A strong, confident woman is aware, self-assured, and successful no matter what. As a strong woman, that doesn’t mean we always have our act together. Every life experiences the ups and downs, but the confident, strong woman sees, acknowledges and learns from her mistakes.
In an effort to continuously work towards the goal of being a stronger woman, I have come across some adolescent behaviors that I’m ready to shed. Consider it a decluttering of the mind. Here are some of those childish behaviors that have become habits, which I believe we no longer need as strong woman, and tips for how to move away from each habit.
Hiding our vulnerability
Somewhere along the path of growing up many of us stopped truly opening up about what’s going on in our lives because too many times it didn’t go well. Friends didn’t respond how we’d hoped and it felt too vulnerable. When I experienced this, I opted to just share less. But what a depressing concept, lovely woman everywhere, sharing only a fraction of who they really are.
Take that day hike with a group of woman where you all talk but little is said: “What do you do for work?” “Are you married?” “Do you have kids?” These are topics that anyone can ask about, and anyone can answer. Now imagine it where you didn’t pull from a script of topics but you dug deeper, and in return your friend gave you a vulnerable answer. How much stronger might your bond become?
TIP: Avoid yes or no questions and instead ask open ended questions, “What made you choose that career?”
One strong woman who I follow is Penelope Trunk. She is not afraid to be herself. She highlights her “faults” instead of hides from them, choosing to learn from them and grow as a strong woman. You too can read her blog by visiting PenelopeTrunk.com.
Embrace Introverts and Extroverts Alike
As kids, those seen as the popular kids were typically more extroverted because talking more brought on a spotlight. As a grown woman, I’ve learned that introverts and extroverts both have a lot to say, the trick is listening. In my observations I have witnessed that a strong woman knows when she isn’t being listened to and she might not continue to waste her time if she feels unappreciated; would you?
Out of habit, we often think the extravert is an attention grabber and the introvert is probably rude. Maybe socializing isn’t their strong point and the rambling stems from nerves. It’s possible the quite person in the group isn’t trying to be rude but just hasn’t yet figured out how to insert themselves.
Tip: If it’s possible you’re talking too much, pause a moment and ask someone else a question about their opinion. For the quiet person, consider they might not be mean but shy, and see if you can’t get to know them better.
You can learn about your introverted or extroverted self by taking a free Myers-Briggs test here.
Admiration Beats Disrespect Any Day
Surely you’ve seen the movie Mean Girls, where teenage girls build their popularity on tearing down the people around them. While it may feel exaggerated, in truth the plotline stemmed from an experience for someone. Have you ever been out with a coworker or friend that spoke to a waiter that made you uncomfortable because it was so blatantly rude?
We aren’t all the rude coworker but I believe we all can do more to show admiration for those around us.
TIP: Ask your Uber driver how their night has been going, go out of your way to say thank you to your wait staff when leaving a restaurant, and lift up the women around you with encouraging support.
Be Curious, Not Judgmental
When we place judgement on someone, we are limiting our opinion to our own perspective, and seeing beyond those confines is difficult. How do you “know” what you don’t know? Adolescents often think they know it all but we can see, by looking back on our 14-year-old self, how far we’ve come. For years I’ve moved further and further away from gossip but still find myself giving opinions, on what I witness around me, when no one asked for my opinion. This is just as inappropriate as gossip so I’m working to do away with judgement, trading it for curiosity instead.
TIP: Quiet your mind if you find yourself passing judgement on how someone else might dress, or behave. Don’t judge yourself if it happens, instead acknowledge, learn and improve for next time.
High Pitched Squeals
Little girls have incredible pitch; ear splitting, mind blowing, hair standing up on your arms, kind of squeals. Somehow half the woman out there never lost that childish detail, though it has to go.
Ok so I’m obviously kidding, kind of. This isn’t really one of the items that stem from our childhood that I think woman should lose. But if you’re a squealer and feel like lowering it an octave or two in public, I’m sure no one would complain. Not to mention, an excited scream while hiking in the woods leaves anyone within ear shot fearful they might have to step up as the hero and chase down a bear.
TIP: When all is said and done, just be yourself strong woman.