How Perfectionism Might Be More of a Female Thing… (Oh, dare I say?)

Do you ever wonder where this wholephoto
perfectionist thing comes from?

Have you ever noticed how women tend
to be more focused on improving everything,
including ourselves and our men (or women)?

Or how we tend to point out the one thing
that is wrong instead of noticing the MANY
things that are right?

As women we suffer from perfectionism more than men.

Yes, I did just say that… But, before you get your panties in a bunch, the idea I’m sharing is pretty interesting and may even help you to put an end to the perfectionist programming.

Before we get into how we can change that, we will the many faces of perfectionism.

Perfection shows up wearing a comparison dress thus causing us immense pain. Media is one key pusher for us to be competitive with one another. Just look at the magazines who have entire pages with the, “who wore it best”, beauty contests (can you say honey boo-boo), and the never ending gossip about celebrities that we can’t get enough of.

Perfectionism even tends to paralyze us from taking the next step. Click to tweet…

Perfectionism is the BIGGEST dream killer too! It keeps us from not going for the dream of working for ourselves as a coach to help others  – how can we when our lives are not perfect? IT keeps us from applying for the dream job, writing the book, launching the website or even going to the party.

Yes, even going to the party. I’ve stayed home because I didn’t feel I had the perfect outfit or feel like I looked good enough. Silly, but true! Have you ever felt like you did not have the right outfit on at a party and it killed your evening? I bet you have.

It’s not fun and it has to stop.

For years I thought this was learned behavior, but it’s not.

As women, we are genetically programmed for perfection. Think about it. We are incredible creatures built to birth the ultimate creation on this planet – a child. Even if you never bare a child, you are still touched by this because you have a womb.

Let’s look at this a little more. I know this may spin your head, you may not agree with me, but when I heard this idea it totally made sense to me and I had to share it with you.

A “healthy” baby is meant to have 10 fingers/toes, a heartbeat, lungs, a nervous system, and so on. There’s tons of fear for mothers having the ‘perfect’ baby and I can only imagine the pressure. Even having the ability to get pregnant brings up issues of being perfect, ahem, enough.

The pressure of getting it right and the child being perfect is another massive weight to carry and is programmed into women more than men. I watch many of my friends who are moms constantly walk on eggshells to make sure they are the best mother ever. They even compare themselves to their own mothers – if they will be as good as them, not like them or even better than the mother they had.

Now, let’s look at Men for a minute.

They too want to be like their fathers or not like their fathers or better. For the record, I LOVE men and how easy they are, how they can compete then shake hands after a game. How they can laugh at themselves and make fun of one another without it becoming a drama fest.  Men are cool with farting, burping, scratching their balls and openly taking a crap when first dating.

Ok, maybe not the metro-sexual men, but most men I know have no issue letting it all hang out – so to speak.

For women we want to hide any perceived imperfections as long as we can. We want to be perfect with our make-up, our hair, a new bra + panties every night and tend to hide the “nasty” stuff. You know what I mean.

When will this end?

Some may say it’s easier said than done. I’d like to raise my hand to say that’s not the case. Getting back into the flow will take turning the boat from upstream to downstream for sure.

It will be a process.

Process is the archenemy to perfection. Being in the process of creating is natural yet we tend to ignore this. Click to tweet…

Today you get to change that, you can start the process. Beginning to turn the boat will take awareness, practice and strong commitment to release this hard wired perfection program in us.

The questions is… Are you willing to release the perfectionist programming? To stop feeling like you have to fix everything and everyone. To stop comparing yourself to others, or being paralyzed by the idea that you have to have it all figured out in order to take the next step to enjoy the process in your life?

I hope so…

You’re invited to join me + play with this.

I will admit when I’m stressed I can be extremely nit-picky and go on a perfectionist rampage. God bless my team for loving me and calling me out on my shit. I forgive myself and ask for forgiveness from others for this.

I’m with you and am taking steps to release it and become a recovering perfectionist.

What really shifted this for me recently was by finding the amusement in this whole perfectionist programming paradigm. Taking a step back in amusement of how perfection gets me as a woman, allows it to be released.

I invite you to play with amusement for a while and see how it works for you. It’s easy if you want it to be. Lift the corners of your mouth then let out a, “HA, HA, HA!” Let it be awkward, silly or different. Get amused and see how it lightens the issue around being a perfectionist.

Oh, and make sure to do it perfectly with the perfect smile and laugh.

ONLY KIDDING!

If you want to make lasting change in your life the first step is AWARENESS.

Paying attention to notice where you are triggered is a good start. By identifying where perfectionism takes form in your life it will be easier to remove it.  Caution: When you PLEASE do not feel bad or beat yourself up when identify where perfection comes up for you,

It’s sneaky and may look like what I mentioned above or have another way of showing up, like you not trusting or feeling safe around women. OR you get hyper critical, catty and gossip.

