The challenges associated with perfectionism are complex. Many of us struggle with never ceasing critical self-judgment due to perfectionism - although we may also benefit from outstanding achievement due to our high standards. Toxic perfectionism can be self-imposed or absorbed from our parents, culture, or society. If someone was mistreated, even abused, as a child or employee for not being perfect, this trauma can continue to contaminate the present as feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, and never being "good enough."
How can we reap the benefits of high standards without suffering under the "tyranny of shoulds?" How can we know if perfectionism is a destructive force or a constructive ambition? How can we cope with perfectionism?
Ed Beckham, Ph.D., and Cecilia Beckham, a licensed clinical social worker, address these questions in a book chapter entitled "Coping with Perfectionism." That chapter is available online here:
Dr. Benyshek is a devoted psychotherapist and marriage counselor, a professional artist, and an internationally renowned researcher on contemporary artists as shamans.