Why Do We Stop Our Girls And Women From Being ‘Too Ambitious’ If They Dream Big?

Dead ends are actually opportunities to pause and reflect because sometimes, when we are in the midst of the journey, we forget to look inwards.

Dear Anupama,

It is an exciting phase in your life. College life is beckoning you and I know you are waiting to explore new terrains. It is one thing to hear about the experiences of others but to create memories of your own would definitely be something you would cherish for a lifetime.

You have chosen the path that seemed practical but I know in your heart, you are still that school girl who watched the movie ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ in awe – not because of anything else but because you were mesmerized by the choreography. Your heart did a somersault as you imagined yourself being the one behind a breath-taking dance sequence on screen someday.

You knew you had the spark. You knew you would give it your all. Yet, you buried those desires deep inside because of the unpredictability of pursuing them. After all, going down this way would not ensure a stable income for you. They said that a bright student like you should get into a profession which is ‘intellectual’.

Yes, you are shaking your head to comments like these in exasperation. If only they would understand art for what it truly is. Right now, you have decided that you will live your dreams in dreams and make the most of your reality.

Dreams may feel unattainable, but stand by your freedom to dream

But, you know, that is the beauty of dreams. They do not come with an expiry date. Today, it may seem like a daunting task to be what you are at core. You are probably wondering whether someday the ‘good-to-do’ and the ‘want-to-do’ will ever merge.

Well, the good news is they will, because you will make it happen.

Your parents have raised you to be a go-getter and a learner. It is this very attitude that will help you to evolve in all spheres of your life and explore new facets within you.

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Use every moment, every situation to enrich yourself. Life is not about always getting to make the decisions that may seem in our favour. Life is about taking stock of our circumstances and putting our best foot forward. There will be uncertainties and hurdles galore along the way, but your own energy will overpower them. You don’t have to consider yourself a coward or people-pleaser because the creative ‘you’ has decided to become an engineer by qualification. You are doing what your instincts are telling you to do at this point, so own your decision and stand by it. Always trust these instincts because these stem from both your heart and mind.

Don’t be scared of what may feel like a ‘dead end’ to you

If you are thinking about what if you reach a dead end at some point, remind yourself that you can always start walking back. Dead ends are actually opportunities to pause and reflect because sometimes, when we are in the midst of the journey, we forget to look inwards. The dead ends are also as important as the vast expanse of trails and turfs.

Often people define success and failure in their own ways. I say failure is an integral part of success. I believe mistakes are imperative to probably the most beautiful journeys that we undertake.

This does not mean you do not have the right to feel defeated, lost or unsure. All you need to promise me, no scratch that – promise yourself that whatever it be, you will look within for answers and blur out the noises. Your soul will never betray you. Your voice will never lie to you. At the end of the day, it is always going to be between you and your conscience. This self-awareness will become one of your biggest strengths as you get ready to take on this world, mark my words!

In our society, ‘ambitious’ is a word often used as an unpleasant adjective for women

While you are blessed to have open-minded and strong parents who keep encouraging you to become a successful career woman, there will be many situations in life when you will be dissed or put down for your choices.

The day-to-day subtle sexism or the blatant misogyny is ingrained all around us and somewhere, within us too. The ‘all-in-one superwoman’ is one of the biggest scams in our history and you do not have to succumb to it to be loved and respected.

Do not allow anyone to guilt trip you for being what you are. You are not answerable to those who do not owe you any answers. Prioritizing your own self is not the same as being selfish. You can be kind and empathetic to others as well as yourself. Say ‘yes’ to yourself, even if that may mean saying ‘no’ to others because you matter.

In the midst of battling the naysayers, you will find a few who will watch your back and bring out the best in you. It may take time, but you will find your tribe. Hold them close for these are the people who will make you feel like the sun when you feel lost in the stars. These are the people who will show you your spark on days you feel like you are losing it, and will also give you a reality check when you find yourself losing focus.

And it’s Ok to change your mind… and maybe even use your multiple talents!

Today, you have goals that may change tomorrow which is absolutely acceptable, rather inevitable. This does not make you fickle-minded or confused.

I know you get to hear from some well-wishers that you are all over the place and should focus on just one thing for a career. Do not dim your shine because it pricks someone else’s eyes. Why shy away from being the amazing you with multiple talents? It is these abilities that will open up so many avenues for you in the future, taking you towards tapping a larger part of your full potential.

So, write away, dance away, sing away, and do everything else that you want to do – dole it all out.

Remember this –

There are no real life hacks else we would all have hacked it by now to our liking but one mantra you may want to follow always is to be open to reinvent and readapt yourself.

As they say, life is always busy sabotaging your plans while you make them. Even the next minute is unpredictable.

As a professional, as a woman or even as a member of a society, instilling these qualities in yourself will take you far and you will thank yourself one day for every experience, every skill, every encounter and every decision in your life. And that day, maybe you will be sitting somewhere, writing a similar letter to me sharing how you have figured out things along the way.

Something tells me that you will be very close to yourself while doing that. So, run, fly, take your tribe along with you as you soar, and have a ball!

Your 40-year-old self

This August, we have working women writing a deeply personal letter to their younger selves – from the time they were teenagers or college students or young adults just stepping out into a career, and later too when they came up against problems – telling them that they should embrace their #freedomtodream and how this will take them on their journey to get to where they now find themselves.

If you are a working woman and want to write a similar letter to your younger self, log in to your author dashboard or register here as an author, and upload your piece with #FreedomToDream or #FreedomToBeMe in the title. We’d love to hear from you.

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About the Author

Anupama Dalmia

Multiple award winning blogger, influencer, author, multi-faceted entrepreneur, creative writing mentor, choreographer, social activist and a wanderer at heart read more...

119 Posts | 757,558 Views

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