Shaking Shame – Part 2: Perfectionism

Continuing in our series on “Shaking Shame,” today we are talking about perfectionism. Where there’s perfectionism, there’s usually shame nearby we need to “shake.”  You may wonder how can striving to be perfect can connect with shameful emotions?  Let’s discuss what perfectionism is and what it isn’t to help you better understand how to let go of it. 

Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for perfection in all aspects of their life to minimize or avoid pain, judgement and shame. 

A perfectionist sets excessively high performance standards along with overly critical self-evaluation and concerns with others evaluations of themselves. This self-destructive and addictive belief system only perpetuates perfectionism and shame.

You may be a perfectionist if:

  • You allow no room for mistakes
  • You have all or nothing thinking
  • You are extremely critical or hard on yourself
  • You have extremely high standards
  • You have a very specific way in which things should be done
  • You become depressed when you don’t achieve your goals
  • You are never satisfied with your successes

In order to “shake” perfectionism and the devastating effects it can have on oneself and relationships, I recommend 3 things:

  1. Realize and acknowledge that we are all vulnerable to the universal experiences of feeling shame, blame and judgement.  By avoiding these feelings you will increase your risk of exposure.
  2. Practice self-compassion
  3. Develop shame-resilience

One of our therapists at GROW Counseling will be an excellent resource to help you implement these three ways of shaking perfectionism to lead a full life happiness and connection!

Written by: Porsha Jones