Perfectionism can easily be mistaken for spirituality. In a flash, the whole path is reduced down to a checklist, a collection of ideals that I must become. This is spiritual violence, as I deny everything about myself in the hope of becoming a thought, an idea about perfection. The spiritual life then seems to be laced with guilt and shame, since I can never measure up to the standards that I have imposed upon myself. At times it may seem that there is hope of fulfilling these standards, like I have gotten over a hump, but in the end there is only more disappointment. I have never been able to fulfill the spiritual ideal. I have never been able to maintain the degree of perfection I expect from myself.