April 17, 2012

Perfection is the Enemy

“Perfection is the enemy” is an old saying in business that can be both inspirational and a challenge. It is the same in eating disorders.

Perfection is the enemy of feeling good and making successful steps. I have worked with many people who have said to me, “I am just not perfect’; “I strive to be perfect but I never manage it”, “Things have to be flawless”, or “I can’t make any mistakes”, and many other things along the same lines.

The fact is that you do better if you say to yourself, “I am making progress”. It doesn’t matter how small each step is, it is a benefit if you can recognize that you are making progress towards your goal. If you relapse, that happens sometimes. What is important is that you don’t let it make you feel like a “failure”, and you get back on the road to reaching your goals.

Sometimes it is difficult to notice your own progress, as we get too caught up in imperfections, or end we ignore the small steps that we have made in the right direction.

It can help to track your progress so that you don’t forget all of your strengths and progress. This gives you a sense of direction, and you can see that even if you relapse a few times, it is not the end of the world and you can get back up again.

We all need to understand that we as human beings are fallible and we all make mistakes. We want to go in, to take small and consistent steps towards our goals and making a better life for ourselves.

Use of the tool Bulimina Nervosa and Compulsive Overeating Worksheet will help you follow you progress.

Dealing with the issues rather than being symptomatic is a mark of a step in the right direction. Don’t foget to involve your support person.

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Book: Enduring Change in Eating Disorders

Enduring Change in Eating Disorders - Book Cover

Dr Fishman is the author of 'Enduring Change in Eating Disorders – Interventions with long -term results' (Brunner-Routledge 2004).

This book presents the powerful and proven effective model of Intensive Structural Family Therapy and its application to the treatment of eating disorders.