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Magination Press

A Perfectionist's Guide to Not Being Perfect

A Perfectionist's Guide to Not Being Perfect

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It's hard for teens to be happy when they've created a very narrow window of what defines success. The goal of this helpful book is to encourage teens to maintain their desire to achieve without striving to always be perfect and to appreciate and love who they are just as they are, not for what they do or accomplish. Finding a balance between work and play is key. Challenging perfectionism is about the pursuit of happiness.

When teens can recognize that perfectionism is a disadvantage, they can become motivated to do something about it. For many, it may just be shifting the perfectionism a bit to land in a more positive place. It might be about deciding when and where to be slightly perfectionistic, when and where they can let go of high standards and all-or-nothing thinking, and when it's okay to simply do a "good enough" job on something.

Topics covered include:

What is Perfectionism & Why Change it?
Treating Perfectionism with Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT):
Mastering Self-Care: Relaxation & Meditation
Challenging Perfectionistic Thinking: The Path to Freedom Part 1
Decision-Making, Flexibility, & Comfort Zones
Challenging Perfectionistic Behavior: The Path to Freedom, Part 2
Picture Perfect: Social Media & Body Image
Making Mistakes, Failing & Life Lessons
Stress Management & Balanced Living

The book also includes resources, additional reading for teens, additional reading for Parents, apps, references, and a comprehensive index

Symptoms of Perfectionism:
  • Refusal to accept anything less than perfect
  • Holding yourself to impossible-to-meet high standards
  • Believing that your worth is measured by your achievements or grades
  • Being hyper-focused on grades
  • Needing to get straight-As or be the best at your sport/chosen activity
  • Spending excessive amounts of time on projects or schoolwork because you have to make it perfect
  • Checking work over and over again
  • Needing extensions to hand in assignments or papers
  • Being preoccupied with rules and lists
  • Being rigid and inflexible (for example, if plans change)
  • Difficulty asking for help
  • Difficulty delegating tasks to others
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Procrastination
  • Being unable to handle making a mistake
  • Feeling guilty for making a mistake or perceived failures
  • Being self-critical and harsh with yourself if your performance falls short of perfect
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others
  • Only being happy when you win or come in first
  • Being unable to accept feedback or constructive criticism
  • Spending hours on your appearance
  • Refusing to leave the house unless you look your best
  • Hyper-focusing on parts of your body that you are not happy with
  • Having negative body-image because your body is not perfect like a male or female model's body
  • Restricted eating (either due to wanting to stay within a certain calorie range or only eating 100% clean foods)
  • Waking up very early at the same time every day to exercise for 2 hours
  • Expecting others to do things to your standards
  • Regularly feeling disappointed in others
  • Expecting that others won't make mistakes
  • Holdings others to high/unattainable standards (for example, that others should do things in the way you would)
  • Being unwilling to delegate tasks to others
  • Being critical of others
  • Not being happy for others when they do well
  • Trouble sharing your thoughts or feelings
  • Difficulty relaxing and letting go
  • Inability to be spontaneous

Impact of Perfectionism:
  • Stress
  • Low self-esteem/ self-worth
  • Low self-confidence/ not believing in yourself
  • Self-doubt
  • Self-criticism
  • Self-deprecation
  • Feeling lots of pressure
  • Feeling like a failure
  • Feeling guilt
  • Feeling a sense of shame
  • Inability to celebrate your achievements
  • Negative impact on relationships with parents, teachers, friends
  • Others perceiving you as judgmental or "hard" on them
  • Trouble being close to others because you are overly judgmental
  • Limited problem-solving skills resulting from inflexible thinking
  • Limited creativity (often resulting from appealing to someone else's ideals)
  • Missing out on enjoyable, fun experiences
  • Missing out on being social
  • Physical problems such as GI issues and headaches
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Body image disturbance
  • Eating disorders

Author: Bonnie Zucker
Publisher: Magination Press
Published: 02/22/2022
Pages: 248
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.25lbs
Size: 8.60h x 5.80w x 0.70d
ISBN: 9781433837036
Audience: Young Adult

Review Citation(s):
Kirkus Reviews 02/01/2022
School Library Journal 03/01/2022 pg. 127

About the Author

Bonnie Zucker, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in private practice. She received her undergraduate degree from George Washington University, her master's degree from the University of Baltimore, and her doctoral degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. Dr. Zucker specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and is the author of Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler's Guide to Understanding Death, Anxiety-Free Kids, Take Control of OCD, and co-author of Resilience Builder Program for Children & Adolescents and two relaxation CDs. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Visit

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