Perfectionism is not Self Improvement

Perfectionism is not Self Improvement. That sounds simple enough. Nevertheless I was caught up in this predicament for years. It is so easy to mistake perfectionism for self improvement.

I knew that something was wrong with striving to achieve this ever unattainable perfection. That this struggle has nothing to do with improvement and betterment. But until now I was not really able to name the distinction.

Progress over perfection

Until I read an article called: Choose progress over perfection. Apart from the obvious hook of the title the article went on to discuss perfectionism. And there I clearly read:

  • Perfectionism is NOT striving to do your best
  • Perfectionism is NOT self improvement
  • Perfectionism IS trying to earn approval and acceptance

The article went on to suggest self-compassion, self-kindness and mindfulness as the cure of perfectionism, but honestly all I needed for my cure was this clarity in stating the obvious. I wasn’t trying to get better. I was trying to gain approval. From others.

Maybe this distinction will also help you. Have you also been lured by perfectionism?

Send me a reply with your story. I would love to read it.

Note: Here are two books mentioned in the article that offer relevant insights to anyone interested.

  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  • Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist