The following is a partial list of the false and unrealistic assumptions and expectations which contribute to the trap of the perfectionist spirit. Obviously, these attitudes must be changed through the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) if permanent healing is to take place.
ATTITUDES TOWARD MYSELF
1. I should be liked, approved of, and loved by everybody, especially those important to me.
2. I should be able to do anything and everything perfectly; if I cannot, it’s better not to do it at all, or wait until I can. In other words, I will procrastinate in doing anything until I am convinced I can do it perfectly.
3. I must be perfectly confident and successful before I can consider myself to be a worthwhile person, or before others can consider me to be worthwhile.
4. I really do not have control over my own happiness. My happiness is dependent upon the actions of others and what they think of me, or upon circumstances.
5. The experiences and adverse influences that have occurred in my past cannot be changed, and are therefore ever a part of me, my present, and my future.
6. There is only one true and perfect solution for every problem; therefore, until I find it, I am in despair.
7. I should be able to make and keep everyone around me totally happy; if I don’t, there is obviously something wrong with me.
8. It is my personal responsibility to right the wrongs of this world, to solve its problems, and to correct all of its injustices.
9. Because I did not achieve all of my goals in life, I will always be less than acceptable as a person.
10. Because I have never been able to fully please my parents, friends, and/or peers, I must be less than desirable and worthwhile as a person.
11. I will never be able to be a happy person knowing what (I think) others think about me.
12. Had I been more competent in the care of my father, mother, dog, etc., they would never have died, divorced, or been unhappy in any way.
13. I am totally responsible for the reactions and responses of other people toward me.
ATTITUDES TOWARD OTHERS
1. Others, especially those I consider important to me, should always take care of me, be kind to me, and never frustrate me.
2. Others, especially those important to me, should be able to read my mind and know what I need and want without my telling them. If they can’t or don’t do this, it is because they really do not like or love me.
3. There is no way that people could accept me with all of my imperfections. It is therefore impossible for them to love me. It is therefore impossible for me to love myself. It is therefore impossible for me to love anyone else. I told you I was imperfect!
4. I am afraid of permanent relationships due to my in-ability to be perfect in those relationships. If I cannot be perfect in the relationships that I desire so much, it would probably be better for me not to have any at all, or to wait until I can be perfect in a relationship.
5. No relationship can be successful unless it is perfect in all ways. Therefore, if others do not act perfectly toward me, it is because they do not really want a true relationship with me.
ATTITUDES TOWARD GOD
1. God only accepts and loves me when He can approve of everything that I am, think, feel, say, and do.
2. God may accept me in Christ, but only because He has to according to His character. Otherwise, He would be sick at His stomach over me.
3. God may possibly accept me as I am, but only if in the future I will never think, feel, say, or do anything wrong again.
4. God saves by His grace, but only maintains this relationship with me if I read, pray, witness, serve, and do enough for Him.
5. God holds my ultimate salvation in suspense. At the Great White Throne judgment He will determine whether I will be given eternal life in heaven. God’s acceptance and love for me is only as a result of my being able to live in total obedience to everything that He has told me to do.
6. God is perfect. He wants me to be perfect. Therefore, if I cannot achieve perfection, I am unacceptable in His sight. If this continues, I will ultimately give up trying. Why serve a God that you can never please?
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