Ask the Experts

Overcome the Need to Be Perfect

Use the Epitaph Test to help let go of unhealthy perfectionism.

Is it important enough to be chiseled onto my headstone after I die? If so, then maybe we should get really upset about it.

Think this one through carefully, though.

How would you like this carved on your gravestone: “Here lies Bill. On July 1, 1994, he dropped a plateful of roast beef while serving dinner to his boss.” Hmmmmmmm. Maybe it wasn’t all that important…

Perfectionism is just a way for miserable people to deny their misery and then dump it on themselves and others. Find the joy and gratitude and comfort in your life and in those around you, and you will see this ugly perfectionism gradually fade away.

(From The Adult Child’s Guide to What’s ‘Normal’, by John Friel, Ph.D. & Linda Friel, M.A.)