I recently had a discussion with two female colleagues that started innocently enough – talking about food choices for the evening meal that day when we each got home. Preferences and food favourites were shared from the common to the bizarre. Within a short space of time though, the topic changed to the impact of diet on weight and then getting older.
I spoke of my experience of having my passport photograph taken a few days earlier and how surprised I was that age was slowly but surely creeping up on me as a woman. The facial lines I hadn’t noticed previously were staring back at me as I then remembered that I am not as young as I used to be.
My colleagues agreed and we all then pondered on how we women especially tend to feel self-conscious about our looks from puberty onwards. It seemed that for some, the pressure lessens with age as we mature and learn more about who we really are as opposed to who society states we should be.
This got me thinking about the things I would have wanted to tell my twenty-one year old self about who she is and how to carry herself through life without worrying about wanting to be less skinny or getting older quickly. No matter the dictates of fashion trends, the choicest outfits a woman can wear aren’t the ones made with human hands. Rather they are the ones crafted on the voyage of self-discovery and personal development.
I will highlight a few of them and you can add the rest as you go through life as a woman.
It is important for you as a woman to believe in yourself as capable, strong and in possession of other great attributes that add value to whatever group in which you find yourself. It is difficult to expect others to believe in you if you don’t. There are places that won’t hand over a gold-plated invitation to come and contribute unless you deem yourself worthy by stepping forward. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “no-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
No matter how many refusals you get, never let it get to your heart or damage the perception you have of yourself as precious. Remember, being assured of who you are has nothing to do with perfection but everything to do with showing up as your best every single time.
Contentment which is a state of being satisfied with what you have is an important quality to have especially in an age of keeping up appearances and wanting to be like others. It goes hand in hand with being grateful for what you do have as opposed to living in deep discontent This is never to be confused with complacency. Rather, it is an appreciation of the good in your life and not taking things for granted. This is the opportunity for you to realise that whilst you might not be where you would want to be, being alive in itself is a gift to be cherished as you work on being a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.
Rather, it is an appreciation of the good in your life and not taking things for granted. This is the opportunity for you to realise that whilst you might not be where you would want to be, being alive in itself is a gift to be cherished as you work on being a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.
Both from my own experience as well as that of friends, it has always warmed my heart when I hear of people being treated kindly whether in the workplace or communities. This is even more noticeable if the recipients are those who cannot pay back in any way. Whether it is giving up your seat to someone less able to stand on the train or giving consideration to an employee who is having a difficult time; being gracious is one of the best things you can be known for.
Long after you have forgotten about your kind deed, the person on the receiving end will hold the memory close because it is indeed a priceless gift. If you are in a position of leadership as a woman, kindness does not equate to weakness no matter what kind of organisation you lead.
There is no doubt that there are many demands on women – in the workplace, at home and in the community. You are often busy wearing so many hats that most days you are exhausted with all the balls you’re juggling. Even if I do say so as one woman to another, you are doing a great job. If no-one in your life tells you often enough, it is time for you to tell yourself and applaud your own diligent efforts. When you appreciate yourself as you should, you will remember to look after yourself and this will be evident to all who come in contact with you.
So dear precious woman, wrap yourself with the above outfits and hold your head up high.
Happy International Women’s Day.