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All around the world, women are busy multi-tasking and playing different roles. But are we doing enough for our true identity?
I recently read an article by Elizabeth Garner. She had written about competitiveness in women and how this causes needless stress in our sex life. An interesting point that she brought up was that, as a group, the modern woman who was now responsible for so many roles both at home and in the workplace have very few role models and tested frameworks to fall back on. It is only recently that women have been playing these diverse roles all together and while some of us can play the role of a working woman very well, others are good at being a stay-at-home mother while there is a whole other bunch who is good at hosting events and being social. The problem or the competitive problem here lies in the truth that we cannot simply be good at all these roles all together; hence, there is always a sense of disappointment, a sense of amiss in many of us. In her article, Elizabeth Garner advices women to learn to let go a little, make mistakes and basically not worry so much about each of our capabilities.
While reading this article, the thought that came to my mind was that this competitiveness could be between the various identities and the roles we want to play. As a recently married woman, the number of roles that I have to play now has increased; not only in number, but in delicacy as well. Earlier it was me, my immediate family, my friends and well, my work colleagues. Now, in addition there is my husband, his friends and his family. The roles I have to play are so many that at times I really am at sea trying to play them all.
What makes playing these roles all the more tricky is that there is a clash at times between who I am and who I need to be. And I think, it is this clash, this dichotomy, which makes our lives, as women, harder and possibly, more stressful. The stress manifolds when it is consistently present in many cases. The role wins over the identity and the identity slowly fades into obscure lines.
I, then started thinking about identity; what it is and what it really stands for. Self identity can be understood as how we as individuals see ourselves and express ourselves. The uniqueness and the individuality that defines us is reflected through our identity or in more simple terms, who we are. This sense of identity is very critical as its our social centre of gravity and the force that keeps us going.
So the question then is, how do we hold onto this identity and feed it sufficiently so that it doesnt get over shadowed by the roles we play.
Firstly, we need to make time for doing the things we love and which define us. I love writing, so even if it is a paragraph that I manage to write on some days I make sure that I do it. Whether it’s a hobby, or something as simple as a cup of coffee whilst staring into space, it’s important to put it down on the priority list so that it gets done. Pushing our own needs away to get other jobs done is not a sustainable proposition and eventually, it leads to a lot of anger towards the other jobs. So, making time and putting things on the priority list is non- negotiable.
Secondly, if people around are crushing our identity – we should speak up and let them know. Many at times family, friends or colleagues may expect us to do things or behave in a certain way that is totally against the way we like to function. It then becomes essential to let them know from the start rather than letting it burst out later like steam from a pressure cooker. Some of us do not like to hold on to who we are for fear of not being accepted, but honestly it costs us much more than we realise in the long run.
Lastly, let’s not be too hard on ourselves all the time because it is important to be there for ourselves. If we are not there for ourselves and if we do not stand up for ourselves then it’s impossible to expect others to do that. Being pitied upon is not the best motivator or self esteem booster. There are enough people telling us what we are doing is wrong or how much more we need to do; let us not add ourselves to that list.
So, here we go; the simple formula to hold onto who you really are – love yourself, make time for what you love to do and always stand up for who you truly are.
Image of a lady via Shutterstock
A learning and development professional with a passion for writing. Publishing my writing is my greatest ambition. I truly believe that a steaming hot cup of coffee and a book can cure any ailment. I read more...
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
A married woman has to wear a sari, sindoor, mangalsutra, bangles, anklets, and so much more. What do these ornaments have to do with my love, respect, and commitment to my husband?
They: Are you married?
They: But You don’t look like it
Me: (in my Mind) Why should I?
Why is being married not enough for a woman, and she needs to look married too? I am tired of such comments in the nearly four years of being married.
I believe that anything that is forced is not right. I must have a choice. I am a living human, not a puppet. And I am not stopping anyone by not following any tradition. You are free to do whatever you like to do. But do not force others. It’s depressing.