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The Bind of Perfectionism

There has been much written about the cost and cause of perfectionism, as well as its addictive nature. In my opinion, author Brene Brown does a brilliant job of linking the internal and external life of shame with its role in informing and perpetuating perfectionism.

In a recent session with a client we were talking about the lack of play, creativity and freedom in her life. I certainly know that feeling – to be bound up, as if I have tied myself up – where every move, action and utterance has to have purpose, direction and must be perfect. Don’t deny it, many of you know this feeling – come clean.

On the other hand, sometimes my kids complain about my silliness, “Dad can you just be serious. I mean it, be serious for once.” Other times I am compared to comedian Jerry Lewis. I wear their frustrations and the label as a badge of honor – reflecting my willingness to be imperfect. I feel more creative and absolutely more freed up.

To adhere to perfectionism is to set ourselves up. It leads us down a path of less happiness, of being bound, frustrated and reinforcing shame. Play, be silly, and let others become frustrated with your silliness. Take the risk of them being embarrassed by you, laugh at your awkwardness, and embrace your freedom away from perfectionism. Be happier.

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