Perfectionism always has a positive intent but its purpose has passed by the time the individual realizes that this way of thinking is problematic. Perfectionism is a way of thinking that generally starts in childhood for two basic reasons. First being perfect brings me praise. Secondly, being perfect keeps me out of trouble. Since this way of thinking is effective and is practiced throughout childhood to survive an often dysfunctional family it is very difficult to shed as an adult.
The way to combat perfectionism is to see why perfectionism developed initially and that the need for this manner of thinking is no longer necessary. Once the individual realizes the need for perfectionism no longer exists they can discard it as they did other things from childhood they no longer need.
I use the illustration of a parachute. In the air it’s the only thing keeping you alive but on the ground, it’s the last thing you want to carry around.
Contributors: Monte Drenner from MTC Counseling