“Bravery, Not Perfection”

I’ve got a lot going on in my head – so I’m going to write and see where this blog post goes. I’m leaving the title blank until I finish, because I’m really not sure what’s going to appear on the screen. Do you ever write like that?

Yesterday I went to the doctor because my eye is infected – it’s been red and puffy and gunky the last few days. Calvin has been to the doctor 4 times in the last 3-4 weeks, and has been referred to an ENT doctor, which we see next week. ‘Tis the life of a toddler, I suppose!

One of the things on my mind this past week has been the theme of bravery. For one of my online graduate classes, we watch quite a few TedTalks. One I watched has really stuck with me, called “Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection” by Reshma Saujani.

She makes some good points, and hypothesizes that our society is teaching our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave. While I don’t always buy into gender stereotypes, I can understand this distinction. She talks about how boys grow up to be men who aren’t afraid to take risks and fail – which many times leads them to be successful, typically in the workplace environment. On the other side, girls grow up to women who were taught to value perfectionism so much, that they are afraid to try at something that might fail. They tend to play it safe, and make their choices based on what they feel certain they will succeed at.

Being a woman, and a recovering perfectionist, I can relate. And I have had conversations with other women that lead me to believe that a lot of what Saujani says is true. Many women I talk to have a lot of anxiety that they aren’t good enough, that they need to do more, that their value comes from the appearance of having it all together.

I really have felt inspired by this talk – and I’m challenging myself to be more brave in my day to day life and in the goals I set for myself. Sometimes this looks small, like for example, introducing myself to a person I don’t know (which can be a brave thing for us introverts!) Sometimes this looks more obvious, like deciding to make a career change or go back to school. People have told me that I’m brave for sharing my personal stories on this blog – funny enough, it didn’t feel “BRAVE” to share them – I think bravery looks different for each person, and what’s scary for one person might not be for another.

Who inspires you to be brave? This may sound silly, but when I have to do a task that requires a significant amount of bravery, I try to emulate Hermione. (She’s from Harry Potter for those who don’t know…) She doesn’t let the fact that she’s the only girl in her trio discourage her, but rather, she is many times the key to the missions that she, Harry and Ron embark on. She is intelligent, clever and not afraid to stand up for what she believes is right.

Emma Watson, the actress that played Hermione, is also someone that I feel is brave in real life. (You know you are getting old when you begin to look up to people who are younger than you!) I appreciate her willingness to have an opinion on issues and (just like Hermione) stand up for what she believes in. She is not afraid to try new things, and not afraid to be criticized for them. I mean, she was the lead in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, which means she put her singing voice out there to be criticized by millions of people – talk about bravery! She seems brave enough to be herself, which is something I feel like I’m finally starting to be able to do now that I’m in my 30’s.

What does bravery look like for you? Who encourages you to be brave?





One thought on ““Bravery, Not Perfection”

  1. Love this! I think we can encounter bravery on a daily basis- sometimes it’s simply getting out of bed because anxiety is so bad, or sometimes its picking up the phone and calling that person that I have been avoiding. Bravery comes in all shapes and sizes!


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