A strong woman stands up for herself? What does that even mean? Does it mean that I suck it up and be tough like the guys? Does it mean I support my husband no matter what mood he is in? Does it mean I share my truth no matter what?
Our culture and personal influences are the first to define the answer to the statement: a strong woman stands up for herself and here’s how…
As we mature and contemplate the question, it becomes clear that however we answer it, it is a personal decision. One woman may see value and strength in her ability to be just as strong as the men in her career. Driven by the desire to succeed and make a difference for other women who come behind her.
Another woman may feel stronger by quitting a career that she feels diminishes her value as a woman. Seeking instead a life of peacefulness and gentleness of spirit. Both are valid signs of strength that can only be determined by her personal value system.
This poses a problem for strong women everywhere.
If she chooses peacefulness, she may appear as a weak doormat to others.
If she chooses her career, she may appear as a cunning bitch.
So you can see there is no easy answer. One thing for sure, when a strong woman stands up for herself, she is very often judged by others.
A strong woman stands up for herself in a multitude of little ways. She knows that each choice she makes throughout the day can strengthen or weaken her. She chooses to build strength like a weightlifter; each rep is one step closer to her feeling stronger and building strength to lift more weight. Using the weightlifting model, we can also strengthen our mental capacity one-day and behavior at a time.
Here are 5 little ways a strong woman stands up for herself every day:
- She stops relying on others opinions and judgments about her life.
Every day she protects herself from the naysayers and dirt mongers who want to shut her down. She chooses to let the negative comments pass and doesn’t allow the comments to stop her from what is right for her. She puts up an invisible shield that reflects the negativity back onto the person who sent it to her. She understands the negativity says more about the person flinging it than it does about her.
- She cultivates an inner knowing about what is right for her.
Every day she chooses to know her innermost thoughts and desires. She does this by reflecting on what is happening inside of her without blaming or looking at circumstances outside of herself. A strong woman is one who can turn a chaotic situation like betrayal, into a learning experience that enhances her sense of worth and makes her stronger for having had the experience.
- She values and cares deeply about herself.
Every day she chooses activities and thoughts which enhance her value and contribution to others. She cares for herself by getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating healthy foods, exercising, journaling her thoughts, and connecting with her higher power or God. She knows she must be filled up and give to others out of the abundance she has given to herself.
This caring for oneself is not to be confused with selfishness. Selfish people hold onto their own stuff and don’t share with others out of a state of deprivation. They are empty inside and hold onto what little they have out of fear they will lose everything. What selfish people don’t understand is that there is an abundance of all you will ever need inside, they just don’t know where to look or how to find it. So they hold on in desperation to the crumbs that they have learned to live with.
- She says YES to opportunities which strengthen and build her up and NO when opportunities would be diminishing. AKA she has boundaries.
When a strong woman makes decisions she checks in with herself first to see if she really wants to do it and has the time and space to invest in an opportunity. The next time you get invited for coffee and a chat with a friend ask yourself, “Do I want to meet with this person? Is this a good use of my time? Will I feel uplifted or discouraged if I meet with this friend?”
If the answer is YES to these questions, you can give an exuberant yes to your friend. If not, a “thank you for inviting me but it’s not a good time for me right now” is a respectful way to say no.
- She chooses fun and enjoys life with balance.
Strong women engage in a balanced lifestyle. She finds time for work, social time, self-care time, and investing in fun joyful activities. She will make time to go on a Ferris wheel with a friend and share special time together. She will make alone time for rest and relaxation. She will take vacations, which bring joy and sunshine to her life. She will do her best at work each day and feel proud of a job well done.
It’s important to know that strong women had to start somewhere doing things that enhanced their life. If you can’t imagine being a strong woman just remember it only takes one step to be headed in the direction of being a strong woman. Choose one little activity each day that enhances your life rather than brings you down and you are on your way.
A reminder that some people have enormous trauma in their history and that surviving that history qualifies you as a strong woman. Yep it does, you have survived! You too have each day to bring more strength to your life and create a lifestyle that enhances your self-worth.
If you’re struggling to feel like the strong woman who stands up for herself, I can help you discover the woman you’re meant to be. If you’re in the Seattle/Tacoma metro and looking for a counselor, please reach out. You can send me a confidential email here.