What Causes Perfectionism and How to Get Over It

As a society, we tend to play fast and loose with the term perfectionism.

For some of us, it’s an irritating personality quirk we ascribe to people who are a little too uptight and obsessive for our tastes. Like the roommate who studies chemistry on Friday nights or the spouse who can’t stop tinkering with the living room furniture layout:

  • Ugh, he’s such a perfectionist…

But sometimes we describe ourselves as perfectionistic to signal how hard-working we are without seeming arrogant. Think of the humblebraggy job applicant in an interview:

  • I guess I’d have to say my biggest weakness is that I’m kind of a perfectionist.


Far from a mild personality quirk or the false humility of the high-achiever, true perfectionism is hellish.

Picture the nastiest, cruelest person you know. Now imagine that their full-time job is to follow you around, close as your shadow, constantly criticizing and judging everything you do. All the while holding out the tantalizing promise that all your fears and insecurities will disappear if only you do things just right.

To the person who struggles with perfectionism, the incessant voice in their head is as real as the voice of the person across the room.

The costs and consequences of perfectionism

But perfectionism doesn’t just feel bad. Research consistently shows that high levels of perfectionism are linked to a host of negative clinical outcomes, from eating disorders and fibromyalgia to depression and suicide. Enough said.

But even outside of clinical disorders, perfectionism can lead to significant problems in daily life, impacting everything from our productivity and work performance to our relationships and physical health. Below are a few examples of some of the costs of perfectionism:

  • Extreme Procrastination. While they may ultimately get a lot done, people who struggle with perfectionism are often terribly inefficient in their work, suffering from persistent and intense procrastination. After all, never starting is a good way to ensure we don’t fail.
  • Opportunity Cost. Along with the inefficiency of perfectionism-driven procrastination comes the problem opportunity cost: All those extra hours and units of energy spent striving for perfection could have been spent on any number of more fulfilling activities and experiences.
  • Chronic Stress. Perfectionism drives people to constantly do more, leading folks who struggle with it to take on far more projects, challenges, and stressors than they can reasonably handle. This surplus of to-dos quickly leads to chronic stress and burnout.
  • Persistent Dissatisfaction. People who struggle with perfectionism have the above mentioned ever-present voice in their head reminding them of how much there is to do and how badly they should feel if they don’t accomplish it. Aside from the guilt and frustration that results from this persistent inner critic, long-standing perfectionism makes it difficult to truly enjoy things in life and find genuine satisfaction. It’s hard to enjoy the present when we’re always looking ahead to new tasks or behind to old failures.

Needless to say, perfectionism is far more serious than it’s usually presented. And yet, it’s an especially difficult problem to overcome, in part because we don’t really understand what causes perfectionism.

In the rest of this article, I’m going to try and unpack why perfectionism is such a sticky and persistent problem for many folks.

Specifically, I’m going to show how, just like the term perfectionism tends to be misunderstood (or at least misused), the psychological mechanics that sustain perfectionism are similarly misunderstood.

And if we can get a clearer picture of the mechanisms involved in perfectionism, we will have a much better shot at resolving it.

Perfectionism isn’t about achieving perfection.

We tend to think about perfectionism in terms of behaviors and outcomes—acing the exam, hitting our sales numbers each week, ensuring the dinner party goes just right, etc. In other words, perfectionism appears to be about perfecting things out there in the world.

This makes some sense given that the behaviors associated with perfectionism are visible and easy to spot: Staying at work late every night, reviewing the report for a fifth time, putting in an extra half hour on the elliptical, etc.

But just because behaviors are visible and easy to observe doesn’t mean they’re the whole story. Or even the most important part of the story. The way we think about perfectionism is strongly influenced by the way it looks; but looks, as we all know, can be deceiving.

Far from a mild personality quirk or the false humility of the high-achiever, true perfectionism is hellish.

Most people with perfectionism will admit that they know intuitively that on some level their expectations and efforts toward achieving perfect outcomes are both unrealistic and detrimental, that true perfection is impossible.

Which leads us to the central paradox of perfectionism:

Perfectionists know that achieving perfection and doing things perfectly is impossible, and yet they feel driven to keep trying anyway.

What gives? What causes perfectionism if it’s not the drive to achieve perfection?

