“What’s the difference between perfectionism and wanting to be worthy?” New Era, August 2017
What’s the difference between perfectionism and wanting to be worthy?
The desire to be worthy often comes from our love of God and a sense of His love for us. It leads us down the path of obedience, covenants, and repentance. It is a desire to become perfect as the Savior invited us to do (see Matthew 5:48). But this means striving to be humble and to “deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness” so that we can be perfected in Jesus Christ by His grace (see Moroni 10:32).
Perfectionism, on the other hand, is often born of fear rather than love—fear of shame, fear of failure, fear of punishment, fear of disapproval or disappointment. It leads us down the path of anxiety and emotional instability.
“Worthiness and perfection don’t mean the same thing! … We can be worthy while still needing improvement. … Those suffering from perfectionism … suffer from exaggerating their minor mistakes, weaknesses, or shortcomings to the point that they may become dysfunctional. … We need to recognize [our weaknesses], but we do not glory in them or magnify them” (Cecil O. Samuelson, “What Does It Mean to Be Perfect?” New Era, Jan. 2006, 10–13).