Advice from the Therapist Vlog: Perfectionism

September 2014 Vlog, Advice from the Therapist: Perfectionism

This month, Therapist Zachary Sander, MA, LPC, CADC speaks on perfectionism and how affects our mental health and well being. Be on the look out each month for new installments of ‘Advice from the Therapist’ each month pertaining to guidance, services, and more!


Hi this is Zachary Sander with Agape Christian Counseling Services with another installment of “Advice from the Therapist”.

Before we start, we would like to give a special thanks to Harvester Christian Church for letting us use their St. Charles location and Audio Visual equipment to record this vlog.

On today’s installment I will be talking about struggling with perfectionism. Perfectionism is characterized by striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and an extreme concern regarding people’s judgments and evaluations.

Listen to this famous example of perfectionism: Leonardo Da Vinci’s dying words were, ” I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have,” even after all the brilliance and innovation he contributed to the world.

Ask yourself this: What do you truly believe about your self-worth? Not what you tell others, but what you say to yourself when you are alone. If you had to rate your self-worth on a scale of 1 to 10, what rating would you give yourself? People who struggle with perfectionism struggle with thoughts and feelings of low self-worth.

Now If you had difficulty rating your self-worth or if you have a low rating of self-worth, the next question I would ask is how are you rating your self-worth? Is it based on what you do or if others accept you? If it is by these standards, you might just be chasing your tail.

Society will say you must make money, look physically attractive, be the toughest, the most intelligent, the most creative, the most outgoing, the funniest, always be the winner, and be the most interesting. One commercial stated they had found “the most interesting man in the world”, and if you use their product you might be interesting too.

Do you find your worth by having to be the most successful at your work or school? What happens when your boss is upset with you or you don’t make the grade that you worked hard for? Does this mean you lost some or all of your worth? Would you advise people you love and care for to rate their self-worth based on the same criteria? If not, you might need to ask yourself why you rate yourself in that way?

Throughout life we receive different messages from those around us who, in effect, teach us how to rate our self-worth. I want to ask you where you acquired your self-worth rating? Maybe it was from your parents, who showed love based upon your accomplishments. Maybe it was from growing up in school where your worth was measured by whether you were accepted by the popular group, and even if you made it into the popular group, you had to continue to meet the group’s standards to remain accepted. Maybe it was because of physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, abandonment, emotional neglect, or some other type of poor treatment you received that sent the message: “You do not have value.” Perhaps when you were growing up, you were the one in your family that people relied on for parental support and that was the basis for your sense of worth. Maybe one of the many messages you heard in the media told you how to rate your worth. Remember “the most interesting man in the world” commercial?

Here is a better way to rate your self-worth that was designed and purposed for your life and mine: Psalm 139:13-16 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and all the days of our lives were written in God’s book before we were ever born, thus confirming  God’s prior knowledge and plan for our lives.

In Romans 5:8 and in other verses throughout the Bible, we are told “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

You are given intrinsic worth by your Designer God through Christ Jesus. So you can strive for success in different areas of your life without worrying about losing your worth by what you do or whether others accept you or not.

I will leave you with this: Your worth is not in what you do, rather, it is in who created you, because it’s God who gives you worth. This type of worth, given by God, cannot be lost or taken away. So, if you are feeling as if you are consistently falling short and not meeting the criteria you’ve set for your own self-worth, you might consider discovering God’s fulfilling worth for you.
God Bless.

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