The desire for perfection is that desire which always makes pleasure appear incomplete, for there is no joy or pleasure so great in this life that it can quench the thirst in your soul. -Dante
An important purpose of addiction recovery is to become aware of, and ultimately heal, the underlying emotional patterns that sabotage our ability to feel satisfied with life. Of the many common tendencies that will create consistent emotional discomfort in life, the pursuit of perfection is one of the most potent. The pursuit of perfection is usually rooted in an unconscious feeling of not being deserving of love and the associated erroneous belief that one must be perfect to be deserving of this basic need and its lifegiving benefits. Since perfection is not possible to achieve, however, its pursuit will inevitably lead to disappointment and feelings of futility—not to the experience of being loved. It is much better, then, to explore the beliefs behind this misguided goal so that we can be free to create other, more effective and realistic paths to feelings of deserving and adequacy. As today’s quotation explains, too, when perfection is dropped as a goal, the potential to feel deeper pleasure increases dramatically, and the deeper self is much more likely to be satisfied, thus decreasing the need for addictive behaviors.