Nushell Wisdom: Perfectionism is about Self-Criticism, Not about Success

Nutshell Wisdom: Perfectionism is about Self-Criticism, Not about Success

A perfectionist is not someone who does things perfectly; a perfectionist is someone who believes he or she is supposed to do things perfectly. Perfectionism is a condition of constant pain, and self-absorption. Contrary to popular opinion, striving for perfection is not productive; it is destructive — at its worst, suicidal. By constantly expecting the impossible of yourself (perfection), you set yourself up to fail — over and over again.

To be successful you must become both optimistic and realistic. This requires that you come to terms with your own human imperfection. To pretend that your very real human flaws do not exist is certain self-sabotage, as is thinking of yourself as nothing but flaws.

In your efforts (imperfect efforts) to recognize that perfection is not even one of your choices, you will come face to face with perfectionism’s energy source: self-criticism. You must learn to identify and reject the highly negative-biased view associated with your self-critical thinking. In other words, since we don’t know how to get rid of self-critical thinking, you will need to learn to disagree with your own negative views of yourself. Claim the right to disagree with yourself — and exercise that right often.

Instead of seeking perfection, try this: Do the very best you can. Challenge yourself to stretch beyond your current level of competence, but do not expect the impossible — do not expect perfection. Remember this simple plan: When you fall, get up. When you forget, remember. Expect to fall and forget frequently.

In a Nutshell

Perfectionism is a state of
constant self-victimization.

Thom Rutledge