If perfectionism is a form of hunger (for approval/validation, reflection/attention, control/certainty), then how can we satisfy this hunger, how can we feed it? The answer is: with the bread of acceptance!
Borrowing the language of the four noble truths from Buddhist psychology, I offer the following treatment (“self-feeding”) plan:
How’s this acceptance achieved?
The short answer is: by a) redefining the meaning of perfection and b) through mindful living (as a consciously-chosen philosophy of living) that allows you to recognize the ordinary perfection of what is.
The long answer is a curriculum of experiential precedents that I detailed in my 2010 book, Present Perfect.
As for redefining perfection, it is a matter of two paths – one dualistic and the other non-dualistic. The first, dualistic, strategy allows you to shift from a state-view of perfection to a dynamic/process-view of perfection – a relatively straightforward process that is easy to read about but requires a certain experiential homework to sink in. The second, non-dualistic, strategy for reframing perfection is more nuanced: it completely collapses the distinction between perfection and imperfection.
Related: 3 Types of Perfectionistic Hunger
Resources: Present Perfect: a Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go (Somov, New Harbinger, 2010)
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Last reviewed: 17 Nov 2012