Perfectionism and Depression: What to Do
When Being a Perfectionist Drags You Down

By Sedona Training Associates staff and Hale Dwoskin

Demanding perfection in all areas of your life, from work to home and everywhere in between, may seem like a noble deed -- even one that perhaps we should all strive for.

But perfectionism is actually responsible for making many people miserable.

Like a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing, maintaining a perfectionist attitude can defeat you when you least expect it.

“The quest for perfection is often unknowingly a quest to suffer,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of The Sedona Method.

“If we feel like we need to get something perfect we rarely feel that we have achieved the perfection we are striving for.”

What are some of the problems that perfectionists encounter?

A constant feeling that they are letting someone, including themselves, down, because, after all, nothing is ever perfect.

Further, according to Alistair Ostell, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Bradford Management Center in England, perfectionists are more susceptible to emotional and physical problems -- conditions like insomnia, heart palpitations, chronic fatigue and high blood pressure -- than those who are more open-minded or flexible.

“If there's one thing perfectionism does, it rigidifies behavior,” says author Hara Estroff Marano in her Psychology Today article.

“It constricts people just when the fast-moving world requires more flexibility and comfort with ambiguity than ever. It turns people into success slaves.”

At its most extreme, perfectionism can actually paralyze people by their compulsive desire to be perfect.

This, in turn, can lead to stress- illness, low self-esteem, relationship problems, decreased productivity and even suicidal thoughts.

Are You Paralyzed by Perfection? Time to Break Free

Do you ever think the following self-limiting beliefs?

    * It’s not OK to make a mistake

    * People will not like me if I’m not perfect

    * I’ll avoid anything I can’t do well

    * I’m a failure because I didn’t achieve a goal

    * I must keep everything in my life under rigid control

    * I’m depressed because something didn’t come out right

    * Anyone who criticizes me is stupid

If so, it’s time to let go of your need to be perfect. You can let go of this self-sabotaging feelings just like you can let go of a pencil once you learn The Sedona Method -- a tool to release negative emotions that are holding you back from true happiness.

“This is not to say that you shouldn’t strive to do your best. It’s just that if you force yourself to be perfect all the time you’ll never feel like you are,” Dwoskin says.

“The best way to release your desire for perfection is to let go of wanting to be perfect or to create perfection,” he continues.

“It is also extremely helpful to allow yourself to love or accept yourself as you are. The more you love and accept yourself as you are, and the more you allow yourself to accept your performance, the happier you’ll feel, and the more likely you’ll be to produce stellar results.”

And remember, even the most wondrous things on earth -- from the great pyramids to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity -- are not perfect.

So let go of the feeling that you must reach an unrealistic level of perfection, and get in touch with the reality that you can be great even if you’re not perfect.

Psychology Today Magazine, Mar/Apr 2008
Psychology Today Magazine, Jan/Feb 2000

~ ~ ~

From the Sedona Training site.

Hale Dwoskin is the author of the New York Times Best Seller, The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-being.

Hale is one of the 24 Teachers from the movie The Secret and a founding member of the Transformational Leadership Council.

He is the CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates.

The Sedona Method

~ ~ ~

   Some related Talent Development Resources pages:

More articles by Hale Dwoskin

Personal Growth Information

~ ~ ~

Jack Canfield

"Through my work with Chicken Soup for the Soul and through my Self-Esteem Seminars, I have been exposed to many self-improvement techniques and processes. This one stands head and shoulders above the rest for the ease of its use, its profound impact, and the speed with which it produces results.

"The Sedona Method
is a vastly accelerated way of letting go of feelings like anger, frustration, jealousy, anxiety, stress, and fear, as well as many other problems even physical pain with which almost everybody struggles at one time or another."

Jack Canfield, Co-Creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul and the author of The Success Principles

Mariel Hemingway

"The Sedona Method is by far the most powerful way to make big changes in all aspects of your life through the simple act of 'letting go.'

"In the beginning it feels so easy that one feels the need to make it more complicated than it actually is.  That is the perfect time to surrender and trust that some great things just get to be easy."

Mariel Hemingway, actress and author of Finding My Balance


Sedona Method Course