Perfectionism: “I’d like to have people over more often, but I rarely do, because it’s so much work to cook a great meal.”

"Impeccable" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

If you want to spend time with friends but don’t want to work too hard cooking, have a potluck or cook something easy. I think most people would rather spend the evening with friends they enjoy than a stressed-out host with an elaborate meal.

The perfectionist within might ask, “What’s wrong with excelling?” Yet, the desire to excel differs from the desire to perfect. Perfectionism is “a propensity for setting extremely high standards and being displeased with anything else.” Ironically, the anxiety created by the perfectionist’s fear of failure can ruin the sought after pleasure of cooking an excellent meal for friends.

There is no reason you can’t have BOTH the desire to excel and the ability to accept and enjoy reality, which is less than perfect. So if you want, try to cook something great, but maintain a relaxed attitude despite anything that MIGHT go wrong.

You rarely hear about the perfect dinner party, but an over-spiced, smoke-filled, ridiculously-problematic dinner tale gets a lot of mileage in laughter-filled stories long after the smoke clears. Laughter is much better for your health and your relationships than the anxiety of having to control for THE perfect outcome.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Too Responsible to Enjoy.”

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