Why Perfectionism is a Form of Oppression - Stay With Me Here

perfectionism shame Apr 09, 2019

By Sunday Tollefson, MBA, PMP® 

Q. Is perfectionism oppression?

A. First, let's talk about perfection. Perfect doesn't really exist. It's an impossible bar to reach. Work that you completed in the past, will - in hindsight - be Swiss cheese.  You'll see all the holes. 

Be gentle with yourself when you see prior work that isn't up to the standard that you have for yourself today. 

Researcher Brené Brown says perfectionism protects us from being judged. It helps us avoid criticism and blame. And it's rooted in shame. Shame is the idea that we are bad people (as opposed to guilt, which is that we did a bad thing).  When you really think about it, this makes sense. Startling, mind-blowing life-altering sense. 

Somewhere far in our past, we were made to feel that we were bad people because our work product wasn't good enough. Result? We believe that perfection is the only way to avoid the shame sensation. Fear of feeling that sensation again...

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