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Is Perfectionism Paralyzing You?

If you have never read Brené Brown's books, my question to you is: what are you waiting for? Brené delves into topics that are off limits in most social circles. The majority of people are not comfortable discussing ideas around shame, vulnerability, failure, and lack of belonging. Brené dives into these issues with courage and brutal honesty.

In her book "Daring Greatly", she takes a head-on leap at perfectionism. So many people assume that being a perfectionist means that you have high standards and are in pursuit of excellence. Brené points out that perfectionism is not about self improvement, healthy achievement or growth. Perfectionism has everything to do with worrying about how other people perceive you; it is all about winning the approval of others: "what will they think of me?"

Rather than being the key to success, perfectionism actually prevents you from stepping out and taking risks that are a necessary part of this journey. If we are unwilling to fail, then we are unable to succeed. Often our proudest achievements come in the wake of our greatest failures. The fear of failure or making mistakes is like a straight jacket. It paralyzes you, leaving you immobilized and fearful.

Brené tells us that perfectionism is strongly correlated with depression, anxiety and addiction. It is actually a form of shame, which is ironic because underlying perfectionism is the belief that being perfect can protect you from shame, judgment and blame.

Realizing that perfectionism is an unattainable goal is the first step to overcoming it. It simply does not exist because we are fallible, imperfect human beings. Start by telling yourself that "good" is good enough. You are enough. Perfectionism is the enemy of "done". A good job accomplished is superior to a perfect job that never gets done.

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