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.