Thursday, August 27, 2015


My Dear Son:

On the subject of perfection, I think it's helpful to start with a couple of definitions. The word perfection carries with it the idea of completion or flawlessness. Perfectionism is an attempt by an individual to achieve perfection, usually by setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by hypercritical self evaluation and concern regarding others' evaluations.

Healthy ambition or perfectionism can help a person outline ultimate or long-term goals, and when reached, the person experiences pleasure and satisfaction from arriving at that milestone of skillfulness or ability.

Maladaptive perfectionism drives some individuals to attempt to achieve unobtainable ideals, and in their failure to do so, they experience emotional and, sometimes physical distress.

An odd feature about perfection is that it always first involves a set of standards made by ourselves, others, or both. Which bears the question: if the standards we followed were suddenly lowered or reversed, would we be any less perfect in following a new set of standards?

More on perfection to come...

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