• Sara & Colin Taylor

Perfectionism - Part 2

Last week we touched upon the all too common concept in medicine of perfectionism. We ended our brief discussion by inviting the concept of an ‘imperfect’ culture, as one potential way to help address burnout. This week we will look into the concept a bit further.

One of the insurmountable pressures we face as physicians is the expectation of perfection from all angles - we expect it from ourselves, patients expect it from us, regulating bodies expect it from us, and even our colleagues expect it from us. You may not agree with all of these sources of expectation, but perhaps some resonate with you. No human is perfect...

So how do we address these unrealistic expectations from ourselves and others? What if we start with a willingness and openness to vulnerability; sharing our mistakes and failures; and accepting our imperfections as something to learn and grow from? Could this have a contagious effect on those around us, and in turn, on the culture as a whole? 

As Brené Brown says, “To overcome perfectionism, we need to be able to acknowledge our vulnerabilities to the universal experiences of shame, judgment, and blame; develop shame resilience; and practice self compassion.” The only way to overcome this is to join together and be more open, look shame in the face and say, “Hey, I'm doing my best here”. 

"Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes." ~ George Soros

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