It has been a few ticks around the clock since I announced I wanted to do a strong independent woman series in honor of my daughter. Several people sent me their submissions and all of them have been very gracious to give me some time off before posting them.
The truth is I needed these in my own quest to become a stronger woman and I hope you will garner something wonderful from them as well. For the next several weeks, as I get the time to post, you will read what being a strong woman means to my guests and perhaps some advice or a look into a particular woman who made a difference to them.
Enjoy the series!
Strength is all about action.
Women have been socialized to avoid strength of all kinds. Physically, we have been told not to bulk up with too many muscles or we won’t “be beautiful.” We have to have certain hairstyles and shoes and makeup, and we need to dress certain ways in order to “be feminine.”
Emotionally, we have been conditioned to take care of everyone’s needs before our own. Family members are fed, loved, and clothed before we even finish that first hot cup of coffee in the morning. Spiritually, the tradition is that women are seen and not heard; they certainly do not lead. Forget being in tune with what we want, what we need, and our intrinsic value. We have had the strength drained from us, and we don’t know how to replace it.
This lack of women owning their strength helps everyone else. This might be nice for them, but it tears us apart. Fortunately, there are three marks of strength that women can develop so that we can take our lives back.
A Strong Woman Knows What She Needs
Women have been so conditioned to be out of touch with themselves that it can be difficult for us to even know what we need. I know women who are not even sure what they like to do, watch, or eat anymore, much less identify the needs in their souls that require fulfillment.
That’s okay – realizing that we can even know what we need is a great place to start. After a lifetime in recovery from childhood sexual abuse, I spent several years learning how to feel and identify emotions, following their trail to finally discovering what it is that I need. One emotion at a time.
Exhausting? Yes, but it takes me far less time now to identify my needs. I know, however, that I absolutely need plenty of sleep, times of quiet through the day, regular meals with protein, no refined sugar, my meds, and exercise every day. Whenever I feel out of sorts, I go back to this simple list of needs for help.
A Strong Woman States What She Needs
Nobody really knows what I need except for me. It is my responsibility to state those needs clearly in order to take the best care of myself.
One of the great things about stating what you need is that nobody can say, “How dare you?” They’re your needs. If you say to a loved one, “You never talk to me!” then this is a set up for a fight. However, if you say, “I need more communication each day with you for the sake of a healthy relationship,” there’s a greater chance that you’ll actually get what you need.
Once you have a list of your needs, practice saying them in the mirror. It will feel weird, but it is an excellent way to build the strength you need to get what you need to feel healthy and strong.
A Strong Woman Advocates for What She Needs
In Weight Watchers, I have heard several stories of women whose family members sabotage their efforts to lose weight and live healthier, more active lives. Family members bring home pizza and ice cream, offer verbal discouragement, or simply do not care or offer any support at all.
As my fellow women have talked about these instances during meetings, I have seen and felt strength grow in our combined efforts. One of our group realizations was that nobody is going to advocate for us. And this is okay.
This opens us up to continue to advocate for ourselves. If we know what we need and we practice stating what we need, then we can continue to do both of those in order to get what we need.
Our needs are important. We matter.
Knowing this is real strength.
Kelly Wilson is an author and comedian who entertains and inspires with stories of humor, healing, and hope. She is the author of Live Cheap and Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, and Kelly Wilson’s The Art of Seduction: Nine Easy Ways to Get Sex From Your Mate. Her latest book, Caskets From Costco, has been chosen as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, the 10th annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest. She is the founder of PTSD Parent, a website and podcast that educates, supports, and inspires all people living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in their homes and families. Kelly Wilson currently writes for a living and lives with her Magically Delicious husband, junk-punching children, dog, cat, and stereotypical minivan in Portland, Oregon. Read more about her at http://www.wilsonwrites.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.