Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Naturally, my news feed was bombarded by photos of Wonder Woman (a character whom many view as a symbol of strength for women everywhere). However, if I may be completely honest, it pissed me off, and I will tell you why.
I love symbols and ideas which encompass and represent the strength, and empowerment of women, and I am so glad that we have a day to celebrate, and recognize them for how wonderful they are. With that being said, what I am opposed to are the ideals and misconceptions many people have created – the unrealistic portrayal of a strong woman. The idea that a strong woman is one that keeps it all together, doesn’t show weakness, is everything to everyone, and has a perfect body on top of it all. Personally, I feel like representations such as these paint a picture that doesn’t reveal the true story. Instead, I would like to share some thoughts on what I believe to be the elements that define an individual of true strength.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable. It is really easy to pretend to be what we think others want to see in us. It is much harder to show what is really under our skin. When we show people our vulnerabilities we open ourselves up for rejection. This takes true strength and courage.
Take pride in your imperfections. It is our imperfections that make us unique. The world would be a pretty dull place if we were all great at everything. In that case no one would be special. Embrace who you are including your talents and your faults. We are all imperfectly perfect.
Allow yourself to make mistakes and embrace failures. Strength is not the absence of making mistakes, rather how you pick yourself up afterward and move forward with those lessons. This is an important lesson for children to learn as early on as possible. If you don’t take risk you will never push the boundaries of what people believe is possible. Failure is not failure unless you give up.
Asking for or accepting help is not a sign of weakness. Most women have an innate ability to want to help others but have real trouble accepting help themselves. By not asking or accepting someone else’s help, we are actually cheating them out of the good feeling we all feel when we support each other.
Accept that you cannot be everything to everybody. You can try all you want, but at some point something has got to give. Usually it is the woman herself who suffers in the end. Work on finding a balance that works for you and the rest of the people in your life.
It is more than okay to cry. Being sensitive is not a sign of weakness. It is what makes your friends and family feel supported when they are in distress. It is what shows the outside world that we are human and deep inside we care about more than ourselves. It’s also a sign that we let things out instead of keeping it bottled up for later. Cry when you are happy, sad, frustrated or just need a release.
Make a point to laugh more. Laugh at your faults. Laugh at things you can’t change. Laugh with your kids. Laugh with your friends. Just laugh and enjoy being you.
Thank you to all the truly strong women in history and in my life that have shown me what it’s like to be strong and great. Here’s to us, my fellow awesome women. We rock in all our perfectly imperfectness!