It’s six o’clock in the evening, after dinner, and you have a decision to make: close the laptop, put up your feet and watch your favorite binge-worthy Netflix show with your partner, or retreat into the office, put on your headphones, get back in the zone and work on your latest project.
You’re exhausted and you know that, realistically, anything you work on tonight won’t be topnotch quality anyway. You’re a little too mentally spent to create a work of art, but how in the world could you justify putting up your feet and not trying at all?
“You’d get so behind everybody else!” your Inner Critic confirms in a ridiculously loud whisper.
Alas, after giving it a solid two minutes to ponder, you go back into the office to pick back up on the project you’ve been working on all day (nay, all month—all year!)
Your eyes are bloodshot, your mind is foggy and your partner is missing you. But it’s all for the cause!
Perfectionism is a never-ending quest to get “there” (whatever that is for you—maybe the goal is to be famous, to have a nice house, to be traveling the world, to have your own business). The tricky part is, “there” doesn’t exist. It’s a figure of your imagination. And once you get to that holy land you’ve been imagining for what feels like ages, you still won’t realize it. You’ll have a new glorified destination. Perfectionism is that tricky.
If you read articles on perfectionism, you’re going to receive some sound advice on taking it ease, adding in more self-care and restoring your energy levels. That’s all fantastic insight—but there’s a missing layer. This layer will help ease perfectionism for the long haul- not just the short-term. It’s the layer I’m going to tell you about today.
Within each person, regardless of gender, live two inseparable but equal energies: the Feminine and the Masculine. The yin and yang so to say.
These energies are not visibly seen, but they are felt. They’re what get you out of bed every morning and into bed every night. They’re what tell you when it’s time to speak when you’re hanging with your friends and when it’s time to listen. They’re what encourages you to go out on a Friday night or retreat inward to spend some time alone.
So, what do they represent?
The Masculine: this energy is the “pushing out” in life. It’s the action you take, the goals you set and the dreams you accomplish. The Masculine is task-oriented, logical, driven, protective, and self-focused. It’s your Inner Warrior. It’s bright like the sun. It’s knowledge.
The Feminine: this energy is the “pulling in” in life. It’s your nurturing nature, creativity and desire to retreat inward. The Feminine is soft, sensual, flow-like, dreamy, sensitive, vulnerable and community-focused. It’s your Inner Goddess. It’s emotional like the moon. It’s wisdom.
Here’s where many of us get frustrated (but please don’t): we live in a Hyper Masculine society, so our relationship with the Feminine is a bit dazed. It’s not as clear to many of us as our Masculine is.
Our society glorifies the “go, go, go” lifestyle, always getting things done, working hard, climbing up the corporate latter, doing more, being more, having more, and have a “no rest for the wicked” kind of mentality.
Think about exercise, for example. Most often, you are advertised the same type of exercise in the same type of atmosphere: kickboxing, sprinting, bodybuilding, power lifting, and/or CrossFit. The bodies you see doing these types of exercises are always the same in the media: toned, sleek, thin, sweaty and armed with a six-pack.
Think about food, for example: how many times have you heard someone brag about “eating to live, not living to eat”? Or, perhaps, you’ve been exposed to the admiration of ordering a simple salad with dressing on the side.
Think about how most people treat their relationship with work: late nights, fast food, promotion-focused and working over-time. Our work culture is a hustle culture. Not only that, but women are expected to work the exact same way as men (and we’ve been taught to since birth), even though we go through phases like the moon. We are more sensitive. We are more in touch with our intuition.
The truth is, the Feminine energy is different from the Masculine energy and nowhere in our culture is that encouraged.
As such, our gifts are not shining as brightly as they did many, many years ago. The Feminine has the unique ability to bring purpose and light to things that the Masculine does not. Whereas the Masculine is so focused and driven, the Feminine can stop to feel, nourish and grow. The Feminine has a stronger connection with nature and desire. She knows what the world needs more of in order to be a better, more loving place—whereas the Masculine encourages more blueprints and scales.
Unfortunately, much of this beautiful, light energy has been repressed because it isn’t seen as “productive” in our society. This is why so many women beat themselves up for their cycles and the energy change that comes with it (as they shamefully run to the bathroom, hiding tampons or cups out of fear someone will see).
This is why we are always on-the-go and falling prey to perfectionism: the inability to stop.
For both men and women, the best medicine for slowing down, letting go of perfectionism and being more present is to come back home to their Feminine Energy.
Coming back home to the Feminine means:
– Allowing yourself to take breaks from work or “hitting it hard” and knowing everything will be okay. (this can be seasons or even years of this yin energy)
– Not placing your worth in your work ethic.
– Feeding your body with colorful, nourishment you crave (and as much as you feel you need)
– Placing creativity as high on your list of values as anything else (and making time for it)
– Expressing your sexuality in a free-spirited, untamed manner
– Speaking your truth and learning to stick up for yourself
– Honoring your cycles and doing everything you can to tailor your days to what stage you’re in your cycle.
– Replacing busy with focus. Replacing hustle with flow.
– Creating community of like-minded women who nourish your desire for feminine energy (and letting go of the story of “I get along with guys better”)
Perfectionism is driven by the fear that you are not enough as you are, and you must do something (right now!) to feel enough. It’s an epidemic both for the men and women in our society, and the cure is simple (albeit, not necessarily easy).
The remedy is to listen to the gentle stillness within you that’s requesting more downtime. More rest. More ease. More flow.
One of my favourite ways to think about the Feminine is to think of water. Whereas fire is passionate, hungry and energized, water is gentle, graceful and rhythmic.
At times water can definitely be destructive and rage-like (similar to a tsunami, the angered Feminine is an incredible force and has the power for massive change if she owns that energy within her), but water can also be still and calming, like a pond.
Water moves where it is being pulled. It is not obsessed or concerned with sticking to a particular pace or going in the opposite direction of where it’s moving. No, instead, it’s peaceful and angelic. It moves and grooves alongside the curves of the land it’s within. It trusts that it will get to wherever it’s going. It can surrender and still feel safe.
When you give more attention to your Femininity, you give more attention to your Inner Wisdom. When you can finally learn that being like water is just as powerful as being like fire, you will unlock so much beauty and love that the world needs more of.