What’s with us? Women, I mean. It seems that everything I read, everything I see, almost every woman I speak to – mother or not and across all age groups – feels like she’s never “enough,” she needs to be more.
Thinner, stronger, in better shape.
More attractive, plucked, waxed, stylish.
Doing more for our kids, partner, parents, in-laws, and pets.
Moving up the ladder at work faster, working harder, taking on more projects
Keeping on top of the latest news, important causes, or Netflix series
Not doing enough to maintain valuable friendships
This list could go on forever…we’re always wondering what more we could be accomplishing
Why do we always feel like we have to keep pushing to be better – to be more – to be everything, to everyone, at all times?
I’m guilty. Are you?
There’s even a women’s magazine aimed at the over 40 set called, you guessed it, More. Its mission, “More magazine celebrates women of style and substance. We are the leading voice for the woman who lives in a state of constant possibility.” The possibility that we can be MORE? That we should be More than who we are right now…who we should be tomorrow…who we were yesterday? Why aren’t we good enough the way we are?
I’ve been stewing on this for awhile -since May, in fact. I was at my son’s violin school recital and, as I watched each performance, I observed how the children looked and behaved as they took the stage, performed, and then exited the stage. What I noticed was quite remarkable. The boys took their place with confidence, played powerfully, accepted applause as if it was their due, and strode off the stage with a rock star swagger. There was something in their presence that said, “Even if I made mistakes, I feel great. I deserve your applause,” in other words, I am enough.
Most of the girls, on the other hand, politely and almost unobtrusively took the stage, smiled uneasily, and went on to play just as well – and often technically more competently – than many of the boys. But there wasn’t the same passion, the confident presence that said, I AM HERE AND I FREAKING DESERVE IT SO LISTEN UP PEOPLE, ‘CAUSE I’M GONNA KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF! And when they exited the stage, they did so swallowing their smiles and glancing sideways at the audience.
After the concert, I complimented a few of the kids on their playing – and two out of the three girls that I spoke to gave me a shrug and told me what they had done wrong or what they could have done better – it wasn’t enough, they could have done more. The boys? A cursory “Thanks,” while running off to play.
I don’t know where this starts or how, but I do know that these feelings of inadequacy are something that many women struggle with. Maybe it’s part of our nurturing instinct. Maybe it’s something that we learn by osmosis. I don’t know. But I do know that it’s hurting us and doing a real sucker punch on our confidence. Ladies, it’s time to say enough is enough.