What Really Causes Perfectionism

Most perfectionism begins as a childhood response to some form of trauma (actual or perceived) and its emotional consequences:

  • After a difficult divorce, an only child begins trying to “be perfect” because they believe the separation was somehow their fault and that never making mistakes will prevent future family disruptions and assuage their guilt.
  • Because older brother was the good-looking, athletic one, and younger sister was the funny, charismatic one, the middle child learns to work inordinately hard in order to gain attention and affection.
  • As the child of a violent and erratic alcoholic parent, an oldest sibling learns to obsessively plan for every possible contingency each afternoon when coming home from school in order to protect herself (and her siblings) and to feel safe.

In each case, the habit of striving for perfection was initially triggered by a disturbing situation and the need to ease a painful emotion.

This habit of striving for perfection becomes strengthened because on some level it works. On the one hand, it may actually prevent harm, as in the case of the child who obsessively plans for every possible contingency regarding their abusive parent.

But the habit of perfectionistic striving may also “work” in the sense that it provides relief from a painful feeling. By throwing themselves into their school work and getting good grades, the forgotten middle child is able to distract themselves (temporarily) from the sadness that comes from feeling dismissed and devalued by their parents.

Perfectionism isn’t about being perfect, it’s about feeling perfect.

Rinse and repeat for a few decades and you’ve got a strongly ingrained habit of striving for perfection in order to feel good (or at least less badly).

Each time a painful emotion arises, the brain remembers that perfectionistic striving leads to some emotional relief in the past, and so it “pushes” us toward that option in the present.

And each time we follow through with this push, we strengthen the connection between painful emotion and perfectionistic striving. Which makes that initial push stronger and stronger as time goes on. This is how vicious cycles get formed.

Perfectionists don’t engage in perfectionistic behaviors because they’re under the delusion that they’ll actually achieve perfection; they do it because it temporarily provides relief from a painful feeling.

What causes perfectionism isn’t the desire to be perfect—it’s the desire to feel perfect.

How to Reduce Perfectionism

Learning the true motivation for perfectionism—emotional relief—is essential to unlearning it, since it’s only once we understand what we really need, that we can address that need in a more productive and less distressing way.

Perfectionism Reduction 101

The first level of perfectionism reduction involves identifying our emotional triggers for perfectionistic behavior and substituting alternative coping strategies with fewer downsides. Here’s how to get started in 3 pretty simple steps:

STEP 1: Begin by using your perfectionism as a cue for emotional awareness.

When you start to notice yourself engaging in your usual perfectionistic behavior (like re-checking your work for the 5th time), use that as a reminder to check in with yourself emotionally. Ask yourself:

  • What emotions am I feeling right now?
  • How strong are they?
  • What happened to trigger those emotions?
  • What was I thinking about leading up to the perfectionistic behaviors?

STEP 2: Develop a collection of alternative coping strategies.

Use the information you gathered with the above questions to generate a “playbook” of alternative strategies based on the emotions that tend to trigger perfectionism for you.

For example, if loneliness is your trigger, you might call a friend who always picks up and is easy to talk to. Or send a random silly text to a sibling, or take the dog to the dog park, or whatever activity tends to help you feel more connected to people.

The point is to have a collection of go-to strategies ready ahead of time so that when the emotion strikes, you have several alternatives to perfectionism ready at hand and easy to implement.

STEP 3: Practice and experiment.

Realize that it’s going to take some time and repetition to break out of the habit of going straight to your perfectionistic behaviors. And it’s going to feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. That’s how new learning and growth always feels.

At the same time, remember to have an experimental mindset: If Coping Strategy A doesn’t seem to be working for you, that doesn’t mean the whole project is a failure, just that you may need to experiment with a slightly different strategy.

Perfectionism Reduction 201

The first level of perfectionism reduction is an okay place to start—identifying the emotional triggers for perfectionistic behavior and substituting new, less destructive behaviors that meet the same emotional need as the perfectionism.

But here’s the secret to stepping up your game and really overcoming perfectionism for good: Realize that you don’t have to do anything in response to your emotions.

You can be aware of your painful emotions and really feel them without doing anything to try and reduce them or make them go away, including perfectionistic behaviors or any other coping strategy.

This is, by the way, the essence of mindfulness: To be aware without thinking or doing anything. Just observe.

Why would I just let my painful emotions happen without trying to reduce them? I’m not a masochist.

I get it. Just sitting with and tolerating uncomfortable emotions feels dumb, not to mention painful. From a young age, we’re taught to be fixers and problem-solvers, quickly taking action to make things right. The problem is, emotions aren’t a problem. Even the really painful ones. And there are consequences to treating them as if they were.

