To me, feminism is about equality. It’s about a seat at the table, a voice, recognition. It’s about inclusion. It’s about transcending differences. To me, being a feminist means supporting each other – man or woman – not tearing them down. Being a feminist is about making room for everyone, not about being on top. Being a feminist shouldn’t be an embarrassment. It shouldn’t be an accusation. It shouldn’t only be for women. To me, the foundations of feminism are very real; women are treated as lesser to men in many ways all around the world, sometimes in places that feel so far removed from us, and sometimes right under our noses. To me, feminism is something we should all strive for – whether man or woman. How wouldn’t we all benefit from equality, opportunity and love? Let’s keep going until we don’t need to talk about it anymore. I know I will. #HappyInternationalWomensDay
Sometimes we think we have to do it all on our own in order to do well. But there’s no shame in having someone to catch you when you fall, to offer you words of wisdom, or to give you a hand. There is a difference between support and reliance. To rely on someone is to depend on them. And there may be times when we need that. But we can still be independent and self-made with support. We don’t have to do it all alone to be strong and successful. The more people we have rooting for us, the higher we’ll go.
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.
We cannot travel through life alone. We naturally pick up people along the way. Because life is tough, and we all need love, support, and comfort. But sometimes we’ve got to look at our passengers and think who will give us that support. If our ride was to run out of gas, who would just be catching a ride and who would help us push? It isn’t always clear cut. But don’t be afraid to deserve better when it comes to the people you surround ourselves with. Those who are there at your lowest moments are the ones who deserve to be there at your best moments. Don’t lose sight of your true friends. And don’t lose sight of yourself.
We all have so much to offer the world, beyond what we realise is valuable, worthy, or important: love, wisdom, appreciation, support, determination, passion, ideas, humour, peace. Our words and actions do not go unnoticed, whether a simple thank you, making someone laugh, lending an ear, sharing an idea, helping someone out, and so on. We don’t need to have stacks of cash or great popularity or extensive knowledge to be worthy and needed. You have worth. You have purpose. You have so much to share. The gift you offer another person is just your being. Do not hide it away.
Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world – Desmond Tutu
(Image: Created myself using picmonkey.com; Picture: imgkid.com)
Trekking up a mountain alone is exhausting. By building a support system, we can share out resources and heavy loads. With others, we can offer and receive guidance, encouragement, and solutions. We can learn from others and mentor others. And finding support to achieve our goals doesn’t take away from our hard work and success and actually reaching the top of the mountain. Seeking support doesn’t make us weak, inadequate or cowardly. Others can bring perspective and positive energy that helps us push through. Finding support, whether through family, friends, school, work or online, could mean the difference between giving up and ploughing on, between plummeting and stumbling, between sprouting and shooting. We will go high on our own, but we can surround ourselves with people who will lift us even higher.
Being able to be happy for someone else’s success and pleasures in life illuminates our own feelings about success and happiness and also the possibilities of our own success and happiness. We don’t have to always agree with everybody’s choices in life, but if we cannot be happy for somebody else, we are living in the world of negativity and lack. We constantly are comparing our lives to someone else’s and punishing them through our behaviour, because we are insecure about our own level of success and happiness. Perhaps we don’t believe in ourselves, don’t believe that we can get to a similar level of success and happiness, so we try to brush it off. If we cannot be happy for someone else, then we will never be satisfied or happy with our own achievements. We need to understand that success and happiness is different for everyone. Although we might be jealous of someone’s accomplishments, we may have a different yet very equal set of achievements. Similarly, we might find happiness and success in different roads that can never be compared, but are still equally as important. We can be jealous of somebody’s life and admire them at the same time. We can be happy for them without compromising our own happiness. We can still reach higher and higher whilst helping others achieve their dreams too.
If we were to write the acknowledgements of our life so far, we would all most likely have someone to thank: someone who was there for us when nobody else was, someone who believed in us, someone who pushed us, someone who set us free, someone who influenced us. They are the people who we are indebted to. They are the people who directly and indirectly make us who we are. They are the people who helped us reach the place we are today.
I don’t think we should ever dwell on the past, but we should never forget these people. It can be easy to get caught up in our own lives when it is going well that we might not see the trials of those other people. It can be easy to take their support for granted. It can also be easy to focus the rockier moments of relationships, especially if those moments are more frequent now than they were before.
But don’t turn your back on the people who have supported and cherished you, even if your paths diverge. Don’t abandon those people in their most vulnerable states. We need to respect them, appreciate them, and thank them. Sometimes being indebted to someone doesn’t mean we can ever fully repay them, we just have to show how much they mean to us. It can be with words, but even more significantly with actions. It can simply be returning a favour or returning a phone call. Heck, we can initiate not just return, because that is what they did for you.
Support isn’t an action only reserved for times of trouble. Support isn’t an action only reserved for the people we know. Support isn’t a one-way system reserved for ourselves. I find it sad to see a world where people take pleasure in tearing other people down, whether it be tearing down the people we don’t know, such as through celebrity gossip, or tearing down the people we do know, such as bitching about people behind their backs. Does tearing down someone actually change anything significantly in our life? Does it make us prettier or stronger or wealthier?
I think support should be an action that melts into all our daily practices. Support should be giving encouragement, offering help and advice, wishing many congratulations, standing up for others against an adversary. Support is about letting people in who may feel left out or alone, about lifting someone up in good times and bad, and about sticking by them even if you don’t agree with them. Supporting one another is planting love rather than hate. Just one small action of support can begin the chain of another person lending support to someone else, instead of breeding a culture where people feel the need to knock others down. By lifting others up, we lift ourselves up out of those destructive emotions of jealousy, fear and hate. We open up ourselves and the world to love.