Who is Your Champion, do you have one, do you need one?

The curse of being a strong woman.

The curse of being a strong woman is that most people think that you do not need anyone or anything.  Somehow being a strong woman equals not having needs like anyone other woman does.  I am a strong woman, but the paradox of me is that I am also a very sensitive person who is very caring and very empathetic.  And although externally I appear strong, just like others I too need encouragement, validation and to be given a little pat on the back from time to time.  Even though I am very capable, and able, of doing everything for myself, does not mean that I do not want to receive some care and nurturing from others,

Validation is something we all seem to need, especially from our parents.  We want them to be proud of us, to be proud of our hard work and our achievements.  I’m sure that this goes back to when we as toddlers first learnt to stand up, when we took our first steps and when we learnt how to use the toilet.  Each new milestone was always seen as such a great achievement and rewarded with loud clapping and woop woop’s followed by ‘I am so proud of you, you are such a big boy / girl.’  When we grow up, we still seek this, not only from our parents, but from our spouses and children as well; to me it’s completely natural.

My mom was my champion and she used to refer to me as her pride and joy.  She was the person who was always at our sports events when we were kids, the person who sat by the radio 30 minutes before my first radio interview (in 1998) came on so as not to miss a single second.  She was always the person in the front row when I was doing a talk, the person who would come with me to see my children, her grandchildren, when they performed in their concerts at school.  The person who came to my children’s entrepreneur days and helped them to sell their wares, not too scared to stop people walking by and encouraging them to come in and take a look.  My mom was my champion, my biggest fan and my biggest supporter.  Since she left this world in 2000, not only did I feel like I lost my hero and my best friend, but I lost my champion.  That one person that on those dark lonely self-doubting entrepreneurial days would say, ‘keep going you are doing great.  Don’t listen to haters, don’t listen to doubters, listen to your voice, I am so proud of you, keep on going, follow your heart.’

Now that I no longer have my champion, my mentor, my supporter and encourager, my journey has felt harder, lonelier and more isolated than ever.  It has made me even stronger, but the stronger I get the more people seem to think I don’t need them, that I don’t need those little pats on the back, those words of encouragement, that little whisper that says, ‘keep going, you doing great, I love you and I am so proud of you.’

I end with this, don’t make assumptions about people.  Don’t treat strong woman differently to other women.  Often strong women are that way because they have had to overcome so much more, had many more challenges and struggles than anyone else.  These women too need nurturing, to be cared for, to be cherished, maybe even more than others.

5 thoughts on “Who is Your Champion, do you have one, do you need one?

  • Sounds like you have a great mother Deborah, and you must review all your memories of her fondly. As for strong women, I’m not so sure that we are strong. I think we’re just women, and because we don’t conform to the stereotypical view of a weak, sobbing woman, we must be different some how. Perhaps we are, perhaps we’re not, but I liken us to the saying – women are like teabags you don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water. Perhaps some women have been lucky enough to avoid the hot water?

  • Hear Hear. Your last paragraph nails it. So well done, you’re doing great and keep going. Loving all these posts!

  • I think it can work the other way too. I had the opposite sort of Mother who was no champion at all but a detractor and critic but I also grew up to be described as a ‘strong’ woman. Eventually I learned that ‘strong’ for me = emotionally unintelligent. Unable to ask for help, unable to show vulnerability, whilst still being sensitive and empathetic. I’ve worked on that over the years but it’s still not easy or natural for me. So I have learned to make do with my own pats on the back and be comfortable that as long as I am happy with the contribution I have made, I will be enough.

  • Thank you for your comments Sarah, although I don’t see it the same way you do. I am strong and I am also someone who wears her emotions on her sleeve, I cry, sometimes I sob. Strong women are women who are leaders, they that take charge, they act in spite of how they are feeling inside and in spite of what the world throws at them. We don’t give up, we overcome, we don’t relent. And because of the way we handle life and ourselves, it appears that we have all our ‘s*%t’ together and therefore we don’t need the softer squishier stuff like others do.

  • I’m seen as a strong women, but most of my problems are that I don’t ask for help. That could be from childhood and having to learn to stand on my own two feet from an early age.

    Friends and family know what a softie I am and my mum is my champion, so I feel your pain. I’ve told her she is never allowed to leave me.

    Recently I have been learning that I cannot do everything myself. It has taken a lot of time and effort to open my mouth and ask.

    Today is a great example of asking. I woke up and the world was spinning. The first thing I did was FB my neighbour to say, please can you check on me today (I live alone). Her husband helped me to wash the fox poo covered dogs that came home.

    I, for one, am learning that it’s ok to receive as well as give. When we do that, I think, we become stronger, but in a different way.

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