Girls are often raised to find their self-worth in their capacity for giving. The more work they do, the more they are praised by others for their strength, self-reliance and work ethic. They are taught to not just accomplish their own work but to carry others’ burdens too, and the more they carry, the better they are perceived as women. Worth is then defined outside of us.
A woman’s confidence is rarely built around her single-minded focus on her goals and accomplishments. If she is seen too focused, she is deemed selfish. Her confidence is not based on her competence or her abilities for action, intelligence or resilience; it is built around her ability to be liked, her appearance, her capacity for sacrifice, etc. If she is assertive, she is considered too opinionated, headstrong and even aggressive. There is little room for her to execute her ideas and decisions without fear, have the courage to speak her mind or take the lead in big decisions. Many, many women are even today intimidated to demand and take their seat in important positions. And this unfortunately has been normalised in how we raise girls to become women.
We are capable of so much more than we realise. Our potential is limited not by our circumstances but by our internal assessment of ourselves. Our significance often sought in the words and acknowledgment of others. But to be truly alive to yourself, the important thing is to lose the burden of other people’s opinions and the years and years of conditioning and need for approval which has been deeply engrained in your mind. It won’t be easy, it may even feel foreign, but to be truly alive, we must let go of our limiting beliefs and learn to own our story and our own power.
A tired bird landed on a branch. The bird rested, enjoying the view from the branch and the protection it offered from dangerous animals. Just as the bird became used to the branch and the support and safety it offered, a strong wind started blowing, and the tree swayed with such intensity that it seemed the branch would snap in half. But the bird was not worried for it knew an important truth: even without the branch it was able to fly, and thus remain safe through the power of its own two wings.