectionism is the same thing as striving for excellence or to be our best.

FACT: Perfectionism is a striving for an impossibly high or unreasonable standard of perfection – and then beating ourselves up when we inevitably cannot attain that standard. We can still strive to be our best while letting go of unrealistic standards and a harsh inner critic. In fact, we’ll bring even more of our best to the table when we do so.

MYTH: Perfectionism is something that is “all bad” or makes us “flawed”

FACT: Perfectionists bring many positive qualities to the table. When we’re operating from a place of health, perfectionists can be discerning, reliable, helpful, organized and wise, to name just few of the positive characteristics we bring to any team or undertaking. The key is to not overdo these qualities, letting our perfectionism take them to an extreme. When we let go of patterns of perfectionism, we can work to maintain the positive attributes we want to keep, while challenging ourselves to work on the aspects of our perfectionism that may no longer be serving us well or holding us back from the life or career we want to lead.

MYTH: Perfectionism is a characteristic we’re born with that we can’t change.

FACT: We are not born as perfectionists without the ability to change. For most of us, perfectionism grows and evolves over time, and it may show up in some parts of our lives and not others. With intention, a willingness to challenge deeply-held assumptions, experimentation with new approaches, we can change. I’m not saying it will be easy, quick, or that it won’t come with ups and downs, but we can work together as a supportive community to start build new patterns and approaches – ones that are more sustainable and satisfying.

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