Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control

Overview

While there's no doubt that setting high standards for yourself is a good thing, you've probably already noticed that perfectionism can come at a high price. And when you take steps to try to change, it's easy to be too hard on yourself and fall into the same traps that keep you feeling stressed and disappointed. This book presents a revolutionary approach to overcoming perfectionism-a way to transform your need for precision into self-acceptance, compassion, and love for each perfectly imperfect passing moment ...

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Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control

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Overview

While there's no doubt that setting high standards for yourself is a good thing, you've probably already noticed that perfectionism can come at a high price. And when you take steps to try to change, it's easy to be too hard on yourself and fall into the same traps that keep you feeling stressed and disappointed. This book presents a revolutionary approach to overcoming perfectionism-a way to transform your need for precision into self-acceptance, compassion, and love for each perfectly imperfect passing moment in our lives. In Present Perfect, you'll use the Buddhist psychology of mindfulness to learn to accept the present moment in all of its ordinary perfection. This book is filled with over 150 exercises and meditations that you can practice to become more flexible toward yourself and others without losing your love of a job well done. With this compassionate approach, you'll soon be able not only to accept life as it is, but also become more accepting and forgiving of yourself and others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Perfectionism is endemic to modern Western culture, and exacts a hefty psychological price. People are increasingly dissatisfied with their performance, hypercritical of their peers, and undone by the slightest hint of failure. Somov argues that by applying some Buddhist-minded psychological tactics, people can let go of their pathological perfectionism and improve their lives, jobs, and relationships. While some of his advice is superb and crucial for people who are too hard on themselves and others, much of it has extremely limited practical applications; oddly, Somov’s advice seems to exist outside effective participation in modern society. While some of what he says - be mindful of tasks, focus on one thing at a time - is sound, readers may finally ask, “But how can I successfully do this and perform well in my career or life?” This is not the question that a self-help book wants its readers to have to ask. Better integrating the advice would have been a vast improvement; as it stands, Present Perfect feels more useful as a guide to the idealized reality that Somov counsels his readers against. (June)
From the Publisher
“This brilliant and practical new book is designed to help alleviate the excess stress and dissatisfaction of perfectionism, one of the main practices of the extremely popular, if unheralded, religion I lovingly call Control Freakism. Pavel Somov gives us numerous helpful awareness exercises, conscious inquiries, insights, mindfulness practices, original perspectives, and penetrating ideas, all conducive to helping us free ourselves from this tyrannical inner demon and experience the radiant reality of things just as they are. Acceptance has its own transformative magic, and I heartily recommend this work to all who want to transform, awaken, and edify.”
— Lama Surya Das, founder of Dzogchen Meditation Centers and author of Awakening the Buddha Within

“Rarely does a work of art like Present Perfect fall upon one’s desk. This book allows us to transform existential pain caused by our need to be perfect. This book is abundant with tools and ideas that equip the reader to resolve guilt, shame, and perfectionism. Once you accept and surrender your perfectionism, the magical paradox of mindfulness as a healer will unfold.”
— Ronald A. Alexander, Ph.D., executive director of the Open Mind Training Institute and author of Wise Mind, Open Mind

“Even those of us with a lot of self-help reading under our belts will experience many a-ha moments while immersed in Present Perfect. Somov’s approach is highly logical, creative, resourceful, and compassionate. Never once will you feel judged; instead, you’ll feel understood. I highly recommend this valuable resource to therapists and anyone with perfectionist tendencies.”
— Dina Cheney, author of Tasting Cluband Williams-Sonoma’s New Flavors for Salads

Present Perfect takes a wholly fresh look at an age-old problem by applying a generous dose of the healing salve of mindfulness. Filled with fascinating references and down-to-earth examples, this book skillfully guides the reader through exercises and strategies that can transform the paralyzing and demoralizing pattern of perfectionism. Present Perfect is the perfect way to liberate yourself from the guilt, shame, and blame of perfectionism and rediscover the freedom of living in the ‘what is.’”
— Donald Altman, psychotherapist, former Buddhist monk, and author of The Mindfulness Code

“Pavel Somov offers an intelligent, witty, and compassionate critique of perfectionism and makes a compelling case that life is already perfect. I found this book to be thoroughly enjoyable and personally and professionally useful from the first page. I feel as comfortable recommending this book to my colleagues as I do to my patients and am confident that both will find it of tremendous value in their lives. Since perfectionism is often the other side of compulsive and addictive behavior, this book will be relevant to all who seek more moderation and balance in their lives.”
— Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in New York City specializing in treating addictive behavior and author of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

“In this book, Somov not only provides a plethora of highly accessible and instantly applicable ways to connect with mindful awareness, but also provides lucid and rational ways to dethrone the inner tyrant of perfectionism and fully live in the completeness of each moment.”
— Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., director of research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and author of Mindful Motherhood

“Licensed psychologist Somov has found that clients can make progress in the areas of tolerating uncertainty, refraining from harsh self-judgment, and reducing anxious feelings by doing mindfulness exercises. Essentially, the more they accept the moment, thhe more they can accept themselves.
Verdict: Present Perfect, one of the most helpful in the OCPD self-help arena.”
Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572247567
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
  • Publication date: 6/3/2010
  • Series: Unassigned Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 359,630
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Pavel Somov, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. After serving in the Soviet military and completing his undergraduate degree at Moscow State Pedagogical University, he immigrated to the United States to pursue a career in psychology. He received his doctorate from State University of New York at Buffalo. Somov is author of Eating the Moment, Present Perfect, and the upcoming Smoke Break and The Lotus Effect.

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Table of Contents

introduction 1

part 1 introduction to perfectionism in general and to your perfectionism in particular

Chapter 1 360? of perfectionism 5

Part 2 perfectly imperfect, completely incomplete, and just so

Chapter 2 broadening the meaning of perfection 25

Chapter 3 perfectly imperfect: from dualities and dichotomies to suchness 39

Chapter 4 completely incomplete: a process view of perfection 49

Part 3 overcoming mindlessness, guilt, shame, and motivational apathy

Chapter 5 the rehabilitation of conscious choice 61

Chapter 6 finding perfection in a mistake 73

Chapter 7 from guilt to regret: rediscovering motivational innocence 81

Chapter 8 from resentment and reluctance to renewed enthusiasm 91

Part 4 rehabilitation of your self-view

Chapter 9 from self-esteem to self-acceptance 101

Chapter 10 breaking away from the mirror: dis-identification and re-identification 111

Part 5 time, performance, and uncertaint

Chapter 11 from here to here: developing a healthy relationship with time 121

Chapter 12 from outcome to process: in search of perfect performance 137

Chapter 13 embracing the uncertainty of the future 153

Chapter 14 beyond certainty: cultivating the don't-know mind 163

Part 6 coexistence, compassion, connection

Chapter 15 from social vacuum to compassionate coexistence 173

references 189

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