Perfectionism vs Compassion

I’m still reading Brene Brown’s book. I never thought I was a perfectionist until today.

“Perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life-paralysis……It’s terrifying to risk when you’re a perfectionist; your self-worth is on the line.”

I’m not neat or needing to be perfect about my clothes or hair. So I thought this didn’t apply to me. But I started thinking how “I used to” get crazy if I was late. It felt like I was going to literally die and I’d be yelling at the kids and really feel out of control.

Or if I made a mistake at work or didn’t know something. Panic would set in. I didn’t want to admit that I needed help.

I am also secretly ashamed that I have papers all over my desk and that I’m organized. And I can’t wrap a beautiful gift or set a gorgeous table like my sister.

I invite people to parties randomly and sometimes forget who I invite. My sister, on the other hand, has a real list and follows up until she gets the attendance perfectly.

I don’t feel shame when I’m alone because no one can see me. It’s safe here. Read on my friends, this was eye opening to me………….

According to Brene Brown, perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment and blame…..Perfectionism is unattainable……It’s addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment or blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough…….it leads to self-blame: It’s my fault. I’m feeling this way because “I’m not good enough.”

Or in my case, “I shouldn’t be the way I am. If I was better, it would be different so it’s my fault. Always my fault. If you look at my last blog, you will see it. Instead of just being disappointed, I blamed myself and wasted three days being strangled by the octopus.

“My wrinkles are my fault because I love the sun.” VS my mother told me my dry skin is genetic.

“My clients cancelled because I suck.” VS they have everything and wouldn’t come to see me so why waste my time when I could spend it some where more productive.


My daughter just called me. “I bought food and now I look at it in my refrigerator and I’m afraid I’m going to waste it and I’m trying to save my money so how stupid am I for buying too much.”

“I always beat myself up for the way I spend my time. It’s never ok. I’m always thinking I should be doing something more productive.” These are her most powerful shame making thoughts. It’s all about being perfect according to some self-proclaimed standard of unattainable bull shit.

I can relate. And I told her about shame. And that we can practice “Shame resilience” and “Self-compassion.” We can embrace our imperfections or bring some play to them.

Because it really feels like we should be shot when we do something imperfect. I get anxious and panicked if I’m going to be late. I have to literally talk myself down. It’s not fun and not funny. Bringing play could make them less serious.

There’s way more to say about this but I have to get going.

I am definitely loving this book. It’s called: “The Gifts of Imperfection.” One last thing before I stop: self-compassion has three elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

More about this next time. Enjoy your day!!!!

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