Why most women are perfectionists

How do you start your day? With coffee. Yeah, I get that. But that was not what I meant.

This morning I realised that I have one stupid habit that ruins my day before I even begin to function properly.

I scan the inner and outside landscape for things that I have done wrong.

Maybe I drank wine and I am not as fit as I want to be. Maybe I wonder how many stupid things I said to the different people I met. Maybe I was too direct. Maybe I was not clear enough.

If I can’t find a mistake in the outside world, I start looking within. I could have done more for my health. I should have done more for my inner growth.

And when I notice that I am always blaming myself, I start to blame myself for always blaming myself.

Why do I do this? It doesn’t have any positive effects. It drains my energy. It doesn’t help my mood.

But when I realised that this is an unconscious but daily habit, I also realised why I keep doing it.

What I am doing is perfectionism. Why I do it is because of patriarchy.

Most women I know never feel entirely safe. There is always the danger of a (sexual) assault, and if you are unfortunate it is not only a threat, but a reality.

We think that there will be less danger if we are invisible. One way is to hide. The second way is to become so perfect that nobody finds a reason to attack us.

We never talk about patriarchy, because it is such an everyday experience that you stop noticing it. Like the weather. When the sun is always shining, why bother talking about the sun. Besides, most people don’t like to talk about this issue, so we shut up.

Patriarchy is an important reason why women find it so hard to become visible with their business. Visibility multiplies the threat. If we make a mistake publicly, everyone will notice, so either we prepare unconsciously for the attack, or we continue to hide ourselves.

The difficulty for women is that we want safety, but we also long for freedom: to earn money in our own business. This means we often find ourselves between a rock (safety) and a hard place (visibility).

Is there any good news? Yes, there is. Because most women I know are incredibly courageous. They have done amazing things, despite patriarchy. Like Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic on May 19th 1932. Like all the women who have become successful in their business or their career.

Let’s tell ourselves and each other that we are safe enough and that we can do almost everything, when we make a conscious choice and take courageous action.

Let’s help each other to stop hiding and to show ourselves to this world, imperfect beings that we are, because we have so much to offer.

Let’s stop telling ourselves and other women what we do wrong, and let’s forgive ourselves for all our so-called mistakes. Let’s start giving each other compliments for every courageous action we take.

If you want, tell me about your acts of courage, or your fears. Don’t be ashamed. I will either congratulate you, or help you conquer your dragons. In all cases I am really glad to hear from you.

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