I wrote about ten intro versions for this article, then I decided to replace them with a straightforward one – I would love March to be about more than postcards, happy wishes, rivers of flowers, retail campaigns, and sunny selfies. I would love us to be able to talk about women without turning it into a fight or drama of some kind, to confront reality without complaining, to look at each other in admiration, not awe or judgment.
A while ago I asked my niece, who is three years old, what princess would she like to be and loves most. And her answer was “Me!”. She is her favorite princess, but not because she is vain, but because she does not understand why she would need to be or imitate somebody else! And that was a bit of a surprise for me. I grew up with the poor habit of comparing myself to others and continuously coming second. Others were always better, prettier, more natural, more disciplined, stronger, funnier, etc
That is why I wanted to make this month about more than wishing you a great Spring. I want to bring forward womanhood at its best. I want to share those voices that inspire and support many, pioneer roles, and stand for something greater than themselves every day.
And to start this topic, I want to share a few favorite topics:
Do you remember what you wanted to be as a child? Was it something you truly desired or that somebody told you that would be awesome to be, like a doctor or a policeman?
Moreover, when you decided to do something else, less common in your family or group, how did those around you react? Did you feel support? Did you feel discouraged?
Of course, they did the best they knew and could. This article is not about judging, as I just mentioned above. I respect the work our parents and their parents did for us to get here. What I want to focus on is us, now, our present, our decisions, our reactions. We choose every day to fold under or to rise from our habits, our less helpful beliefs. And we choose every single day if we make them last, or we make them lost.
You might say this is important for parents. But it isn’t. This is vital for humans. All humans, of all genders and on all continents. We all have generations before us that survived helped by stories. As time passes, those stories become legends, traditions, cultural reflexes. So you have to choose every day what you nurture – limits or limitlessness.
We spend so much time running from failure. Have you ever stopped to ponder why? One theory is that we fear failure because we integrated the belief that “failure” = “shame”.
I was talking the other month with a client and friend, who was working herself to exhaustion in order to finish a project she has started. She is a mother, a wife, a (great) friend, a sister, a daughter, a manager on maternity leave, and recently an entrepreneur. Her career was a long and tiring fight not to fail others, not to be less than anybody expected of her. She is truly great, but unfortunately, she is also truly frightened by failure, by critics, by the shame of disappointing. That fear has haunted her and wore her down, despite her constant performance.
In one of our sessions, the subject of making sure everything runs perfectly with her new business came up. She was worried that she might do something wrong. That somebody might not be happy. That she might not have the right visual, the most appealing text, the best targeting. She was worried that she would fail. Somewhere in her list of possible dangers I stopped her and told her:
Failing can be exciting, and failing constantly will keep you in the area of failing small, exploring, and discovering. Running from failure keeps you in a state of fear, narrows your sight, your mind, and your life. Of course, this doesn’t happen just by reading my advice, the best self-help book, or the best guide in the world. This happens in time, by paying attention to yourself. It takes a lot of kindness to change the perception of mistakes to be pals and not enemies.
Why lie to yourself?
Perfection is a lie. We know this and yet, we fall for this. We would love to have the house in the movies that dust never settles in. The perfectly clean white carpets, that kids seem to play on and somehow never put the smallest spot on. The ideal mood of calm and serenity at all hours, with all people, on all topics. We want to be:
- the high(est) performers
- the best parents
- the smartest in every meeting
- to have the perfect mental state
- the perfect physical condition
- to have glowing skin
- commercial-like wavy hair
- amazing friends
- full of energy
This list is endless. No joke. ENDLESS!!!
If these are hopes, aspirations, objectives, it’s great. Especially if they are prioritized and selected from the list, and you don’t aim for everything, every time, all day. However, if you turn them into evaluation (or judgment criteria) then things turn painful very fast. You will feel less for not achieving an impossible goal. And what’s even stranger is that you set those goals for yourself. In other words, you are punishing yourself to be Sisyphus.
I am sure some of these aspects are not new for you. And the point of this article was not to innovate. I wrote it to remind you (and myself) that you always have at least two choices: to do what’s best for you or to just know what that is. What do you choose today?