Freedom From Perfectionism

With Shelly P Johnson

Title: “Philosophy of Play: Overcoming Perfectionism with Shelly Johnson”


  • Join us for a profound episode of The Playfulife Podcast featuring Shelly Johnson, a philosopher in play, sharing her journey from perfectionism to rediscovering the joy of play.
  • Shelly reflects on her early shift from playfulness to perfectionism, leading to anxiety and discouragement in her pursuit of flawlessness.

Episode Highlights:

  1. Early Struggles with Perfectionism:
    • Shelly recalls her early experiences with perfectionism during piano lessons and academic pressures, impacting her joy of learning and self-image.
    • The negative impact of perfectionism on her relationship with herself and the transformation it brought in her life.
  2. Rediscovering Playfulness:
    • Embracing fencing as an outlet and learning to detach from life’s seriousness, allowing curiosity and joy to reemerge.
    • Pursuing a philosophy Ph.D., adopting a playful attitude of detachment and curiosity, leading to her successful graduation.
  3. Philosophy of Play:
    • Shelly delves into the philosophy of play, drawing from Aristotle’s notion of Eutrapelia and the balance between taking life too seriously and not seriously enough.
    • Exploring the primal drive for play and its role in human life and societal health.
  4. Playfulness and Mindfulness:
    • Connecting playfulness with mindfulness, observing life gently and walking as a meditative practice.
    • Embracing self-compassion and recognizing worthiness as crucial elements in overcoming perfectionism.
  5. Being Our Own Best Friend:
    • Shelly emphasizes the importance of self-compassion, recognizing and nurturing the seeds of goodness within us.
    • Encouraging a compassionate approach, filled with wonder, curiosity, and joy towards oneself.

Resource Links:


  • Philosophy of play, perfectionism, rediscovering joy, mindfulness, self-compassion, human worthiness, overcoming anxiety, societal health.

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