Your perfectionism doesn’t need fixing. Embrace it as a power and a gift

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Jessica DuLong

Published September 8, 2023

Worried that perfectionism is holding you back? No wonder, given all the messaging out there that demonizes the tendency, advising us to give it up in favor of finding balance.

Psychotherapist Katherine Morgan Schafler rejects that approach, upending the whole notion that perfectionism is something to overcome. Getting rid of it won’t work because it’s a fundamental component of who you are, Schafler argues. Instead, it’s time to recognize perfectionism as a gift and a source of power.

It’s fine that perfectionists are not balanced people, Schafler writes in her book, “The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power.” What’s more, changing by “subscribing to prepackaged notions of balance and generic wellness when they don’t fit who you are isn’t being healthy.”

Instead, Schafler advises people to celebrate their ceaseless drive to bridge the gulf between reality and the ideal. Too often, counsel issued under the guise of self-care — especially to women — is more about suppressing “expressions of ambition and power seeking” that could help people live full, big lives.

She says it’s time to reclaim the term perfectionist along with all the advantages brought by an insatiable desire to excel.