It’s challenging to be confident as a young woman in today’s day and age.
Women struggle with various issues when those around us make us feel defeated or fail to offer encouragement. These issues can range from not feeling self-confident in the way we look to doubting our choice of career. If you find yourself experiencing these emotions, trust me when I say you are not alone.
All women face these feelings and issues at some point in their lives. What is difficult to swallow is that it’s not just men who discourage us. Women discourage other women! We have all had a scenario where a woman has used her words or actions to tear us down, leaving us on the brink of throwing in the towel and quitting.
Is this really how women should treat one another?
Instead, we should empower the women around us to succeed and excel in every aspect of their lives. We are currently entering a new era where women are being celebrated and are given opportunities more than ever before. Let’s not throw these opportunities away in the quest to get ahead of one another. Let’s stop mistreating each other and making everything a competition! That’s often what it becomes, doesn’t it? A rivalry to see who can gain the most and be the ‘it’ girl.
Now, that’s not to say that a little friendly competition isn’t allowed. That kind of competition shouldn’t discourage women but should challenge her to grow and be innovative in her field. In the end, both competitors should be able to commend each other for all of their hard work and acknowledge the other’s accomplishments. You shouldn’t burn a bridge that could potentially pay out in the future.
Women can berate one another, challenging the confidence of another; this shouldn’t be the priority.
If that is what we waste our energy and time doing, then we’re not using that same energy to succeed. Some would argue that we are showing precisely the reason that we as women shouldn’t receive the opportunities to advance. In fact, it only plays into the stereotype that women can be catty and attention-seeking.
Let’s take a step back and think about how that makes us feel. Do we want to prove that those who doubt women are right? That we are unable to advance in things like our careers or education by creating the perception that we as humans possess an “attention-seeking” and “catty” nature? If you just answered heck no to both of those questions, then it’s time to start improving the way we treat the women around us.
Others would argue that there’s nothing we can do about it; it’s just the constraints of society. It took me a long time to get past this idea. Like many, I found myself conforming to the social norms expected of a woman and never questioned it. I used to view other women as competition when it came to education, employment, relationships, awards, and more. It wasn’t until I was listening to Beyoncé’s song “Flawless” that the idea of women threatening the ‘man’ gained my attention in the following lyrics:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls: “You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man.”
These lyrics got me thinking, and I pondered this for a few months. I’ve experienced some women discouraging my friends or me from pursuing our career paths because it wasn’t what a woman should do. All of this added up in my mind to the idea that women can’t be more successful than a man. We must fight to get what we have, even if that means competing with each other. Does anyone else feel uncomfortable with that idea? It might give you an unsettling feeling because it does for me. Now, this isn’t me bashing or tearing down men. That’s not the intention either. However, I intend to get women to open their eyes to society’s expectations of us and how we can break free from those constraints. Women should be standing behind one another, empowering each other.
To encourage other women to make them stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life. With this in mind, this action can be taken in even the simplest of ways. It can be small acts such as helping another woman picking a suitable interview outfit or calm her nerves before an interview by telling her she’s going to be awesome.
Instead of hesitating when another woman reaches out for help, be willing to provide her with the resources she needs to achieve success!
You can even empower a woman just by complimenting her. You never know, that day might be the day where she’s ready to throw in the towel and give up. We’ve all had that unexpected compliment or encouragement that’s allowed us to push through the hard times. Imagine, you’re the one that kept another woman from giving up. We are a team. We walk through this life together. We work together, support each other, rely on each other, and encourage one another until we win, just like any team. One woman’s accomplishment is an accomplishment for all women. And we should all celebrate that!
A popular term that has started to gain traction among the younger generation is the word “queen.” You often hear other women referring to another as ‘a queen’ or commending another woman for her accomplishment with the phrase “yes (or “yas”) Queen.” I constantly hear it thrown around among the entertainment industry about celebrities like Meryl Streep and Emma Watson. Even Beyoncé herself is referred to as the “Queen B.” Most women strive to embody all of the qualities that make up a queen, whether it’s the ‘royal’ aspect, or the ‘grace’ and ‘grit’ behind the title. A quote to keep in mind is “Real queens fix each other’s crowns.” Ladies, it’s time to live by this quote.
Next time you see a woman working towards success and her goals, empower her! Give her support. Be her ‘hype’ woman. Give her advice. Give her encouragement. Give her every ounce of effort you would want someone to give you if you were in her shoes. I promise you she will never forget it. And you never know, it could pay off in the future for you and the many other women around you.
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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Is Society Right About Women or Are We Misunderstood? – 069