I’m asking you to call yourself out on this girlfriend, just like I did. It’s time to stop putting so much pressure on yourself and put an end to it.

Now that you know about the perfectionist programming let’s look at how perfectionism is on autopilot for you.

Let’s explore some ways it takes shape + recommendations to shift it.

1. If you are focusing on what does not work, give yourself permission to release the need to do this. Now take one small step to focus on what is working.

Prompt: Keep it simple, like focusing on what is working in your body?

2. If you are comparing yourself to others, give yourself permission to release the need to do this.  Now take one small step to see that you cannot compare yourself to anyone. You are unique.

Prompt: What do people acknowledge you for?

3. If you are waiting for everything to be perfect to put yourself out there, give yourself permission to release the need to do this.  Now take one small step to get out in the world – even if you don’t have it all figured out.

Prompt: Can you tell one person what you are up to?

Now it’s your turn gorgeous!

Tell me in the comments below exactly how this perfectionist programming is showing up in your life + what your baby step will be. Make sure it’s perfect, only joking!

Example: I put others down to make myself feel good. I will release the need to do this and  start practicing speaking about what I like about them or their work – or say nothing at all.

I can’t wait to hear where you will begin to practice releasing the perfectionist programming for yourself + find freedom. Have any other cool ways you release perfection programming?

Please share those too, you never know who may read your comment + be shifted by it.

Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and being exactly who YOU are. It’s perfect!  Wink wink…

Your Angel of Fire,

 

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Comments

  1. I liked that blog, Hilary. Perfectionism is definitely more of a female thing than a male one. I saw that when I was at university as a mature student.

  2. Thank you for this Hillary.
    I am only perfect woman when I see through imperfection to fully embrace Infinite Love within me…I am only perfect when I see through imperfection within “you” from Infinite Love within me to Infinite Love within “you”…I am only perfect when I see through eyes of Infinite See…
    Thank you again.

  3. My perfectionism is causing all sorts of procrastination where I’m doing “busy work” instead of real work towards my life goals. My baby step is to re-read “Do the Work” by Stephen Pressfield and then actually DO THE WORK! Imperfect action is better than perfect paralysis, right??

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Good to own that Victoria! Feeling good with what you are doing, being you and validating how amazing you are is great too!

  4. Dearest Hillary! Thank you so very much for writing this article, You have enlightened me on many unexpected levels.

    I now understand that “Perfectionism” showed up and served me at a very young age as a coping mechanism for the unpredictable in my life.

    I now recognize that it was a conscious choice and behaviour that I controlled and felt complete calmness with. It also empowered me to feel different and independent of my circumstances. It was an escape.

    At the same time, the desire for perfection or the lack of was paralyzing and as a result created layers of fear and unworthiness where I did not exercise the freedom or permission to pursue or discover who I was.

    Gratefully today, it looks much different. I will admit that I still find comfort with order but overall, I understand now that perfection is a habit that I can choose or not.

    Change is not always easy but truthfully, most of the time, I find it liberating. I also thrive on taking risks and accepting myself just as I am.

    When I feel the rise of anything near the pursuit of perfection, I remind myself that I am enough and everything is working together for all of our good. Deep breathes of fresh air, the bliss of nature and the love that comes unconditionally when we choose to just be is the greater exchange.

    With love and more love, dear Hillary. Grateful. xo

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      You are so welcome Tracey! Interesting how it showed up for you and happy you were able to see it. Order is good and is not perfection. Nature is order and chaos together making it perfectly, imperfect. YOU ARE ENOUGH!!! Love to you too! xo

  5. Jill Barber says:

    Where I see perfectionism creeping in is not around procrastination in getting started, but in taking the final step and calling something “finished”. I keep dotting Is and crossing Ts until whatever I am working on is “just right”. It’s not only about getting the “A”, but getting the extra credit, too! Yikes – so much effort and pressure. I’m already taking steps in an new direction (thanks Hillary!) and embracing the process. I give myself permission to share what I am doing with others no matter where I am in the process. The journey, and those I serve along the way (including myself) is what really matters. Ha-ha-ha, this is so much fun!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Interesting Jill… It’s better to be good enough and update as you move along. It can always be better and when it’s too perfect it can loose character. Keep up with the, HA HA HA, and enjoy. So happy this is fun now. xo

  6. I have way too many perfectionist tendencies…and the one which wears me out is not saying NO. I feel like I have to do everything myself or else it won’t be “perfect.” I am slowly noticing more and more opportunities to say “yes” when others can do as good of a job, if not better, than I can.

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