Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Recovering from perfectionism

Because I'm a recovering perfectionist, I am always alert to mention of perfectionism in my readings. In fact, a book I really value is Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I highly recommend this one if you deal with perfectionism.

Recently, I reread another of my favorite books, Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen. She has a way of calling things what they are and does so with graciousness and insight. In this book she talks about the pursuit of perfectionism as one of the "major addictions of our time."

She reminds us that we're not born with it and because it's learned, says it's possible to recover. She says she, too, is a recovering perfectionist.

Here's what struck me: "Sometimes perfectionists have had a parent who is a perfectionist, someone who awarded approval on the basis of performance and achievement. ... Of course, love is never earned. It is a grace we give one another. Anything we need to earn is only approval."

She goes on to say, "Few perfectionists can tell the difference between love and approval. Perfectionism is so widespread in this culture that we actually have had to invent another word for love. 'Unconditional love,' we say. Yet, all love is unconditional. Anything else is just approval."

I'm still digesting those ideas and reflecting upon them. Hmmm, what do you think?

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