Do me a favour, dear reader. I want you to cast your mind back to the last time someone paid you a compliment…
How did you react? How did it make you feel?
If you brushed it off, laughed it off or felt all squirmy and uncomfortable, then please read on:
You are fierce. You have no doubt been through and accomplished so much in your life already. You have gifts and wonders to offer the world: it’s a better place with you in it. So why the hell can’t you accept it when people tell you you’re fabulous? That you look great in that colour? That you did an amazing job? That you helped them through a sticky situation?
Born to sacrifice
I mean, I get it.
We grew up in the patriarchy. We were told to wear pink instead of blue, wear dresses instead of wellies and play with Barbies over trucks. We were raised to stay small, to fit society’s mold. We were raised in an era where women were taught to play a part, to be pretty, ladylike and likeable. We’re afraid of being too much: too loud, too quiet, too fat, too thin, too successful, too bossy, too sporty. We have spent our lives trying to keep the world comfortable. To be just so:
Have a career, but don’t be a bitch. Date but don’t be a slut, travel but know when it’s time to settle down. Get a degree, but mostly get married. Have children but not too many. Raise a family but also keep the job, just don’t be too good at either one. Don’t break the mold, behave.
Keep them comfortable.
Do you see how ridiculously flawed this is??
WE CAN NEVER WIN
We’ve spent our lives trying to stay in the realms of what society expects of us, we’ve diminished our power and covered it with food, deflection, anxiety and secret habits. We play it sweet and silly and brush off compliments, because who are we to be great? We have no right to take up space, to go against the grain, to ruffle some feathers and raise eyebrows. We have no right to be leaders, no right to say YES.
We’re so used to making our lives about everyone else that we’re afraid of recognizing our own worth. We’re afraid of being powerful so we play it down, brush it off, assign that label to someone else.
We take our pride and turn it into shame.
Ask yourself this: what would a man say when given praise? Do they giggle and cover their faces and downplay their success? Do they make excuses and shift the praise to someone else and say “it was nothing”? No, they freaking don’t ladies. They take that compliment, that pay rise and that promotion and they run. Because of course they deserve it. They worked hard for it. Just as you did.
When you run your own business, your self-worth and income are closely linked. If you don’t believe you are effing fabulous and worthy of success, if you don’t believe that someone should compensate you for your brilliant service, then no one else will. It’s all on you, babe.
We are our biggest competition
We’re all friends here, so I’m going to come out and say this: often our biggest critics are other women.
How many times have you stopped in the tracks of your greatness and thought about what a friend / colleague / high school nemesis would say? We’ve been raised to be in constant competition with each other, believing that when one woman fails another wins. But the opposite is true my loves. When one woman is diminished, entire communities crumble.
We are mirrors: when we’re judging other women, we’re actually judging ourselves. We’re shifting the focus and blame to cover up our own insecurities and uncertainty, and that aint right.
If we’re going to shift the patriarchy and raise the consciousness of the world, we have to do it TOGETHER. So stop the bitching, the gossiping, the judging and the criticism. We’re all doing the very best we can, and lord only knows what we’re capable of when we team up.
It’s our time
It’s time to say yes to compliments.
It’s time to own our power.
It’s time to say YES to our greatness.
It’s time to take up space.
It’s time to SHAKE SHIT UP. To change the world, to lean in and speak up. To wear those darn combat boots and rise up – together.
The shift is already happening, ladies. It’s our job, our duty to work together on this one. To uplift and inspire each other. To help each other to step into what we already are: no excuses, no labels, no judgement. It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and level-up.
You can’t ever make everyone happy, so just do it the way you f*ing want and screw them all. They’ll judge you either way 🙂
This post is inspired by a chapter in Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. If you haven’t read it, are you even human?
I’m Pam Newman, founder of The Branded Panda. I help women like you create soul-based businesses that give them income and freedom to truly LIVE.
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