No amount of anger, sadness, regret, or any other emotion can hurt us because emotions themselves aren’t actually dangerous. But they do feel dangerous. And they feel like they’re going to last forever. Unless we do something about them, that is. Which is why most of us are in the habit of instantly trying to fix or distract ourselves from uncomfortable or painful emotions.

But this habit of immediately trying to make our feelings go away (via perfectionistic behaviors, for example), has a significant downside: We never get to see first hand what happens to emotions when they’re left to their own devices.

Don’t leave me hanging… What happens?!

Turns out… Not much. Again, this is the whole idea behind mindfulness. By just observing our emotions without trying to “fix” or run away from them, we get to learn experientially that it’s simply in their nature to be short-lived, to come and go quickly.

But if we always take action to reduce our emotion or distract ourselves from them, we never get the chance to really learn that for ourselves.

Wait, I’m confused… What exactly am I supposed to do? And how will this help my perfectionism?

Literally, nothing.

The habit of always doing something in response to uncomfortable emotions is itself the problem. Running away reinforces beliefs that our emotions are dangerous, making us even more likely to run away from them (and toward a coping mechanism like perfectionism) instead.

But when we’re willing to face our uncomfortable emotions and sit with them, we allow ourselves the opportunity to learn first-hand what emotions are really like—sometimes intense, but always fleeting.

This knowledge gives us the freedom and confidence to accept and ride out our emotions rather than compulsively trying to make them go away.

So, now that I’ve read this article and understand how perfectionism really works, I’ll be over it?

Not quite…

This isn’t intellectual knowledge we’re talking about here, it’s experiential knowledge. The owner of a pet shop can quote facts and statistics all day long about how tarantulas aren’t dangerous, but until you practice holding one in your hand over and over again, you’re still going to be afraid.

Similarly, you can intellectually understand that painful emotions aren’t dangerous or particularly long-lasting on their own. But you won’t really believe that and act accordingly until you experientially learn it for yourself.

The secret to overcoming perfectionism is to practice being tolerant of our emotions. Especially the ones that are strongly associated with perfectionistic behaviors.

How to Practice

Getting over perfectionism requires two basic (but difficult) skills:

1. Emotional Awareness

Before you can start to “work on” your perfectionism, it’s essential to be aware of the emotional cues or triggers for your perfectionistic behaviors. I recommend starting to keeping a small journal or simple notes file on your phone.

Whenever you feel the pull toward perfectionism, take a few minutes to reflect and answer the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • What emotion(s) did I feel?
  • What behaviors did I feel pulled to engage in?

Do this exercise long enough, and it will start to become painfully obvious what your emotional triggers for perfectionism are.

2. Emotional Tolerance

Once you get better at noticing when a perfectionism-triggering emotion is present (or if you get really good, anticipating ahead of time that a certain event or situation may trigger such an emotion), the next step is to practice staying with and feeling the emotion rather than running away from it, “fixing it,” or otherwise trying to distract yourself from it.

The idea is to build up a tolerance to the discomfort of negative emotion. Much like how an athlete through training learns that they can endure more physical discomfort than they realized in order to perform well, it’s important to learn that we can endure emotional discomfort in order to take action based on our values and what’s truly important to us rather than building our life around avoiding pain and discomfort.

As a concrete way to practice this, try The 2-Minute Drill: Once you’ve identified a perfectionism-triggering emotion, pull out your phone, set the timer for 2 minutes, and tell yourself that for at least these two minutes, I’m just going to sit with my emotion and feel it. Then after two minutes, you can decide to go ahead with the perfectionistic behavior anyway or choose to do something else.

After a while, try bumping the time up to 4 minutes, then 7. By the time you get to 10 minutes, you’ll almost certainly have gained enough experience to see that the awfulness of the sitting with the emotion was not what you first imagined.

Finally, building a mindfulness practice is a great way to practice both emotional awareness and emotional tolerance. Here are a few articles to get you started if that’s of interest:

Wrapping Up

Most of the advice out there on overcoming perfectionism falls flat because it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of what causes perfectionism.

Tips to “lower your standards,” “schedule time to be lazy,” or best of all, “just relax” are all based on the faulty assumption that the difficulty with perfectionism is in the outcome, in trying to be perfect.

