"Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing"

Thursday, 12 September 2013
I just finished an interesting article from Huffington Post about "23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing." I don't particularly care for the idea of telling other people what to do, especially when they don't ask for advice, but the article has some excellent points. At this stage of my life, I've already worked through a few of the "tips" such as:

1. Stop apologizing all the time. This is something that women tend to do much more than men, for whatever reason. There is no need to apologize to the waitress for asking to split the check or apologize for talking about your problems with a friend... etc. I read research about this last year and now make a mental note of every time I apologize for something that is irrelevant as well as noticing when women around me say "I'm sorry" for something they shouldn't be sorry for. You'll be surprised at how often you say it. Women do not need to qualify everything they do.

3. I stopped saying "no" to myself. There are things I want to accomplish in this life. Rather than believing I can't do something, I just decide that I CAN do it and go for it. That's how I completed a 1/2 marathon this year, how I'm almost finished pursuing a doctorate degree, how I purchased a house by myself and how I picked up, moved to London by myself and earned my Master's degree. We cannot let our insecurities or anxieties win.

7. The authors of the post say we should stop obsessively untagging every "unflattering" photo of ourselves that exist online. I still have some room to grow in this area but I'm so much more comfortable with myself now that I'm out of the TV business. Broadcast news values looks over everything and it is difficult to compete on looks alone. Now, I will go an entire day with only looking in the mirror once or twice. That's a good thing.

10. The article suggests that women stop wearing heels every day. I agree! I suffered from plantar fascitis when I worked in Cincinnati as a reporter because I wore heels every, single, day and I was on my feet all day. Plantar fascitis was incredibly painful and wearing heels was not practical. Why did I do it? I wore heels because of the pressure to "look" a certain way as a 20-something reporter. Forget it!

There are several items on the list that I stand to improve on. Such as:

2. Saying "yes" to everyone else. I am a people pleaser. I take into account others' needs before my own. I believe this trait results from a combination of a conservative upbringing, fundamental religious foundation and societal gender role modeling. Being compassionate and caring for others is not necessarily a bad thing but as women, if we are taught to always say "yes" to our elders, men in our lives, religious organizations, those in "power," etc., we are not saying "yes" to our own needs. When we consistently allow our needs to suffer to put others first or be "respectful," that is not okay. I am working to continue being true to myself and my own needs. We can and must set boundaries in our lives and then refuse to feel guilty about doing so.

This leads to 9: Stop holding on to regrets and guilt. I don't have regrets. Sure, there are things that I would do differently if I had the chance, but I try not to regret aspects of my life because I believe that we learn something and grow from all encounters and experiences. I do, however, struggle with consistent feelings of guilt (perhaps another mental contribution from a Christian foundation?). I feel guilty about things that truly have nothing to do with me! The authors of the article write, "Guilt and regret are two emotions that usually serve to torture the person feeling them. Acknowledge your guilt, and then move on to the best of your ability." I also am trying to only accept responsibility for my actions in a situation. In one area of my life, I was only considering my role in something I felt guilty about. I had completely blocked out the other party's role in the situation. When I remembered that, I looked at things more objectively and realized I did not need to take on a mountain of guilt.

5. Stop "body-snarking." Ha! I didn't know what that meant until I read the rest of the article. Body-snarking is when we say or think negative thoughts about our looks and/or bodies. This is something women do consistently but some men rarely do. Why? Women are held to a higher appearance standard by society and are compared to magazine photos of models. That is not reality. The sooner we accept that and begin being happy with our healthy bodies, the better. Yes, it is fine to work to be healthier but we need to do so in a positive way. I want to really work on this now so that if I have children, they will not hear me put myself down. Nothing good comes of negative thoughts.

Do you struggle with any of these things, or others on the list?

1 comment

SQRT said...

It may not seem like it, but I am SUCH a people pleaser! I will drop anything and everything if I know I can do something for someone else. It's like a bad habit!!!
But as soon as you get comfortable in that independent, strong, woman role, people treat you differently. Some good, some bad - like jealous girlfriends and insecure boys. I think there's a happy medium...somewhere!!