Perfectionism is not the path that leads us to our fits and to our sense of purpose; it's the hazardous detour.
Like vulnerability, perfectionism has accumulated around it a considerable mythology. I think it's helpful to start by looking at what perfectionism isn't.
Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence.
Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth.
Perfectionism is a defensive move. It is the belief that if we do things perfectly and look perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame.
Perfectionism is a twenty ton shield that we lug around, thinking it will protect us, when in fact it is the thing that is really preventing us from being seen.
Perfectionism is not self improvement.
Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval.
Most perfectionists grew up being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people pleasing, appearance, sports).
Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system:
I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it.
Please. Perform. Perfect.
Healthy striving is self focused: How can I improve?
Perfectionism is other focused: What will they think?
Perfectionism is a hustle.
The fear of failing, of making mistakes, not meeting people's expectation and being criticized keeps us outside of the arena where healthy competition and striving unfold.
Daring Greatly - Brene Brown