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perfection I've written about it before, but Perfectionism is something with which I've struggled over the years. I think I've gotten a whole lot better about realizing that Perfect does not exist and shouldn't be the goal, but this is all something I continue to think about, feel, and explore.

Recently, during a spin class at SoulCycle, the instructor said something: You do not need to be perfect. You just need to be you. How fantastic is this? I thought to myself: I hope this is a message I am sending my girls. And myself.

Anyway, I'm curious about this topic and I have a few questions:

Is Perfectionism a product of nature or nurture?

Are we born with Perfectionist tendencies or do we acquire these tendencies because of the families and environments in which we are raised. I look around at my sisters (there are 5 of us!) and we are all achievers. We all worked very hard in school, got good grades, went to good schools, and on to successful careers. Is this a matter of genetics or the fact that we were reared in the same household/city/culture and attended the same institutions? I'm thinking both. Interestingly, despite what we have accomplished, I think some of us are more perfectionistic than others... which leads me to ask:

Is Perfectionism, on any level, a choice?

Do we choose how much we care about things, about how "perfect" things are or is this attitude outside our control? Can we simply decide not to care about stuff so much, that we are fine with something less than what we deem to be "perfect"?

Is Perfectionism an all-or-nothing proposition or can we be Partial Perfectionists?

Does Perfectionism fall along a spectrum or is it a yes-or-no proposition? Is it possible to be perfectionistic in one area of our lives and not another?

Is there a cure for Perfectionism or is it something we should want to cure?

If we diagnose ourselves as Perfectionists, what can we do about it? Are there ways to shift our perspective, make our standards more reasonable? Assuming we are Perfectionists, is this necessarily bad thing? Are we better off not trying to alter this aspect of ourselves insofar as it serves us on some level?

Okay, that was a lot of questions, but interesting ones, I hope. What do you guys think? Are you Perfectionists? Do you think the very topic of Perfectionism is a privileged one insofar as lots of people have more important/practical things to worry about than the question of Perfection?

Go!

Ask Lauren Slayton

ADR Monday Moments 01.20.14