But the true problem with perfectionism is in how we respond to the feeling that precedes it, it’s about trying to feel perfect.

When we understand this fundamental difference, we can more successfully target our efforts to change by working to become more aware and tolerant of our emotions. And if we can do this—accept our emotions rather than run from them—we can remove the need for perfectionism in the first place.


Add Yours

Thanks so much for helping me to understand why I am different from my other siblings. From a very early age I always wanted my environment to be clean and orderly but my siblings didn’t care as much as I did, I wonder what caused me to be different from the others. Today I am still fighting that battle. I don’t like clutter or living with things that are not functional, I believe that I am living a healthier life, what do you think?

Very insightful! I can relate to the article. I guess am somehow guilty of this attitude. Thanks for the jolt Nick!

Thanks, Ana! Although, I wouldn’t frame it as “guilty” necessarily… I think it’s something that we’re often trained from a really early age to do—so much so that it can simply be our default. Don’t be too hard on your self 🙂

Dear Nick, your article is the best I’ve read on the matter. You shed light on the real causes of this behaviour, on what it actually feels when you ‘suffer’ from it and you shared realistic steps for getting started with being mindful- which seems to be a great life-skill especially for when dealing with mental health issues.
From my personal experience, perfectionism is strongly connected with generalized anxiety and it all comes down to the illusion that one can actually have control over life itself. Under this illusion we strive to fix everything and avoid every single unexpected, uncomfortable and uneasy instance of our lives.
Thank you so much for this article.

Thanks, Anna! I think you’re exactly right about the illusion of control—very powerful, but ultimately not in our best interest.

Great post, it makes a lot of sense. I made 1 Million $ with some Online Business, then went over to a really unstructured life, full of distractions, for almost a year. Came back now to work, cause this lifestyle didnt feel good and now i realised after 1,5 months of structure that i cant start any business because im jumping from one idea to the other. Trying to make my next success more perfect, and successful. But thats the problem, its an underlyinng compensation for how i deal with emotions -thats the problem – not the outcome itself.

thank you for your article.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply James. Love how you put that at the end: “its an underlyinng compensation for how i deal with emotions -thats the problem – not the outcome itself.”

Good luck!

Nick, I really appreciate the sentiment behind this article. As you’ve pointed out, so many articles on perfectionism are insultingly simplistic and miss the point of what drives perfectionism in the first place. For me, it manifests (amongst other ways) in the form of crippling indecision, which comes out in both life decisions/commitments and my work or schoolwork, as well as even simple life decisions when my anxiety is heightened (e.g. the store stops selling the organic shampoo I’ve been using for 7 years and now I have to survey every other option at multiple stores; this one has an ingredient I don’t like, that one has an unpleasant scent, this one is meant for colored hair, that one has an unappealing bottle design, this one is the same price but 3.4 fewer oz., ad nauseam — I’ve literally found myself paralyzed in the toiletries section for 35 minutes, only to walk out with nothing because I couldn’t make up my mind. This is one of countless examples…). This behavior is incredibly painful, because I know it’s counterproductive and a waste of my life energy. It’s not a logical issue, though. I’ve been looking at it lately from an Internal Family Systems perspective. I think of my perfectionism as a “Protector,” as it clearly wants to protect me from the vulnerability of making a mistake. For me, at a very deep, subconscious level, there is simply an existential fear of “making a mistake.” Again, not logical. In certain moments of deeply touching my emotional core, I’ve been able to experience the true emotional root, which is this fear of getting it wrong, and in those moments, I cry and wail and feel utterly relieved and am so clear that it’s not even remotely about which shampoo to buy (or which job to pursue, or which city to live in) — I feel completely held and able to offer myself unconditional compassion regardless of choices or outcomes. But then I resume my day-to-day affairs and must make a decision in the form of one action or another (or responding to someone, a deadline, an opportunity, etc.) and get stuck all over again in the delusion of the problem being the choice itself instead of the sense of personal insufficiency that fuels my decision anxiety in the first place. I truly believe that when we feel good about ourselves and unconditionally held, there is no need for these behaviors. The problem is that the response is habitual, like any addictive or compulsive response. I’m 38 and I’m tired, and I’m sick of giving myself gray hairs. I’m looking to let go. I just often feel like, even after years of therapy and spiritual practice and self-help, I don’t know how. If anyone visiting this site has experience with specific forms of therapy or treatment for OCD or OCPD as it relates to perfectionism that has been particularly effective, I’d be very happy to be in touch. Wishing unconditional self-love to us all…

Hi Emily, thank you for your response. Perfectionism, as you explain, can be a major struggle and source of suffering.

