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Working a full time job, ensuring the kids are well kept, juggling between all sorts of errands, the husband’s nuances, managing domestic duties and doing all of that while of course looking flawless. Such are the familiar pressures of a woman’s life. Can we be blamed for feeling exhausted, stressed and burnt out? Or for feeling the constant anxiety?
We’re well acquainted with the unrealistic expectation of having it all together and at all times. Perhaps that’s where half the problem lies. More than the actual responsibility of being a woman, it’s the pressure of perfection that steals the joy.
Our programming has a big role to play here. Our sense of self-worth has been somehow tied to productivity and achievement. As a result, rather than sharing common struggles, we’re trained to hide them under the carpet and depict the illusion of the ‘perfect’ life; rather than reaching out for support, we pull our guards up and exhaust ourselves out.
In all of this, the virtue of authenticity gets compromised and it’s impossible to lead a joyful life when we’re being unreal with ourselves. Here’s a mini guide to gaining back your power and living with resilience!
To truly embrace authenticity, women need to step into courage and let go of the notion of ‘what people think’. This requires fundamentally challenging traditional beliefs about what it means to be considered worthy of belonging and acceptance as well as aligning with one’s personal values. Building that inner worth is only possible when one is driven by intrinsic measures set for the self. It’s about shifting from the thinking that ‘I am not enough and never going to be enough’ to ‘I am enough with all my imperfections and flaws’.
At the root of shame and comparison lies the pursuit of perfection. Having unrealistic expectations and standards most inevitably leads to self-judgement which further perpetuates shame and disconnection. Normalizing failures and imperfections can be countered by self-compassion. Every once in a while check in with yourself and ask- ‘What do I need’, ‘What can I celebrate about myself that I am neglecting’. Nurturing that internal dialogue is imperative because how you talk to yourself guides everything.
People don’t judge us half as much as we judge ourselves. In that judgement, we keep ourselves guarded thinking no one will understand. But one of the ways to expect others to understand our situation is to understand theirs. Being empathetic is a sure way to establish trust and connection and there is no greater feeling than the feeling of being heard and understood.
Contrary to popular perception, vulnerability is not weakness. It is where courage lies. Sharing our deepest inhibitions with those who are trusted brings a deep sense of safety, and keeps anxiety away. More importantly, it leaves shame at the doorstep, because having other trusted ones listen to our stories assures us that we’re not alone in our struggle.
The message is simple. We can either choose to have anxiety as a lifestyle or be guided by inner wisdom. Cultivating the latter will require making more conscious choices but the long-term returns will be far greater than the temporary satisfaction of fitting in.