The Perfection Detox: Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy by Petra Kolber, Da Capo Lifelong Books, US $17.99, Pp 256, August 2018, ISBN 978-0738234854
If you are a perfectionist as most of us are in one way or the other, you will know how stressful and overwhelmed your life is. You are tired and suffer from anxiety. In modern urban societies, women — and of course men as well — struggle for perfection more than ever but end up feeling like failures for not achieving unrealistic goals. In The Perfection Detox, health and wellness expert Petra Kolber shares how she overcame her perfectionist tendencies and provides you with a plan to detox your mind of perfectionism. She argues that, in most modern societies, we are taught that perfectionism is achievable and something to be proud of. To say that something is a perfect fit is to suggest that there could be nothing better. To do something perfectly means to have completed a task with a sort of divine level of skill and to have produced a product that is spotless, flawless, and pristine. But she argues that this is unrealistic.
She says that to say that something is a perfect fit is to suggest that there could be nothing better. To do something perfectly means to have completed a task with a sort of divine level of skill and to have produced a product that is spotless, flawless, and pristine. True perfectionists are unlikely to ever experience feelings of pride or satisfaction. They are more likely to feel disappointment and despair, perpetually dogged by the belief that they or others haven’t reached the golden ring of a flawless and faultless life. The problem is “perfect” doesn’t exist; it’s nothing more than a subjective, slippery conjuring of one’s mind. Perfectionism may not be a disease of the body but it is a cancer of the spirit. Petra Kolber writes, “Perfect” is only a word until you attach a feeling or expectation to it. Some people might be ambitious, have high standards, and strive to be virtuous without being a perfectionist. Perfectionism, as a personality feature, does not guarantee success; moreover, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that perfectionism is, ironically, an obstacle to the achievement of potential.”
Petra Kolber says that the key to reaching the highest level of success is a certain willingness to take risks, which perfectionists viscerally try to avoid for fear of making a mistake. Part of the journey of becoming better, whether as a person or in a skill, is having the fortitude and the wisdom to manage and learn with mistakes, stumbling blocks, and disappointment. A non-perfectionist will see a mistake as a mini-milestone on the road to success, or check it off as a character-building experience to be folded into the fabric of growth. But a perfectionist sees a mistake as an affront, an intruder to wrestle to the ground. It is not surprising, therefore, that while the perfectionist plays it safe by retreating, the ambitious non-perfectionist soars.
Perfectionism is not an affliction that replicates itself in every person. It can affect different parts of your life and isn’t always self-directed. It’s most common for perfectionism to influence the relationships with other people — and with your work. Recounting her own experience as a perfectionist, she says that her perfectionism led to anxiety, which courted her as a constant companion. She writes, “While at first, my symptoms were subtle and easy to hide, they slowly grew into full-blown panic attacks. As with any perfectionist, I tried to manage my symptoms perfectly — the trouble was that while I could hide my racing heart, the tightening of my chest, and my rushing thoughts of how could I leave the room without anyone noticing — I could not hide my last symptom, which was an instant full-body sweat. This was uncomfortable, extremely embarrassing, and more public proof of just how imperfect I was. After every panic attack, I felt drained, lost, sad, exhausted, lonely and even more imperfect.”
The Perfection Detox program will alleviate your stress and make you feel happier if you consider yourself a failure and suffer from low self-esteem. Petra Kolber will change the way you look at life by helping you overcome your self-doubt and restoring self-esteem. It will help you be kind to yourself by not placing unrealistic demands on yourself. It will also help you overcome any anxiety syndrome you may be suffering from. It is surely a practical and doable guide to help people suffering from perfectionism. The Perfection Detox program will have an effect on your mental health similar to the food detox has on your physical health. Although Petra Kolber targets women, men suffering from perfectionism will equally benefit from her plan.