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The perils of perfection Part III


The general perception of perfectionism is that it is something beyond our power to overcome or deal with. That it is something external, like fate, over which we have no control. This is simply not true. It might take a while to change things, but know that being a perfectionist is not written in stone and there are things you can do about it, if you so choose.

Different people cope in different ways with perfectionism. Some try to cheat to achieve it, others punish themselves when not able to reach it. (Read more about it in Part I and Part II or this article)

In trying to overcome your perfectionism you might be tempted to use it (perfectionism) to succeed at not being a perfectionist. This is a lovely paradox that must be avoided or else you’re just going round in circles. You’re human and a perfectionist: embrace who you are by acknowledging your strengths and faults and choosing to break the patterns that got you here in the first place. I know, easier said than done especially when you’ve done the opposite for so long.
Acceptance is key: acceptance of self, good and bad.

  • Recognize whether this is an problem and ask for help. It is easier to navigate through the unknown with a professional by your side.
  • Accept your emotions at any given moment and acknowledge what you can and cannot do at this moment.
  • You can admit out loud that you are an imperfect perfectionist and that the things you do are not perfect either.
  • Figure out where perfectionism has led you so far. Be honest!
  • Define perfection for yourself and in doing so beware of generalities and vague explanations. You are not looking for reasons why you are a perfectionist, rather what makes up your idea of perfection. Use bullets and be clear.
  •  Allow yourself to be human.

If you have any thoughts or insights, experiences, trials and errors with perfectionism consider sharing them in the comments.


The perils of perfection Part III

Diana C. Pitaru, M.S., L.P.C.

“Diana” Diana Pitaru is a Romanian psychotherapist in private practice in Denver, Colorado. She writes about universal psychological issues that affect quality of life and impede the creative process. Passionate about psychology, philosophy, art, and culture and how these areas connect to improve mental health, Diana offers support and insight to creative adults and teens who struggle with identity/existential issues and in relationships, have a history of trauma, or suffer with depression or anxiety. You can find her Denver practice at

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APA Reference
, . (2014). The perils of perfection Part III. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 Nov 2014
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