The #1 thing women do to oppress themselves

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Women empowerment

I read an article once that said that men and women process job potential and promotions differently – where as, a man never questions his ability to do a job that he may not be under qualified for, but a woman will always question her ability to do a job that she is over qualified for.

That started a flood of questions.

Why is that?  When did that start?  How can we prevent that from future generations?

Having raised three sons and been married for over 25 years, I am the underdog in my own house.  But I have always been a fighter.  And when I was younger, I always believed I could do anything I wanted to do.  I am sure that not many of you were that different.  And how many parents ever told their little boys they could be a firefighter or an astronaut?  None.  Not one.  Why do we feel the need to reinforce something that doesn’t need reinforcing?  If we just let the young ladies of the next generations believe what they will instead of us confirming that it is an option, shouldn’t we be doing that instead?

Over the course of this past year, I have heard from so many women that have shared their thoughts with me about not only what I write, but how my words affect them.  Nothing feels better than feeling that you have connected with someone on such a deep level that they are almost embarrassed to admit it.  And with their confidence, I am privileged to hear about things that they could never share publicly.  Situations in their life that cause them pain, stress, and lack of sleep.  They mask their true feelings behind smiles and the perfect family. Strong women do that.  They fake it.  But the entire time, there is a shadow of doubt that they just cannot diminish and behind that is a speck of fear, that only comes in the silence of the tears no one ever sees.

Over time, women have become very good at one thing…oppression.

Believe me, I am the first to be voice for equal rights for women.  Equal for equal work.  Equal opportunities.  Equal education.  Equal to dream.

Rosie the riveter

Over three years ago, I began to notice something familiar and common in my women friends and after one suggested that I create an empowerment group for women, I did.  And as I take mental note of the changes that have occurred since 2011, I believe that we have all become stronger by banding with other women and sharing that we are not alone and that are struggles are not that different from the woman sitting next to me.  And truth be told, we shouldn’t need empowerment groups.  Men don’t have them.  So why do we need them?

Because there are women out there that need our help.  The ones that are not strong unless they are amongst friends.   I have witnessed some of these women take incredible leaps with leaving loveless marriages and choosing what is best for themselves for the first time in their lives. I have watched women grow in ways they never imagined as they found ways to reidentify with who they are and put some joy back into their lives.  Personally, I have fallen in love with things I never would have tried had I not been with such loving and supportive friends.

So, what’s the #1 thing women do?

We don’t grant ourselves permission.

I have seen in a million times.  Women who refuse to be more because they think they can’t be.  Women who believe their worth is based on the mistakes they have made and beauty is what you see on the outside.  Women who believe that they aren’t strong enough to fight the toughest battle they never could have imagined.  Women who sacrifice their own happiness because it is easier to forget we should be happy.  Women who live with a lifetime of regrets that weigh heavily on their already burdened shoulders.  Women who bully other women and shame them into following the same pattern they themselves cannot get themselves out of.  Women who cannot see past right now because no one has told them they could. Women who have no hope and agonize with severe pain no one would should ever feel.

permission slip

 

So, here we are.  We have learned that part of our problem is that we believed that we needed someone to tell us we could do something before we did it.  We allowed others to have an opinion that weighed more than the one we have.  We have forgotten who we are.  We are examples to the younger female generations and we don’t even realize it.  We hide behind walls that we ourselves created.  We oppress ourselves by conceding to a truth that is not true.

It is time for us to stop holding ourselves back and to start pushing our way forward.  We cannot rely on others to do it for us.  We cannot waste time and forgo what is really important to us.  We need to stop blaming others and to take charge of our own lives.  It means taking a job promotion and making it up as we go along, just like we do the rest of the time in our lives.  It means changing our thoughts, the words we use, and the actions we take.  It means no longer hiding our feelings and be honest with what we want for ourselves and our children.

Here is our battle cry…the one that thrusts a revolution into action.  This is happening.  The momentum has already begun to build and it grows stronger within the souls of the women who ache to do something different.  Something great.  Something worthy.

The only question is:  Will you part of it or will you be an observer of it?  

Michelle A. Homme 2015 ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

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