I really like that idea of thinking about perfectionism as a well-intentioned but ultimately misguided “protector.”

Here are a few places you can go to look for a qualified professional—I definitely recommend someone who’s a specialist in cognitive behavioral therapy.




Best of luck!

Hi Nick!

Love your writings. I save them and share them with my clients. As a therapist, I spend a significant amount of time reminding people to ‘just notice’ whatever comes up. Are you just an astute student of psychology or do you work in the field as well?

Haha! Thanks Julie! Yeah, a lot of the ideas from my articles come from content that comes up repeatedly in my own sessions with clients.

So much power in “just notice.”

Great piece and probably one of the few that at least puts a “why” to it. The problem I still have is the feeling that by forcing myself to do nothing and let the sadness, hurt, pain, disapppointment and more wash over me is that it does not pass for me when it needs to. It is like a bully, hanging around, ready to strike when you mess up. By letting it linger, I am effectively saying to those feelings “hang around, teach the other feelings what reality is.” It then leaves me crying and shaking, but I cant do anything about it: after all, that would go against the principles of mindfulness now wouldn’t it? Then the actual consequences from someone crying ensue: you are classed as either weak or sick, shoved onto fat pills that do nothing but make it worse, encouraged to resign from your job and basically cut off from any actual help. You can say that mindfulness is the answer, but it doesn’t work for everyone. And stating otherwise fails to acknowledge the studies done on mindfulness are of poor quality. Stating that I must not be doing it right doesn’t get to the root of the issue.

Hi Amy, thanks for your thoughtful reply.

When we talk about sitting with those negative emotions and being okay with them, the big distinction is to simply observe them without thinking about them, what they mean, what they’re consequences will be, etc.

If the emotion continues to stick around and even grow, that means that there is still some form of thinking or cognitive elaboration on the emotion happening.

This is why I recommend Mindfulness so much—it teaches you how to not think and just observe and be aware of.

This article might help make that distinction a little bit more clearly:


Also, you might consider working with a therapist on this since they will be able to provide a lot of in-the-moment guidance and support.

Now that I know what to do, I know I can definitely overcome this. I can’t express how much it means to me to have found answers and to be pointed in the right direction.
Thank you.

I just love the article so much .. it explained lots of things to me ..
I hope one day I become a psychiatrist …

this is a really good article, perfectionism is real and it hurts. i think that it is all part of anxiety though, the feeling that there is a lot of things to do and there is not enough time to do it all really “good”. its crippling to deal with such things like this because many people may not understand, which is fine.
i could remember in elementry school, i re wrote my notes 5 times because i was not comfortable with my handwriting, looking at it now, i feel like i was running, running away from my emotions, it hurts that this happens but we have to deal with our emotions. thanks again nick

I liked the content of the article, though I think the title can be misleading and disheartening. Because in the title it says “… and how to get over perfectionism” instead of “How to reduce it”, I found it gives a false narrative pointing to the fact that if you have perfectionism or perfectionistic tendencies, something is wrong with you or you should easily be able to get over it. Again, I enjoyed the content of the article, just the title put me in a weird headspace even before reading it.

oh shit. i just matched all three examples of how perfectionism is caused. I knew i was a little bit of a perfectionist but now i realized it affected my daily health and life and I want to change so bad.

I do not think I have ever read a better post, so good.
Although the word perfectionist had been thrown around with my siblings I had a difficult time connecting to it. Then recently, I said the words, “I am not perfect” and it was painful…or at minimum awkward, so I thought there must be something there. I just randomly stumbled on to your article (and probably because I am a perfectionist) I am discerning with what I read. I just wanted to let you know what a good job you did with this…thank you.

Thank you for this brilliant and comforting article. I’ve returned to many times over the last year. Ironically I found it while procrastinating on some work that makes me feel overwhelmed. I’d craftily branded my “perfectionism, as being an “optimizer,” because as you point out, perfectionists know perfect isn’t real, and that’s how I was able to describe it without feeling crazy. I also realized that I evade emotional distress by being hyper productivity in other areas, i.e. work is stressful so instead I will spend the day researching and strategizing on how to fix my “perfectionism,” in other words- perfecting not being perfect. It is a very slippery slope on a long road to a healthy mindset.

