With time, I have learned to slow down, and how to smell the roses (even though at times, I still rush by them).
Often, the pressures to take on more work, more responsibilities, more care taking, come from outside. But all too often, they take hold inside our minds. Unconsciously, we have accepted the many roles placed on us, without asking for compensation (monetarily or otherwise), and without taking what we deserve. “Taking” in itself it bad, isn’t it? We don’t take the time to relax, and we don’t take time to play - we don’t even know how to play any more half the time. Everyone and everything else is always more important.
This is one way women can begin to empower themselves: To stop over burdening ourselves, or quietly accept one more thing to do. We have to stop asking for permission to take time off, or ask for a raise, to sell that too-big home of yours, or refusing to have one more child.
In her book “The H-Spot - The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness“, writer Jill Filipovic describes how men tend to have it easier “making it”, because our society was built on masculine ideals: competition, getting ahead, a thirst for adventure (there's nothing wrong with any of these. But they're out of balance). So often, women end up in the supporting role of propping these values up without spending energy on pursuing their own ideals.
But what if we asked to focus on female values instead? “This is not a place that was built for us to thrive”, writes Filipovic. “The answer is not to simply try to be better at the tasks set before us. The answer is to ask, What would we make if we had all the tools? What do we want?”
And here is where we have to take a good look at ourselves. Too often, our identity is defined by relationships to others - being a mom, a sister, a wife. What would we do if we stepped out of these roles? How can women tap into their creative force and take charge in their own way, sweeping away outdated values, and building a better life for all of us?
The answer is - as always - we start with ourselves. What makes you happy?