Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Survival Skills For Young Women: Lesson 1

Lesson 1's Quote:  The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you're not good enough.  On occasion, some may be correct.  But do not do their work for them.  Seek any job, ask anyone out; pursue any goal.  Don't take it personally when they say "no" - they may not be smart enough to say "yes." ~Keith Olbermann, broadcast journalist

I have decided to start a new post series, fittingly called "Survival Skills For Young Women."  These are lessons I have learned along the way, lessons I may still struggle implementing in my own life, but lessons I want to share with others.  My hope is that others can relate with my struggles, and perhaps find their own solace in knowing they aren't the only ones who have made mistakes along the way!   

 Being a bit of a nerd, I naturally love to learn.  That's why I secretly loved studying for college courses and enjoyed the challenge of tests, midterm papers, and projects.  As I walked across the stage at the University of Oklahoma in May of 2010, I naively thought I was adequately prepared to take on the world.  What I have found interesting in the past year of being a full-time working girl is how UNPREPARED I was for the "non-work" side of working.  Yes, my major equipped me with the knowledge I need to carry out my work.  However, I often find myself desperately wishing there had been a class on interpersonal relationships, or "How To Deal with Difficult People." 

Let me explain by first making a confession- I tend to care what others think of me.  Sounds pitiful, right? My faith in the Lord teaches me all validation I need can be found solely in Him.   In fact, for me to have the relationship with Him I desire, it is imperative I get to a place in my life where I truly get all my validation from Him alone!  And oh, how He knows I am working towards this.  Nevertheless, I can't help but internalize the sting of disapproval.  I realized this past year that the minute I felt someone was not happy with my work, my demeanor, how I dress, or how I conducted my life, I immediately faulted myself. 

There is a phenomenon I have discovered regarding women- anytime a woman that is prettier, more successful, or in any way (that one PERCEIVES) superior, women naturally feel threatened unless they are at peace with who they are.  If a woman is NOT at peace with herself, she often can become catty.  Catty does not a tres chic woman make.  One can see then, the importance of having a strong sense of self.  My belief is that anytime a woman compares herself to another woman, she demeans herself.  Once I internalized this idea, I realized everytime I listened to the disapproval of others, I was allowing myself to be a punching bag.  All I had worked so hard for in school was truly not amounting to much at the end of the day because I felt weighed down by my failure to live up to others' expectations.  I knew this wasn't healthy, and I knew this wasn't what I wanted for my life.  This was not how a truly tres chic woman acted.  So here came my realization...

In order to not only survive in this world, but to thrive, we must get to a place of indifference regarding other's judgements of our lives.  Because, at the end of the day, only you are responsible for your life.  The people who disapprove of you will not be there when you succeed, and they definitely won't help you pick up the pieces when you fail.  So why do we give such weight to what they think of us?  Why do we feel such a great need to prove ourselves to them? 

A tres chic woman takes risks with her life.  She ignores anyone who attempts to define her in a limiting way.  She's kind.  So if you aren't happy with who you are, recognize that.  The recognition of that is huge in and of itself.  Then, use whatever means necessary to come to a place of peace.  For me, it came through my faith.  For others, it may mean making some hard life decisions (ditching a boyfriend that only brings you down, finding a new job, a new circle of friends, etc.).  This process of self discovery is an important one.  Trust me, as I mentioned above, I am still working on myself! As women, we have got to come to the realization that we are on the same team.  My closest girlfriends have enriched my life in a way I never knew possible.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if it was full of women who were truly happen with themselves? 

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