Perfectionism – Good or Bad?

What’s Behind Perfectionism?

It is very common these days to see articles written on how perfectionism is bad and holds you back from becoming your greatest self. Why it’s due to the fear of not being perfect rising up to stop you!

I’m known to be a perfectionist. Everything I do has to look right, sound right and of course be right and that kind of mindset has indeed held me back in many respects.

I mean who wants to be judged as wrong?

So it made perfect sense to me that I’d want to “grieving correctly”

With Loss Comes Grief

When my dad died, I for the first time experienced the heart wrenching, emotional turmoil and chaos that grieving a loss will bring to your life.  I needed to know how to grieve.  No one had taught me.

I needed to know that I wouldn’t feel this way forever, so what could I do in the meantime?  The kindly psychologist I consulted with shared a few things:

  • Everyone’s grief is unique
  • You never get over your grief
  • It will take as long as it takes

My perfectionist brain couldn’t handle that information

Ok, granted I get it everyone’s grief has to be unique to them – tick

You never get over your grief” that I couldn’t believe was right!  I’d feel this way forever?

Being told that it will take as long as it takes certainly wasn’t the answer I was looking for either.

Off I went on my own journey of discovery to find my own answers.

The 3 P’s

Not long into my search, I discovered the 3 P’s, (personalization, permanent, pervasive) by Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist and this helped me begin to unpack my grief. Positive psychology and learning resilience are the tools Dr. Seligman was teaching us.

Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook) would go one to use the 3 P’s in her own healing journey after the death of her husband.  She later gave a commencement speech to graduating students on how they could use them to navigate their own challenges.

My perfectionism led me on an amazing journey and 6 years later, I feel comfortable talking not only about my own journey into and out of grieving but I am now helping others become comfortable with their own grief.

So as a recovering perfectionist, I can say – it isn’t always a bad thing just don’t allow it to paralyze you but use it for good!





The Road Less Travelled – Interview Alma Norman

I had the privilege of interviewing, Alma Norman a feisty, 96-year-old at her home recently.  Alma and I met at an event.  After speaking with her for a short time, she shared her husband had died.  I was struck by her acceptance and her view on life.

Reflections on a Life Well Lived

Indeed Alma was grieving the loss of her husband, Whiley.  She also found her legally blind status upsetting as it held her back from enjoying the life she once had and added another level of loss to her grief.  She shared with me she was looking into MAID (medical assistance in dying).  Alma felt she had lived a full life and was ready to die.  She obviously had thought this through and was at peace with her decision.  I was in awe of this woman, her quiet acceptance of her life now and the grief she was experiencing.  Alma I thought had every right to feel like a victim but she definitely was not one.  I wanted to know more so I asked if she would grant me an interview.  She readily accepted and was delighted to have had the experience.

In this interview, you will learn:

  1. What early life events led her to be this quietly spoken leader, feisty, & independent woman
  2. Her social causes, championing the underdog
  3. How she met her husband and his proposal
  4. Memories of a canoeing trip and how that memory was shared before her husband died
  5. Very different people led to a very happy successful marriage
  6. Acceptance of aging, declining health and still maintaining her ability to laughter

Hearing Alma’s story will no doubt give you insights and hopefully help you in grieving your loss with more understanding of how and what helps with grief.