Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
Indian women have to juggle multiple roles and as result they are often overwhelmed and stressed. But, it is possible to find that balance and lead happier lives.
Today’s world is filled with competition and stress and whether one likes it or not, I believe women work twice as hard as men in many aspects of life, be it professional or personal. Women wear multiple hats, and juggling them successfully is an acquired skill. We are daughters, mothers, professionals, managers, homemakers, dreamers, achievers. We want to be seen as strong and confident in all that we do and that comes with a cost.
It often costs us our self-esteem. Soon, resentment and stress becomes an accepted way of life. We need to learn to step back, pause and introspect. We need to give ourselves the time and much earned validation to feel confident, which usually takes a beating as we navigate through these multiple roles in life.
We seem to think that some things are way of life for us. We have been conditioned over generations with an image of how women should be. When we were young, our mothers unconsciously fed us that our image should be of someone who does not argue, fight or talk too loud.
We grow up accepting a lot of ‘inequality’ and have to work hard and fight against such ‘norms’. Although men are different than women, both men and women are important as we bring our own unique attributes to this world, our society and our family. We can be emotionally stronger, are more focused, and better managers than men, with greater attention to details. It helps us to be more aware and focus on our uniqueness and derive our strength from it rather than complaining or resenting it.
Are we on a quest to be the ‘ideal’ women? How can we be seen as achievers and how can we dream big? Does multitasking overwhelm us instead of boosting effectiveness?
It may be harder for us to climb the corporate ladder perhaps. Can we change the male dominated trend in this world be being aggressive or by complaining? Maybe we are devoting more time to our family, our children, much more than our spouse perhaps. Are we giving any time or value for ourselves? Are we putting ourselves in constant stress?
As a women, a wife, a mother, a working women, we constantly struggle to give our best to the different roles we play in life. We often think we can handle the children better and allow the strain of child-rearing to rest more on our shoulders. We often do not expect, let alone ask for help in household responsibilities.
To be seen as equally efficient in office we take in more work, more working hours perhaps. If there is physical or emotional abuse, we sometimes accept it due to lack of a better option. If we choose to fight we can be termed aggressive.
While smoking and drinking socially may not be harmful, as an escape from stress, it can be short lived, increasing addictive dependency. We cope with stress by procrastination, denial or ignoring the problem in hand, playing the blame game: My maid is always late and irresponsible; my office staff never gives the report on time, why can’t my children be more responsible… The list is endless.
We often go into denial mode. Our body needs the rest when the symptoms are shouting out otherwise. It could be the aches and pains which doctors have no remedy for, it could be some gene issues or just that niggling headache. How many times are we in denial when there is a physical or emotional abuse? We might want to ignore and wish the problem away, as we have no time or energy to deal with them now. Yes, it takes courage. It takes courage to say ‘No’. Yes, there is fear. But everything we want is often possible if we defeat our fears.
When we recognize the problems and pitfalls, we want to change. But, most of us do not know how to change. Often all it takes is for us to physically take the step back and take a deep breath. Sounds so easy, yet it is powerfully effective. These few seconds are enough to allow our brain to move from its default 24/7 ‘stress’ mode to a ‘creative’ window. All the solutions are within us, right there in the creative side of our brain. This stepping back and observing ourselves is a good first step.
If we, as women want to give our best in all the multiple roles, we first need to give ourselves ‘me time and space’. If we don’t pace ourselves, take a pause, validate ourselves, how can we add value to others, be it in our personal or professional life?
Take time out for coffee-breaks with friends, a movie perhaps. It is a good platform to share, even bitch a little and laugh our heads off. Learn to let-go, to forgive. Forgiveness is only complete when we forgive and forget. It lets the big burden off our shoulder. Empathy helps one look at issues from another perspective, while not necessarily agreeing with it. Try to understand a colleague’s issue, sometimes beyond work. It will lead to healthy conversations, even if it is a difficult one.
Looking for and focusing on even the smallest positive aspect in our spouse, our children, and appreciating them is a great step forward to building that solid trust. All these steps help us to define our boundary better and making it easier to say ‘No’. It also helps us become assertive and confident. It boosts our self-esteem, image and self-worth.
The more we exercise these mindful practices, the more we will access our creative brain and find that perfect balance. It helps us stay away from resentment and stress thereby leading us to happiness. It allows us to blossom into strong, confident women with abundant energy. And when we share our happiness and nurture others, we also unleash success in whatever we do.
Image Source: Pixabay
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