This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Perfect — the pressure we feel to achieve that impossible standard, and the strategies we can use to escape perfectionism’s often-agonizing grip.
From the tendency we have to compare ourselves to unattainable ideals, to the shame-based frustration that can result when we find ourselves lacking, we share insights from our own perfection-seeking experiences, as well as counsel from recognized experts in the field.
Finally, we offer experiments to help you explore and evolve your own relationship with whatever “perfect” means for you.
“Perfect” Episode Highlights
- First, a listener question: We address Michelle’s concerns about finding ways to remain meaningfully engaged, yet sane, in today’s politically-charged, high-stakes environment
- Next, a question for listeners: Would you be interested in a Facebook group for The Living Experiment listeners? Let us know!
- And then, perfect: Pilar and Dallas share their differing experiences with (and thoughts on) the pressures of perfection
- The state of constant stress brought on by the perpetual feelings of current inadequacy or impending failure
- The confirmation bias we experience when we attribute our successes to perfectionism
- Recognizing when your perfectionistic tendencies are benefiting you, and when they’re working against your health and wellbeing
- A short (related) aside: Why we haven’t yet done a follow-up episode to “Sensuality” — plus an update on past (“Win-Win Relating”; “Resistance to Pleasure”) and forthcoming special episodes featuring Lafayette Morehouse teachers
- Tips for cultivating a healthy relationship with perfectionism, starting with finding yourself good enough as you are
Pick something about yourself – physical, mental, anything – that you don’t like, that you feel is bad or broken. Question whether that negative perspective is really true, and instead find the perfection in it.
Think of a personal experience of perceived failure, or a painful moment of imperfection, and retell that story in a strong, empowered way — as a story of growth, discovery, transformation, and ultimately, of present-moment perfection/success.
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- Two books on perfectionism that Pilar referenced: Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s The Pursuit of Perfect and Dr. Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.
- Also referenced: Byron Katie’s process, The Work: four simple questions for finding truth and present-moment rightness of any situation:
- From Experience Life magazine: “The Unexpected Gifts of Imperfection” (a feature-length round-up of perfectionism-related Brené Brown wisdom).
- A perfectionism quiz via Psychology Today.
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