Item description for Perfecting Ourselves To Death: The Pursuit Of Excellence And The Perils Of Perfectionism by Richard Winter...
Overview Examines the price and perils of perfectionism including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, then explores the roots of perfectionism, and finally provides a new perspective on perfectionism that is rooted in finding confidence in Christ and his teachings. Original.
Publishers Description Honored in 2006 as a "Year's Best Book for Preachers" by Preaching magazine. Perfect body. Perfect clothes. Perfect family. Perfect house. Perfect job. We strive for excellence in all areas of our lives. And there's nothing wrong with a healthy, mature pursuit of excellence. But what begins as healthy and normal can sometimes become neurotic and abnormal, leading to debilitating thoughts and behaviors: eating disorders anxiety and depression obsession and compulsions fear of failure relational dysfunction In Perfecting Ourselves to Death, Richard Winter explores the positive and negative effects of perfectionism on our lives. He looks at the seductive nature of perfectionism as it is reflected in today's media. He examines the price and perils of perfectionism. And he explores the roots of perfectionism, delving into what originally awakens this drive in us. After analyzing the negative feelings and defeatist behaviors that unhealthy perfectionism births, he provides practical strategies for how to change. "The important thing to see," writes Winter, "is that we are to strive to become better people, not just to be content with who we are or how we measure up to the standards of the culture around us." For Christians this means becoming more like Christ in every area of our lives. Here is the "perfect" book for those who struggle with perfectionism and for those pastors, counselors and friends who want to understand and help perfectionists.
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Studio: IVP Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.34" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2005
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830832599 ISBN13 9780830832590
Availability 0 units.
More About Richard Winter
Dr. Richard Winter, husband and father of four grown children, is a psychotherapist, counselor and professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. A native of Britain, he trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and has lived in the United States since 1992. His books include Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment and Perfecting Ourselves to Death.
Reviews - What do customers think about Perfecting Ourselves To Death: The Pursuit Of Excellence And The Perils Of Perfectionism?
Help for those trapped in perfectionism. Dec 1, 2006
I've always had an overactive conscience, and I like to be in control. So perfectionism comes naturally to me. Any failure, real or perceived, brings on anxiety and recrimination. However, I've grown tired of trying to live up to my own impossible ideals and the inflated expectations of others. This year, a number of trials showed me the futility of perfectionism. I'll never be able to truly control myself, my circumstances, or anyone else. Indeed, there's a big difference between who I'd like to be, and who I really am (see Romans 7). So I was ripe for the encouraging instruction of "Perfecting Ourselves to Death."
Richard Winter has crafted a comprehensive, Biblically-based book on the topic of perfectionism. At its core, perfectionism is a desire for control and a means to eliminate uncertainty - in other words, if I do A, then I'll get B and avoid C. The author describes various examples of perfectionist thought patterns and behaviors, such as legalism, obsessive-compulsive thinking, and so on. From there, he goes over consequences like anxiety, eating disorders, and relational problems. Finally, Mr. Winter outlines a grace-based path that involves letting go of the perfectionist desire for control and certainty. Each chapter ends with discussion questions to assist in grasping its main idea.
Some Christians fear that letting go of perfectionism will lead to moral chaos and a slacker mentality. The "Perfectionist's Prayer" on pages 127-128 perfectly illustrates this mindset. Is it possible to do well and avoid sin without a perfectionist bent? Mr. Winter suggests that we can. The journey towards maturity and excellence begins with the admission that perfection is impossible. From there, growth occurs through a resolution to live with imperfection, plus a cognitive, prayerful alteration of perfectionist thought patterns. Of course, the grace of God is the grease that makes the wheels of change turn.
Depending on your type and level of perfectionist leanings, certain parts of this book will hit harder than others. In my case, I was most impacted by the perfectionist symptom of "keeping my options open" by refusing to make risky decisions. For example, I've tended to stay in failing dating relationships because I was afraid of rejecting her. What if I blow off the "right one," and miss out? However, in the end I was the one who got rejected. So I was left frustrated at myself for staying in a bad situation because of fear. Now, I strive to make these kinds of difficult judgment calls, even if I close off a potential path. Of course, this idea holds true if and when the time comes to commit to a good woman. Commitment is a risk, and part of that risk entails forsaking other options (as the book and movie "High Fidelity" so aptly demonstrated).
"Perfecting Ourselves to Death" is a helpful book for the frustrated perfectionist who is looking to change. Similar books you might want to check out are, "Tired of Trying to Measure Up" by Jeff VanVonderen and "The Myth of Certainty" by Daniel Taylor.
A helpful book Aug 2, 2006
Dr. Winter's book is very easy to understand. He presents a lot of information about types of perfectionism, since it varies from person to person. He also talks about some of where it comes from, and practical and "spiritual" strategies/concepts that can help us toward overcoming it.
He also provides references from literature that can take us deeper if we wish, and has done a lot of good research in the wider literature on the topic to prepare this book. He also has a lot of relevant experience.