As a kid, I was not too fond of report cards. My mother never saved a one (thankfully).

Perfectionism is a never-ending, never good enough report card on who you are and what you do and say. It's "a personality trait characterized by high expectations and standards." (Psychology Today)

Perfectionists live in a self-abusing vicious cycle. They establish high-performance standards and set unreachable goals. Reality inevitably sets in, and they fall short of the standards they set. They live with constant pressure to be flawless in every way. They succeed often, but the inevitability of failure haunts their days and nights. When mistakes happen, they think, "Next time, if I try harder, I'm sure to succeed." And the cycle begins again. Depression, anxiety, and other issues arise.

Perfectionism leads to procrastination. If you need to be perfect and you're not, why start any project, participate in any activity, or engage in any discussion. Writer Michael Law says, "At its root, perfectionism isn't really about a deep love of being meticulous. It's about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of success."

Perfectionists make bad company; they see the mistake in every sentence, the flaw in every picture, and the fault in every dance. New York Times best-selling author Glennon Doyle Melton says, "We can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved."

That darn report card looms large and unkind in the heart and mind of a perfectionist.

The opposite of perfectionism is healthy striving. Set goals and standards that are meaningful to you, the people around you, and the work you're called to do. Take a few practice shots, volunteer to try; you may discover something you might be good at! Sure, you'll make mistakes, fall short of perfection, but you will be emotionally, spiritually, and relationally healthy if you allow yourself room to fail. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself, and learn to say, "Good try!"

Another opposite of perfectionism is humility. The perfectionist always wants to be, well, perfect. I'm sure you've already noticed that perfection, for we humans, is not possible. We can be good – very good at a few things and pretty good at many others. But perfect? Not possible no matter how long we study, how many coaches we have, or how hard we strive. To walk away from perfectionism requires you to accept your limitations and not worry about that darn report card.

The list of bad beliefs that keep you from becoming all that God has made you to be will continue. State tuned for more!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ron Ross is the co-founder of, an author, speaker, and publisher. He lives in Loveland, Colo.