In Heart-Centered Healing, Personal Growth & Expansion

You know the type…Driven. Successful. Workaholic. Overachiever. Type A. Perfectionist.

I know this type all too well—I could’ve been the poster child. I proudly wore my “perfectionist” button like a badge of honor.

But, inside, I secretly suffered (often times unconsciously). And, when I couldn’t hold it together any longer my body suffered…and my life fell apart.

I was exhausted, anxious, and never satisfied. I had insomnia, terrible fatigue, and heart palpitations.

But, I never put the pieces together. I thought things would improve as I worked harder. But, the more I strived for perfection, the more my body suffered.

I believed that being driven, successful and a perfectionist were things to be revered and respected. And, that these pursuits were to be rewarded with achievement and accolades.

But, these pursuits came at a high price. The cost? Unhappiness, pain, suffering, and the constant feeling of “I’m not good enough.”

Many people come to me suffering…in their body and mind. And, they’ve visited many doctors and healers and have seen little results.

We discover that part of the reason they feel the way they do—exhausted, anxious, and unhealthy—is because their body feels out of alignment with their inner spiritThe life they’re living isn’t in harmony with the life they want to live.

This creates a tremendous amount of stress and a feeling of uneasiness, disjointedness, and an inner chaos that can not be calmed.

So, you constantly push yourself—and feel tremendous disappointment when you never “get there.”

The result? Feelings of shame, failure and guilt.

And, your body? Tired. Exhausted. Anxious. Depressed. Overweight. Sick.

And, the cycle starts over again…”I feel so bad in my body so if I exercise perfect and eat perfect I’ll feel better.”

This never works. It’s a recipe for failure every time (which is a perfectionists nightmare!!).

For me, the cycle started to break when I began to realize the root of my perfectionism.

Underneath it all, I believed that if I wasn’t perfect—or “good enough”—I wasn’t valuable, respectable, or worthy of love (especially from myself).

Breaking the “perfectionism cycle” is an arduous task.

For me, it took a mixture of working on radical self-love and learning how to be vulnerable and express my own (imperfect!) authenticity.

Through this process, one of the most important things I did was invite relationships into my life where I was freely and wholeheartedly accepted for “just being me.” I had to pull away from those people who were toxic for my personal growth.

The result?

I’m proud of who I am…warts, wrinkles, flaws and imperfections.

My life is much more satisfying. I have deeper relationships with myself and others.

And, that inner chaos and constant anxiety? Gone.

The insomnia and fatigue? Gone.

And, I feel contentment and at peace…all the time. (Even when life throws me curveballs.)

So what can you do?

Start with this: learn to fully and completely love and accept yourself for who you are (imperfections and all).

Use affirmations, practice gratitude, find people in your life who fully love and accept you.

Love the journey you are on.

It’s scary to break the cycle but it’s worth it.

I’d love to hear from you.

How has perfectionism stolen your health?

Please leave a comment below.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Stacey

    I feel Perfectionism is a disease state and should have a billable ICD 9 code! I am currently in recovery ;)

    • Dr. Deborah

      Brilliant idea…I DO think perfectionism is an unhealthy state. And, ironically, perfectionists think it’s good…the more perfect the better! Glad we’re in recovery together. A much better place to be!

      Much (imperfect) love to you,
      Dr. Deborah

  • Julia Cunneen

    Thank you so much for your posts. Your professionalism and realness are so needed in an age where achievement is revered above all. I spent years of my life pushing my body and spirit, driven by a sense of inadequacy and shame. I developed ulcerative colitis from what I believe was an inability to express my true feelings. I was exhausted, burnt out and unhappy. Only recently through many complementary therapies and listening to my body am I coming to health again. Yes, the journey is to accept who we are, with all our decisions and history. Now that is an achievement :)

    • Dr. Deborah Anderson

      Thank you for your response. I’m so happy to hear that you are coming back to health again and have found ways to heal your body & spirit. The journey to love & accept ourselves regardless of our imperfections and inadequacies is a tough one but the peace & joy that manifests with unconditional self-love makes it worth it. <3
      All the very best to you,

  • Mariel

    Good evening Ms. Deborah,

    I hope you had a nice week! Until this year I discovered the truth behind my perfectionism, and how it was and is holding me back! It has been my most important journey, with many high happy peaks, and also moments of emotional exhaustion. I’m a Costarican studying MA Applied Imagination at Central Saint Martins (UAL) in London, and my MA project explores precisely how can narratives raise awareness of maladaptive perfectionism! :)

    Best wishes!!!! :)