Getting to Yes, And

Katherine Morgan:The Perfectionist's Guide to Losing Control


Katherine Morgan Schafler

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Kelly talks to Katherine Morgan Schafler, a psychotherapist, writer, speaker and former on-site therapist at Google about her new book “The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power.”

You have this lovely passage in the book where you write, “Think of someone you love. Now think of the sound of that person's laughter. Is that sound not perfect? There's nothing you would change about that laughter to make it better. It's already complete. It's already whole. We use the word perfect to emphasize completeness.” Talk more about that.

“Kelly jumping right in. I love this. It's the Latin root: you get to the word ‘perfect’ meaning complete. And when we describe something as perfect, what we're saying is, this thing is completely done. There is not one more thing you could add to it to make it whole, because it already is whole. And when I listen to people as a psychotherapist describe perfect moments, they are not describing the material, they are describing a feeling of interconnectedness to their own wholeness, to their own connection with something someone else, a moment in which they wouldn't change a thing.”

And the idea is that maybe your perfect already?

“And that's what the book is, really, a call to remember that when you are born, you're born whole. You don't have to do anything to become a whole human being. You don't become more of a human being when you learn to talk, or walk, or make people laugh or look a certain way. And so, knowing that as a perfectionist, that's what you're trying to connect to. Not a sense of flawlessness. And this invites, I hope, people to really engage in a different relationship with their perfectionism.”

This is not a book bashing perfectionism.  

“In my view, perfectionism is a natural, innate human impulse. I mean human beings have the ability to understand and perceive our reality, and then we have the cognitive capacity to say, oh, this other thing could be happening too, and imagine these other realities, both improved, and, you know, quote unquote, worse off. And perfectionists to me are people who see that gap, who regularly see that gap, and more often than not, feel compelled to actively bridge the gap in a way that they cannot shut off.”

Photo credit: Eric Michael Pearson

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