I’m getting in touch with my feminine side today. Excuse me while I adjust my bra and gloss my lips. I don’t often visit my girlish self. I suppose I suppress her since I develop software for a living, compete in endurance sports for kicks, and play with personal finance for pleasure. None of these activities traditionally align with the womanly qualities of being compassionate, nurturing, or gentle. There’s nothing compassionate about passing a flatted cyclist during a 112 mile bike race. I neither feel gentle when buying stocks nor nurturing when programming binary software.
Perhaps I’m just a tomboy thinking out loud in a skirt, but what does it mean to be a woman today? How can women be fierce in finance yet generous in giving? Must she be either a femme fatale or all sugar and spice?
Here are ten ways to keep it real living as a woman today:
1. Put yourself first.
All too often women put themselves last. They sacrifice their health, wealth, and self in favor of their family and friends. They intuitively put their needs, desires, and dreams last by caring for and nurturing others first. This is no secret. The airline industry has known about this tendency for years. Before every flight we get a little safety speech telling us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before placing it on our children. Why is this? It’s simple really, if you can’t breathe you can’t help others breathe around you. This is just like life. If you fail to acknowledge your life first, what are you living for?
2. Live in your skin today.
How many times have you looked to tomorrow to achieve your goals today? “If only I were thinner, younger, more perky…then I would reach for the stars”. Perhaps you look to the past and dream of what today could have been? “If only I invested in Microsoft way back then”. None of these approaches are helpful for today, now, this second. By living in your skin today, you authentically capture the moment, the here, the now. It’s amazing what can be achieved by focusing on the now and letting the later take care of itself.
3. Keep your tits real.
Stop knocking your knockers. Stuffing yourself with silicon may bring satisfaction in the short-term, but the long-term ramifications may leave you feeling a boob. It’s no mystery most women have terrible body images. We’re fed idealized images of pubescent malnourished models and made to believe our lives would be better by being cellulite free. Do yourself a favor by ignoring these airbrushed and Photoshopped media myths. Today’s woman would be wise to look back through history to observe how changing one’s physical form based upon the whims of fashion can scar. Women in China used to bind their feet for a fashionably small footprint, leaving themselves crippled in the process. Western women pushed and poured themselves into corsets to obtain minuscule midriffs, only to damage their backs and internal organs.
Despite warnings from the past, the search for fashionable perfection persists. Today, women use invasive procedures to suck out fat and plump their pouts. There are costs to physical modification, and these costs extend well beyond the financial. In seeking the ideal of the day by fixating on outward appearances, we fail to fix and address the inward self. No amount of outward augmentation can address internal issues of sagging self-esteem, lack of self-love, or corroded self-confidence. Keep your tits real and tilt your focus inward. Your chest may just swell from what you discover on the inside.
4. Be a bra.
It seems elusive, the bra that supports all your bits, lifts, and fits. But when the best brassiere is begotten, the upward mental and physical lift is immeasurable. Like a favorite foundation garment, sometimes what we need most in life is a little bit of support and understanding. Be a supportive structure to your sisters, mothers, girlfriends, and daughters. Lending a shoulder to cry on or offering an ear to listen is all we really need to lift our sprits and brace our courage.
5. Show some muscle.
Forget “sugar and spice and everything nice”. Today’s woman must be made of some muscle, motivation, and might to live well. Voicing your thoughts, beliefs, and notions raises awareness of your self. Speaking with confidence and acting with strength can only bring belief in your abilities and clarify the path with which to follow. Cast your vote and be heard. Flex some female muscle.
6. Seek progress, not perfection.
The state of being without flaw or defect is pretty much impossible. Nobody is perfect. The ideal is evasive. Removing one’s focus from attaining perfection and seeing life more as a state of progress can better set a woman on the path towards success and fulfillment. Seeking gradual improvement, advancement in knowledge, and moving forward toward a goal is far more attainable. Seek progress in life and the feeling of personal satisfaction is very possible.
7. Be yourself, not your title.
Too often women identify themselves solely as mother, wife, or in terms of an occupational job title. This is a mistake. By tightly coupling oneself to a socially constructed title it’s easy to forget who you really are. What happens to one’s worth when a marriage ends and the title of “wife” must be legally surrendered? Who suffers when a career ends and a women ceases to be manager, director, or an employee? What happens to one’s internal self when these titles are relinquished? By not identifying with and tying ourselves to a title it becomes easier to see our true selves. Without these titles, who are you really today?
8. Embrace your finances.
Many women today forget to take their finances into account. This is a huge oversight. Women must become financially savvy in today’s economy since we generally live longer than men, earn less income, raise children, and manage households. Becoming better aware of how to negotiate a salary, how to invest in retirement, and how to spend wisely only helps us raise financially savvy children, earn more competitive incomes, and better prepare for financial catastrophe.
Leaving all financial matters to the men in our lives is a huge mistake. Marriages end and husbands can die. I’m sorry to not embrace tales of Cinderella and magic pixie dust but couples do get divorced. If your prince holds the financial purse strings you may just be back with the evil stepsisters wearing a gunny sack. Too many women leave the finances to their husbands and fail to jointly participate. Women should indeed hope for the best, but plan for the worst by learning about money and how to manage it for them self.
9. Enhance your education.
Today, woman would be wise to continue along the path of enhancing their education. Education is a loose term. It doesn’t necessarily mean seeking higher degrees and poignant pieces of paper. Education can mean gradually acquiring knowledge of a particular subject or activity. The point is to never stay stagnant and never stop learning. Knowledge is key to understanding where you stand, how you got there, and where you are headed. Practice enhancing your knowledge and who knows what follows.
10. Stop being Super Woman, ask for help.
My mom tried to do it all in the 80s. She lived with the belief she could balance her career, raise children, clean house, cook meals, launder clothing, keep fit, and stay mentally well. Impossible. It’s just too much to balance. Watching what she went through and the anguish she felt, I wonder if all could have been better if she just stopped trying to be Super Woman, and asked for help. It’s seems so simple, asking for help. Yet I think women can feel uncomfortable admitting it’s all just too much. Asking for help doesn’t mean failure or defeat. Asking for help gives others the opportunity to further an effort or purpose. Asking for help lets others contribute and perhaps find a level of fulfillment not otherwise possible. Let go of the notion of being Super Woman, and ask for help.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Are there other ways to be a woman today? What do you fellows think? Am I just stuffed full of estrogen?