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Take immense pride in what you do. Be vocal about what you do and be unashamed to promote it. Don’t sell your dreams short.
Most of the time when women are complimented they respond in one of two ways. The first is to reject the compliment. So for instance, if someone says you’re looking so nice, the first reaction is to say no I don’t think so. The second way is to justify the compliment. If I am looking nice it’s because I’m wearing a new dress/got a haircut/ bought these earrings.
We find it nearly impossible to say the simplest thing – ‘Thank you.’ Yet the same woman will happily accept a compliment in a professional sense. “That was a great presentation!” “Thank you” “You look so nice.” “Really?”
One of the reasons for this is that society sets such impossible standards for women, we tend to undervalue our identity and everything associated with it. We need to justify the compliment because society teaches us that as a woman you are not enough, you are incomplete. When you accept a compliment it is also an acceptance of your being worthy of compliments.
In our personal lives, we often see ourselves only in terms of our relationships because that is ingrained in us at a young age. Whereas professionally we identify with our roles and so we know our importance.
The average woman looks in the mirror and sees her flaws and strives so hard to hide them that she cannot see her strengths. An overweight and bald short man looks in the mirror and thinks, nay knows he is still handsome.
This is the difference between the sexes and this leads to our continually undervaluing ourselves and pressurizing ourselves to be better. We deserve to feel good about ourselves as people and not as daughters, sisters or mothers.
Take pride in what you do. The small business you run from home is a business. So don’t say it’s a hobby or a pastime or just ‘aise hi kuch’ (just something) say it is a business. I can assure you a man in your place would say that and demand importance for his venture. Be vocal about what you do and be unashamed to promote it. If you write you’re a writer. If you paint you’re a painter. Don’t sell your dreams short.
Women are used to adjusting and compromising. Sometimes we end up compromising where it may not even be necessary. We defer our plans for our children, our spouses and put everyone else’s needs first leaving no time for ourselves.
You have to put yourself first if you want others to put you first. So the next time you have plans, don’t cancel them without telling anyone because ‘I’ll do it next time.’ Find a way to make things work around your plans.
We women are very resourceful. If we put our mind to it we can manage everything, but sometimes we are afraid of rocking the boat and so we let go. Here’s a little secret: boats are built to handle rocking waves… as long as they are gentle.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie English Vinglish
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Asfiya Rahman, a management graduate, is a teacher by occupation and a writer by inclination.
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