When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough

Posted by Jan Lawrence

I find that perfectionism is often a common underlying theme for a lot of problems ranging from anxiety to depression.  This book is full of practical exercises to try to challenge some of the underlying thoughts that make us perfectionists about particular issues.

You don’t have to be a perfectionist in every angle of your life to benefit from this book – I think it is healthier to think of perfectionism in a similar way to stress, in that we all tend to suffer from it at some point at some level throughout the course of our lives.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly perfectionist character, however I do know that there are times, particularly when I am feeling stressed, that I have unrealistic expectations of myself. If you recognise this in yourself, you may find this book useful.

This book does tend to look at problems that have reached a level where they are interfering with your day to day living, and so at times it is very intense, but if you can read it and just take from it what you feel you need, I think it can be very useful.

The book is divided into 3 main parts: Part 1 is about understanding what perfectionism actually is. It looks at the areas of your life it might affect, the origins of it, why some people don’t appear to suffer from it and the impact it has on your life. It looks at perfectionist thoughts and behaviours and the typical styles of thinking that accompany these.

Part 2 is about overcoming perfectionism, looking at how much it actually affects you, developing a plan for change and ways of changing perfectionist thoughts and behaviours.

The last few chapters (part 3) look at specific problems that often go hand in hand with perfectionism and these include depression, anger, social anxiety, worry, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, dieting and body image.

If you dread making mistakes and feel that nothing you do is quite good enough, this book offers hope and help to overcome the need to be perfect and it might even help you to find ways of accepting yourself with your limitations!