My perfectionism is crippling and overwhelming. Started when I was about 8 and now I just turned 50. My business failed recently after 25 years and I am not doing well with it, barely able to recall the good times and successes. I can’t get hired because my field is too narrow and only pays minimum wage now (when it used to be lucrative), and bombed numerous interviews with them all telling me the same thing, “why do you want to work for someone”? Duh, because I am broke!

It all cripples my self worth and I realize now my career only worked because I was able to feed my perfectionist side daily in that job, finding validation from others constantly. Not having validation is foreign for me, as my main coping mechanism for most of my life. I have no other escapes but alcohol, and even hobbies bring no relief to the negative self talk. I beat myself up for not finding some respite, and for being “worthless” at 50 years old after a fancy, exciting career collapsed with nothing to recoup from it.

Anyways, thanks for the insight here. Your take on perfectionism is refreshing compared to the drivel I have heard from everyone, including therapists. I’ll try to accept my feelings more and see if I can stop escaping through validation, alcohol or rewards. I have a long way to go.

Nick.. I’ve just realised I’m a perfectionist, read a few other articles but yours is by far these I’ve seen so far. I did a job I shouldn’t have taken on, but I really wanted to do it snd mistakenly thought I was good enough. I wasn’t and I made some big mistakes. For the last 3 days I have been beside myself with grief as it was clearly a complete disaster, and fear of what everyone’s reactions will be when they realise how bad a job I did, which is yet to come. I’m not sleeping etc.So I have this huge hurdle to overcome right now, BUT I can see why I’m like this now any I procrastinate flick between tasks, always want to get better equipment so my work will be perfect and other people will thank me soo much. Virtually every trait I have is described in this article. I’m going to sign up with counsellor who can resonate with what you’re saying and stick with it, I think that’s my past failure.

Hey thank you. What a wonderful article. I recently have realised that I don’t “approve of myself” but I don’t have low self-esteem. I actually think I’m doing pretty great. And I like myself alot.

The problem is I’m not reaching my own expectations, partly because of a very traumatic childhood and early twenties (which I am just learning ‘sets one back’ in comparison to one’s peers) and partly because I am never good enough for myself and nothing is ever good enough for me.

I have an enviable life yet I am unhappy in it. I am a unhappy in it because I am always guilty. I am always guilty because I am always failing to be perfect. Yet I am always trying to be perfect (FEEL perfect) because I think that will make me happy.

Holy. The cycle!

When I think about accepting myself as is and approving if myself before reaching my myriad of big and little goals I feel nervous. I know ultimately approving of myself and being mindful IS the way to enjoy and appreciate and LIVE my life.

But something inside me says that if I am not perfect, or striving to be, I am not safe.

I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for over a year. And it very much heloed (though I wasn’t aware that this was the issue it was helping). Recently I stopped being consistent in my practice (because I lost my year long streak on the app because of a technical error on their part and thus ‘gave up’ -stupid I know).

And then I found myself anxious again, guilty and disapproving again.

Anyway. I see now even an imperfect meditation/mindfulness practice is what I need. I will follow your advice of looking for my triggers. I am sure they are legion.

Thank you so much for this article. It is the missing piece of the puzzle I have been looking for.

Perhaps the real safety is in presence, not perfection. After all, there is no perfection. But there is life. And honestly. I would like to be present and accepting of the rest of mine instead of waiting to be perfect to begin. I’ve been trying to be good/healthy/emotionally mentally healthy enough to enjoy my life for the last forty years and I’m not there yet.

I suspect the spiritual/emotional/parenting/life goals reached –perfection I want does not exist.

Perfectionism has been a major stumbling block since a lad but nothing ever rang true until reading your blog, including CBT. It is awful when related to bereavement as mixed with feelings of grief, regret and guilt over a lost loved one – it can be very difficult to make sense of anything and can really add to the trauma. Thanks for your thoughtful blog. Have signed up for the course.

Nick your article gives me permission to be mindfull of my emotions as for years I wanted to be human and feel them and somehow thought that was a distant response to them.

Grief can also make you feel that regret is a silly emotion compared to the feeling of the loss of the person. Unless that loss is what you are trying to avoid feeling.

This gives me permission to observe my thoughts whereas for a long time I thought that I must live them in order to have an authentic human experience. I didn’t want to be a yogi but I see there is nothing wrong with experiencing them from a distance.

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