I have struggled with perfectionism my entire life… from looks, to grades, to athletics, to a friendly game of Scrabble. I feel the need to be perfect in all aspects of life. Anything short of perfectionism is unacceptable in my mind. While I expect perfectionism from myself, I often have abounding grace for all those around and their lack of perfectionism.
A few months ago I watched Reshma Saujani’s Ted Talk: Teach girls bravery, not perfection. I loved each moment and was ready to cheer when she explained how as a society we teach boys to be brave while teaching girls to be perfect. After the twelve minute video I was ready to get out there and help foster a culture in which girls need to be brave, not perfect. I posted the video and said all girls needed to watch it.
Months passed and I continue to follow Reshma Saujani on social media and the work she does with Girls Who Code. I continue to look for ways in which as a society we can raise a different generation of girls… a generation of brave girls.
Today I was having a discussion with my sister and it got back to me not believing in myself and not being brave. I explained how I never feel like I am qualified enough, good enough, experienced enough… I basically was saying I am not perfect enough. I decided to go back and watch the Ted talk. This time as I listened tears filled my eyes because I desired to be the little girl who was taught to be brave not perfect. As I heard the call to teach girls bravery, I asked myself, how do we teach women, my age… gasp late 30s to be brave? How do we teach 60 year olds, 70 year olds to be brave? How do I become brave?
I believe it is not enough that we just teach the younger generation of women to be brave. We each must find ways to be brave and unshackle ourselves from the weight of perfectionism. While I believe the new generation is phenomenal and fully capable of being brave, it is not their responsibility to be brave for us too. I must be brave for me. It might be harder at 37 than if I would have grown up being brave, but I have to believe I can make this change. I am tired of perfectionism holding me back.
So here is to 2017: the year of me being brave.