Many of us strive for excellence. But for other folks, excellence isn’t good enough. They want perfection. As noble as that goal sounds, it’s actually a very unhealthy way to live.
Oh, sure, perfectionists look great on the outside. Just ask today’s broadcast guests Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. Self-acknowledged perfectionists, they’ll tell you they tend to work harder than everyone around them, excel at most things they try, and appear confident. But underneath that polished exterior is a fragile self-image. They’ll also tell you the quest for perfection isn’t a strength… it’s a weakness.
Perfectionists try to prove their own worth by striving to succeed at everything they do. The deep-seated thinking runs like this: “As long as I do everything perfectly, I can prove I’m worth something.”
Of course, sooner or later, they fail. And when they do, they’re driven even further into their feelings of unworthiness.
With such backward logic, you’d think perfectionists would understand that being flawless simply isn’t possible and give themselves a break. Instead, they tell themselves, “The problem is I wasn’t perfect enough. I obviously need to buckle down and try even harder.” And the destructive cycle starts all over again.
Striving for excellence can be healthy. But perfectionism will grind you down. It drives you to pursue goals that are impossible to achieve. And that’s no way to live. The Lord doesn’t want us to suffer under that sort of bondage.
On today and tomorrow’s program, “Ending the Pursuit of the Perfect Life,” we talk about how to break that cycle. I invite you to join us. You can hear it on your local radio station, online, or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.