Giving doesn’t demand great sacrifice, great spending, or great selflessness. We can give thanks or praise, we can lend a hand or an ear, and we can take others into account when we make speak or act. We can put ourselves in others shoes, we can give another the benefit of the doubt, we can respect each other, we can share knowledge and wisdom. Don’t underestimate your power to give to others. And don’t underestimate the power giving holds to make the world a better place.
We might sometimes find ourselves alone. But that doesn’t mean we have to be lonely. Sometimes we have to be our own biggest cheerleader:
- Celebrate your victories – we don’t always give ourselves enough credit when it comes to our achievements, sometimes because we don’t think they’re good enough and other times because we’re too busy thinking about the next big thing. But don’t get into the habit of letting success pass you by. Any victory is one to be celebrated. Praise yourself.
- Cut yourself some slack – we cannot always be our best, let alone always be perfect. Sometimes we’re going to trip up and make a mess. But it’s all a part of life. What matters the most is what we do afterwards. We shouldn’t waste our time beating ourselves up, demotivating ourselves or crushing our self-confidence. Instead, take responsibility, learn a lesson and move on.
- Stop comparing yourself to others and love who you are – we all find it hard to be comfortable with who we are, where we are, and what we have. We look at others and envision a better life if we were more like them. But the truth is, everyone has insecurities and problems. We all have different stories. Focus on your own and you’ll go much further – if you don’t, it will go on without you.
Some of us crave attention and some of us want to escape it. Yet both create rather unhealthy relationships with attention. We should not rely on other people’s attention for validity, confidence or love. We need to look for those within. At the same time, we should not be afraid of other people’s attention. We should feel comfortable about accepting praise, talking about ourselves, and being accomplished. Running away from attention nurtures the feelings of insecurity and insignificance just as much as craving it does. Other people’s attention should reinforce, boost and enhance, instead of compensate for our lack of attention in ourselves. The attention we pay ourselves is the only form we can control and the only form we can ever grow upwards from. So don’t spare it.
It can be disheartening when someone doesn’t praise us for the work we’ve done. It can be heartbreaking when someone doesn’t love us the way we need them to. It can be devastating when someone bites into our confidence with their hurtful words and actions. Relationships are powerful, in both magical and unsettling ways. They are beautiful, intense and invigorating. But we should not let them define us in ways that are inescapable. We do so because we are human – we are not perfect. But neither are others; people let us down, sometimes deliberately but often unintentionally too. We cannot control others, nor should we try in many circumstances. We need to start looking at ourselves as the source of everything we need and desire, and our relationships with other people as blessings that nurture and strengthen the world we build for ourselves. Let’s be the ones to praise ourselves, to love ourselves and to find confidence within ourselves. Let’s be the ones to feed our hearts, to decide what is best for us and to feel the world in a positive light. Let’s be the water, the sun and the earth, and not only the seed in the ground.
Over the past couple centuries, women have fought for a better future for current and new female generations. Nowadays, it can be easy to take the changes these phenomenal women made for granted, and actually find ourselves regressing from the paths they have opened up for us.
One of the most significant developments in women’s history was obtaining the right to vote. And this didn’t come instantly; in the UK, the women’s suffragette movement began in late 19th century, and it wasn’t until the First World War (1914-18) that they made legislative progress. Along the way, suffragettes created organisations, went on hunger strikes, pursued radical lobbying and suffered subsequent imprisonment. But women’s equality was not limited to this. Other advancements include campaigning for women to be able to go to university, able to obtain divorce and keep the children, and for equal employment opportunities and benefits. Equality to men in the latter is something that women are still fighting for and legal acts instigating it are only recent. In the UK, the number of women in chief-executive and managing director positions was only 14.5% in 2012, but saw a rise of 25% from 2011 (according to the Telegraph). In America, women hold only 4.2% of CEO positions in the Fortune 500. Whether properly proved or not, its frequently suggested that women and young females rival male intelligibility in all ages. We, as a collective body, have so much potential to achieve, for both ourselves and other women.
Yet it has somehow become intrinsic in our nature that we are jealous and competitive towards other women. This can be from attractiveness to attention to employment or schoolwork. Insecure females make themselves feel better by criticising other women. Females who want something another woman has ends up criticising them out of jealousy.
I’m not saying that all competition is bad; we should expect more from ourselves and challenge ourselves and not let people walk all over us. But at the same time we should embrace and praise other women’s achievements, even if we wish we could be in their position. Instead we should be happy for them and aspire to be like those women who have what we want. We shouldn’t develop a bad reputation for women with petty jealousy and criticism. By learning to praise other women, we can keep the journey for the power of women progressing that many women have previously paved for us, and continue to pave it for future generations.