Why trying to be perfect is sabotaging our relationships, making us sick, and holding our happiness hostage
Presentation by Dr. Jane Bluestein
Perfectionism may sound like a good thing, but it’s entirely different from the more realistic and achievable healthy pursuit of excellence. Working diligently toward improvement, learning, and growth is also far less destructive (and exhausting) than trying to pull off looking perfect, knowing everything, and never making mistakes!
Chasing after a flawless appearance or performance, trying to keep a perfect house, or making excessive demands on others takes its toll on our authenticity and ability to connect with others—not to mention our physical and mental well-being. Yet in a culture that constantly reflects our imperfections and flaws, and makes perfection seem desirable (and possible), it’s easy to get sucked into an airbrushed and Photoshopped version of reality. Let’s look at ways to recognize these patterns, identify their source, and see how they are hurting us in many aspects of our lives. Of course, we’ll also look at what we can do to break perfectionistic habits and beliefs, and loosen the hold perfectionism has on our lives.
A presentation for anyone who has ever struggled with the unrealistic demands of perfectionistic belief systems, an inner critic that yells “not good enough,” “failure,” or fraud,” or expectations of family members, friends, or co-workers that tends to alienate the very people we need in our lives. (Also valuable for anyone who lives with or cares about someone who shows signs of this disorder.)
Participants will examine:
- The variety of ways perfectionism can show itself—in how we treat our bodies, the beliefs we have about ourselves, how we pursue work goals,
- The influence of the media, family, friends, and cultural institutions
- Ways to aim for precision, excellence, and being our best without crossing into unhealthy, destructive, or obsessive territory
- The impact of perfectionistic beliefs and behaviors on our physical and mental health, ability to start or finish tasks, relationship success and satisfaction, tendency toward overcommitment and overwhelm, and risk of self-harm and suicide
- Practical strategies for self-care, setting and maintaining boundaries, learning to say “no” with win-win intentions that respect the needs of other people
- Specific ways to avoid encouraging (or demanding perfectionism) in our children, partners, and co-workers
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