Be Brave, Not Perfect
Why do our girls strive for perfection and our boys actively seek out challenges? What impact is this having on the economy and the world?
Well, millions of women and young girls are sat at home, unfulfilled and in ‘safe’ jobs because of it – not fulfilling their potential and not lighting up the world in the way they should be.
“We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program — two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. “I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.””
Reshma’s TED talk (link below) made me cry real tears.
Because I connected with so much of what she said. It made me remember all the times I’d hit backspace and deleted my work before calling my teacher over to say I didn’t understand the work.
I’d rather them be mad at me for not doing any work, rather than my teacher see I’d made a mistake and got it all wrong.
I connected with all the times I’d said to myself – I can’t do it, there’s something wrong with ME.
I connected with and remembered all the times I’d felt small, tiny in fact, when faced with a challenge. I remembered how I’d hid away, backed off and stayed safe, just so I didn’t fail.
I know the girls she’s talking about, I have many in my yoga classes and sessions.
I cried because I connected with the girls she spoke about in the video and I think you will too.
The type who are so scared of getting it wrong, failing or being embarrassed that we avoid challenge at all costs.
But I wasn’t taught to be this way. I never remember being told to ‘be perfect’ or ‘don’t do that – you’re not brave…’
I don’t remember ever being taught to be cautious.
I also cried because I recognised these things in my 4 year old daughter too, and that got me thinking…
“Are girls not only socialised to be this way – but what if they’re born this way too?”
It breaks my heart when my little babe gives up on something or won’t even attempt something because she’s scared of getting it wrong or she finds it too challenging.
She’s done it since she was a baby – she sat for 10 months – watching and absorbing, before she even attempted to pull herself up and take baby steps.
Only when she absolutely knows for sure she will be able to do it, does she even try it. Which is an awesome and cautious quality to have, but I fear as she gets older this caution may get worse.
I have never told her not to be brave. I never told her to be careful. I always had a sense that no matter what she did, she would be OK and I wanted her to be as confident as she could be. But no matter what I did, she has always and continues to be cautious, careful and thoughtful.
I worry maybe I passed this on during pregnancy. Did she get her perfection ways from me desperately trying to be the perfect breastfeeding mother – but failing miserably and feeling inadequate?
Did she sense my disappointment with myself when I wasn’t able to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans after 4 weeks?
Did she sense my eager and overbearing perfectionist streak, whilst she was growing inside of me?
The perfectionism which was forced upon me by society and other women?
When will we draw the line with perfectionism and know that it is unattainable for 99.999999999999% of the whole population?
I beg, suggest, propose and plead with you to stop measuring yourself to others, stop aiming for perfection, be happy with what you can do, what you are able to achieve, and most of all:
BE BRAVE! Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Kathryn is a mum of one, Teen Yoga teacher and EFT practitioner, specialising in helping young women and teenagers overcome self-doubt, high sensitivity, low confidence and develop into their true potential. She lives and teaches in Sheffield, UK. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook or email her firstname.lastname@example.org