The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control Book Summary - The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control Book explained in key points
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The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control summary

Katherine Morgan Schafler

A Path to Peace and Power

4.5 (357 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control by Katherine Morgan Schafler is a self-help book that helps perfectionists find balance and navigate life's challenges by embracing vulnerability and letting go of the need for control.

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    The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control
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    Perfectionism is Power, not a Problem

    Picture the typical perfectionist. Most see someone who needs everything to be perfect all the time, and who gets upset when it isn’t. Most see perfectionism as a problem.

    But this perspective is too narrow, and the judgment is flat-out wrong. There are many shades of perfectionism, and none of them is a problem to be solved. They are all gifts.

    Society has long treated perfectionism as a negative trait, especially when it comes to women. It’s viewed as something to be cured or eradicated. Treated that way, or ignored altogether, perfectionism can manifest in negative ways – obsessive worrying, indecision, anger, lack of commitment – the list goes on. But if you can channel your perfectionism, if you can adapt to its demands and drives, it will change from a destructive force to a constructive superpower.

    The mental health field doesn’t have a comprehensive definition for perfectionism. It is, however, accepted that perfectionists constantly notice the gap between reality and some ideal, and they constantly want to take responsibility for bridging that gap. Many, although not all, mental health professionals also accept that perfectionism can be broken down into two categories – adaptive and maladaptive.

    Adaptives mobilize their perfectionism to work for them. They understand ideal visions are supposed to inspire, not be brought to life down to the last detail. They enjoy the process instead of obsessing over the outcome. They can handle failure because they learn from mistakes. They tend to have high self-esteem, solid relationships, and an overall sense of fulfillment.

    Maladaptives are punished by their perfectionism. They are afraid to fail and driven to avoid shame. They feel stuck. When they do achieve a goal, it’s often anticlimactic because they didn’t embrace the process. They can be anxious, depressed, and withdrawn, and they tend to have problems in their personal relationships. They are usually trying to recover from their perfectionism.

    The obvious question is, how do you adapt to perfectionism? We’ll get to that answer– but first, let’s meet the 5 Types of Perfectionists – classic, Parisian, procrastinator, messy, and intense.

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    What is The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control about?

    The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control is about understanding your perfectionist traits and making them work for you, not against you. It details different types of perfectionists and explains how all of them can adapt to their perfectionism.

    Who should read The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control?

    • Those who identify as perfectionists in any area of their lives
    • People interested in understanding perfectionist traits and tendencies
    • Readers who are interested in the mental health field

    About the Author

    Katherine Morgan Schafler is a psychotherapist, speaker, and writer. She studied at UC Berkeley and Columbia University, and earned a post-graduate certification from the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy in New York City. The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control is her first book.

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