Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Perfectionism is like addiction

In both perfectionism and addiction, you can't get enough. You try, and you try, and you try, but you can't get no satisfaction.

I learned on Saturday (from a Theology of the Body conference) that an addiction is a tragic expression of a person's longing for the infinite. He looks for satisfaction in drugs, in pornography, in gambling - finite things - but they do not satisfy because he is really looking for an infinite thing, that is, God.

The same could be said, I think, of the perfectionist. He is looking for perfection in finite things (whether it be a text editor, or decorating his home, or following licensing rules, or whatever), and they fall short. What his heart is really looking for is an infinite thing, and that is God.

The conference said that there are stoics, addicts, and mystics; and that addicts are closer to mystics than stoics are.