Overcoming the Curse of Perfectionism
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."1
When the Bible tells us to be perfect, it has nothing to do with being a "perfectionist." In fact, the word for perfect in today's scripture verse means to be complete, whole and/or mature.
Sadly, perfectionists or those who have perfectionistic tendencies find it difficult, if not impossible, to forgive themselves when they have done wrong even though God and others have forgiven them. And no matter what they do, regardless of how good it is, they can still be left unsatisfied because, to them, it isn't absolutely perfect. They can be difficult to live with because what you do may not be good or perfect enough either.
Being made whole and complete are not characteristics of perfectionism, but of maturity—both spiritual and emotional—and are essential for wholesome relationships. Being perfectionistic is a sign of immaturity where an individual has a poor self-concept. Perfectionists have totally unrealistic expectations in that they feel they have to be perfect in everything they do in order to feel acceptable to themselves—a hopeless situation in which to be. When they have done wrong, the reason they can't forgive themselves is because in their mind they weren't being perfect. The fact is that we are all a part of this broken world in which we live and will never find perfection until we get to heaven. Overcoming perfectionism is learning to accept one's self as God accepts us—warts and all—and learning to be satisfied when we know that we have done the best we can while accepting the fact that we are imperfect beings.
For further help I suggest that you read the article, "Developing a Healthy Self-Concept" at: http://tinyurl.com/self-concept007. And for those who have a severely poor self-concept, I would encourage you to see a fine professional Christian counselor who can help you to overcome this problem.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you love and accept me as I am. Please help me to do the same and become whole so I can love and accept myself and others in a healthy sense. When and if needed, please lead me to the help I need to develop a healthy self-concept and therein bring glory to your name. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Matthew 5:48 (NIV).