These days if someone describes you as having a 'strong personality', or says you're, 'really confident' and you're woman chances are they aren't paying you compliment. In fact reading in between the lines they are likely saying that you are a word rhyming with witch, arrogant at best and aggressive at worst. I'll tell you how I know because that's how some people describe me. Now I'm not saying everyone who says this means that, but, I'm digressing.
It seems that women are really only allowed to be good and kind, nurturing and maternal when we can be all of those things and much more! And why?
Because people seem to become extremely uncomfortable when there is a very confident woman around who is all of the above.
She's the kind that knows her mind and isn't afraid to share what's on it. I say people because unfortunately it isn't just men, there are some women who seem to like nothing better than squashing the confidence out of another female.
The thing people forget about strength and grit is that it's often formed off the back of adversity. I lost my daughter when I was 19, I went full-term in my pregnancy and suffered a stillbirth. I had to give birth to my daughter who had already died and it was the worst day of my life. That was over ten years ago and the experience has stayed with me. It has also made me strong, because what could be worse than that? So I now I aim to knock obstacles down because I know just how strong I can be.
I used to hide my talents and shrink because I was told I was strong and could be intimidating others. But there is, as Marianne Williamson wrote, nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
I wish that every woman would stand up and occupy her space and say here I am!
I am staunch in my belief that everyone has a purpose and that you should fulfil it. To be your best and realise your potential you need confidence and strength because that is what it takes to succeed. It's that grit that drives you on. And that is what so many women lose as they go through life after one knock and then another hits.
Being confident, strong AND ambitious has become something many women don't want to be seen as. We have all seen how a bright star has be brought tumbling down to earth. How people say, "there's just something about her I don't like, can't put my finger on it." The number one reason why strong people put other people on edge is because they are getting on with the business of living life. They are going after their goals and achieving them. Rather than making some people think, I could do that too they seem to take a dislike to said bright star.
In one job as I was growing into my role someone told my old tutor that I had 'changed'. I was getting too big for my boots apparently. To this day I don't know who said it and it doesn't matter. I know my own shoe size thanks! My boots fit me just fine.
The whole point of life is to change and grow. Instead people put it out there like this. "Don't change now you've got a new job/financial status/partner." Well of course it will change you! I've changed from when I was 15-years-old, life does expand your horizons, it's meant to! But many people say it in an almost accusatory way.
What they mean is don't go further than I've gone, it will make me feel small.
Their fears are then projected onto you as if you are to blame for seeking progression. You're not.
The theme of International Women's Day is Make It Happen. I love this title because it's what we should all be doing. We should be making our dreams and goals a reality. Not worrying that if we do people will think us arrogant just because we work hard and reap the benefits.
Surround yourself with people who are truly for you and see your potential and want to help you fulfil it. Spend less time with the negative folk who you suspect may actually not like you all that much. Say goodbye!
Judge yourself by your best moments and improve in the areas that are lacking.
Know that any setback will only be temporary if you make up your mind to come back stronger than ever. Let the scars of the past be a reminder that you can and will heal.
Finally just be confident and strong because you will definitely be inspiring someone else to do the same.