Perfection, truly, is unattainable, yet a lot of us strive to reach that standard. In her BYU-Idaho devotional address, Julie Shiffler warned listeners that reaching for absolute perfection is a bad idea.
Shiffler is a counselor at the BYU-Idaho Counseling Center and has worked there for 23 years. She has a doctorate in psychology from Utah State University.
Her talk titled “Perfect in Christ” discussed the importance of knowing that sometimes our best isn’t perfect, and that’s okay. Shiffler said a perfectionist mindset is something she sees a lot as a counselor.
“Any time we employ self-criticism, we are engaging in perfectionism. This is an unhealthy practice that can lead to depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems,” she said in her devotional talk.
Instead of criticizing our inability to do something the way we wanted to, Shiffler said what’s important is understanding that when we try our best, we can use the Savior’s Atonement as a guideline to help better ourselves.
“Relying on the Savior's Atonement and accepting that our best effort is good enough doesn’t mean that we ‘settle.’ Rather, we continue to strive to improve, while accepting along the way that what we can do at this moment in time is enough,” she said.
BYU-Idaho Radio interviewed Shiffler about her talk. She said the most important thing to reflect on is the circumstance we find ourselves in when things don’t go according to plan.
“When I’m helping someone from a spiritual perspective, we talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that its message is that if we can do the best that we can do given our circumstances, and we’re continuing to strive to do better, that doing our best effort is good enough,” she said in the interview.
The one thing she wants listeners to understand is that because of the Atonement, doing our best will always be enough for Heavenly Father.