Why is it that we deny ourselves the life of our dreams? Why is it that we watch opportunities pass us by that could make us happy? Why is it that we sit back and let others instead have the glory, wealth and success that we so dearly want for ourselves?
I can’t speak for any of you, but I know why I do it. Because of a lack of confidence and an excess of fear.
I know a lot of women, like me, who won’t take on something big (like a job promotion or invitation to speak to others) unless they feel like they KNOW all about it and can DO everything associated with it. While I know many men (God bless their gutsy little souls) who would take these things on in a heartbeat even if they hardly knew anything about it. Honestly, they could have a 15 minute chat with their mates at the pub on the topic and consider themselves experts.
There is also a part of me that does not have the confidence and faith in myself to do big things. It’s not like I’m a weak person – I love change and I’m a gutsy, strong girl, but in relation to some things I just crumble. There is a deep, ingrained sense that maybe I have to be a different person to achieve some things. That I don’t have what it takes.
And the thing I don’t have? Well, I’m not a man. There it is!! I’ve said it!
I’m emotional, a bit of a softy, often a pushover, and I find it hard to detach from things. But in the same breath I can tell you that I don’t see why I should have to mould myself into someone different just because I work in a career dominated by men. Why are my female characteristics somehow considered less than those of my male counterparts? Why is it that “different” seems to be synonymous with “wrong” in this world?
I mean seriously, just because I can’t burp the alphabet, know how to cook and understand that the true function of a tea towel lies beyond wiping your face, how does this make me any less? I see and sense things around me and in other people that many men are oblivious to. I have empathy, understanding and I’m a good listener. On top of that, I’m just as good at my job as the men around me, often better, and have had to work twice as hard to overcome the obstacles of sexual harassment and jealousy from less qualified men. And let’s face it, I’ve done all of this on less pay and with no wife at home to support me.
When I write all this down it seems so crazy, but in reality, it can be just so damn hard.
On top of this, there is fear too. I’m not that scared of failure, although that would suck a bit. But I’m afraid of success, because in my experience and world view, this can mean a loss of love. Do I want to embrace success and forfeit love? Are there really men out there who can truly love a woman BECAUSE of her strength and success, not IN SPITE of it?
Many men say they can love strong, smart women, but the reality can be hard on their egos. Men are brought up as providers (which is lovely) but I have seen the struggle men go through coming to grips with their partners making more money than them.
So, here I am, faced with a big opportunity, but also faced with the possible loss of both myself and love. How does one choose between these things? More importantly, why is it that I must make this choice as a woman, while a man would not, in the same situation?
Are we women really destined to live out lives of untouched dreams, lost opportunities and crushed spirits?
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