In her new book, Break The Good Girl Myth life coach Majo Molfino defines five self-sabotaging “myths” that can negatively impact women’s work lives, relationships, and overall well-being:
The Myth of Rules: Following external rules and authority instead of trusting one’s own desires, needs, and opinions.
The Myth of Perfection: Demanding perfection in ourselves and others, instead of embracing mistakes and the reality of how things are.
The Myth of Logic: Choosing logic over intuition in decision-making.
The Myth of Harmony: Seeking harmony instead of embracing the conflict and confrontation needed for change.
The Myth of Sacrifice: Putting other people’s needs above our own at the expense of our self-care and wellbeing.
Using practical design-thinking tools and mindsets and by offering multiple exercises women can actively partake in, Majo gives women the tools needed to build their creative confidence and break free from these myths. We asked Majo to dive deep on the myth of perfection and how it effects us. This is what she shared…
In my practice and even in my personal life, I see the Myth of Perfection grip far too many women. When we’re obsessed with avoiding mistakes, we miss out on the most important learning and growth of our lives. After millennia under the patriarchy, it’s the myth with the deepest, gnarliest, thirstiest roots.
Think about it. If you want to control people, make them walk on a tightrope, flatten them into a product, shrink them into a box, lather masks onto their faces, and tell them they can’t move. Make them feel they aren’t worthy as they are.
The Myth of Perfection prevents us from taking action on our ideas, lowers our creative confidence, and makes us feel as if we’re not enough, which in turn drives us to compensate by striving and proving, often in a completely misaligned direction and to the point of utter exhaustion.
The opposite of perfection is vulnerability and intimacy—when we allow ourselves to be seen as we are. The only way to deal with the Myth of Perfection is by embracing mistakes while also standing by our own side unconditionally, regardless of performance or production. Overcoming the Myth of Perfection is about rehumanizing ourselves as women and retrieving our innermost authenticity. Could there be more important work for us to do?
As good girls under the spell of this myth, we need to unhook our worthiness from work — doing — and hook it back to something far more human and fundamental—being.
How? Let me suggest two ways. The first way is by practicing the following mantra, over and over again. Reprogramming happens through repetition.
PRACTICE THIS MANTRA:“I AM WORTHY SIMPLY BECAUSE I EXIST.”
Mantras work best when written out and placed somewhere. Where could you place this mantra in your life? Think bathroom mirror, car dashboard, or your daily planner.
Clients tell me that when they repeat this mantra to themselves throughout the day, they feel their shoulder blades melt down their back and they let a sigh of relief escape their mouths. They can feel that no matter what they did or didn’t do, no matter how many items linger on their to-do list, it’s not a reflection of their value and worthiness deep down. It allows them to reclaim something deep within. The myth loosens its grip, and they feel more at home within themselves.
The second way is to start a meditation practice. You’ve probably heard people say this to you many times before, but meditation is essentially the art of nondoing (which is why it makes so many of us “doers” uncomfortable). We can start really small with meditation. Practice it for five or ten minutes, simply focusing on your breath with a soft, gentle, and kind attention. Expect thoughts. That’s normal! There is no failing at meditation, I promise. You can have millions of thoughts and still be meditating. You can come in and out of presence and daydreaming several times and still be meditating. Meditation is not about clearing your mind; it is about learning to be with what is without trying to do anything about it, okay? Practicing nondoing and embracing being through meditation will show you benefits if you keep at it. As one meditation teacher once told me, “We brush our teeth, but what about our minds?”
By practicing the mantra and meditation, you’ll begin unhooking your worth from work and move from doing to being. The price you’ll pay otherwise is too high. If your worthiness hinges on performance, you’ll basically do anything to be a top performer. Anything.
PRACTICE A “NON-DOING” MEDITATION
Grab your phone and set your timer for ten minutes. I like to use the Insight Timer app, which allows me to set bells. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for ten minutes. If your mind wanders, come back to your breath. It’s truly that simple.
Adapted excerpt from BREAK THE GOOD GIRL MYTH by Majo Molfino, reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2020.