So here is the thing about good women. We tend to put others before ourselves. We care about other’s physical and emotional well-being, and so we care about their feelings, and not hurting their feelings. We love with reckless abandon to our own needs. This can be a powerful force for good. Yet it leaves us open to being taken for granted and taken advantage of, particularly by persons (often men if I’m being honest) who are on the extreme of the spectrum of not caring about anyone’s feelings but their own.
If you are a mother, professional woman, working woman, stay-at home mom woman, partner woman, volunteering while managing family woman, care giving woman, single mom woman, any type of woman who passionately puts her all into everything she takes on: this is for you. I’ve had a rough last few years. I am a physician and a mom and a wife. I know what it’s like to give too much of yourself until nothing is left of you but dust. The below tips are how I learned to rise from the ash of too much self sacrifice (there is such a thing for sure). Happy Valentine’s Day, I’m spreading the LOVE.
1). DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH ADULTS WHO ARE BEHAVING OR ARE KNOWN TO BEHAVE LIKE TODDLERS.
The above schematic I drew pretty much sums this up. There are adults out there who are incapable of seeing past their own feelings, issues, and immediate desires. They’ve gotten through life being catered to constantly. They don’t get their way and they have a tantrum of sorts, and just like a toddler having a tantrum whose mother just wants to keep the peace in public, everyone around just gives in to their whims. Those are people to avoid any type of real negotiation. Or if a decision must be made with them, don’t negotiate. Know your leverage and state your position and stick to your guns. It’s literally not worth your time and you will be duped. They aren’t capable of real compromise, so don’t try.
2). NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR BEING SMART OR RIGHT.
It doesn’t matter if your brains and contribution offends the oversized ego of someone else who wants to make you feel bad because your brilliance wasn’t their own. Do not apologize for it. Just Don’t (it’s just as simple as “Just do it”). Admittedly in our passion and desire to share own knowledge or well thought out idea for the betterment of everyone, we may use a pressured tone that offends someone. If this happens, it’s reasonable to say something like, “I am sorry if my tone hurt your feelings, I’ll work on communicating my points in a more neutral way.” But do not, absolutely do not apologize for whatever it is you were right about, nor for being smarter than someone else, ever. Their fragile ego is their problem, not yours. Don’t apologize for being you, or for things you have absolutely no responsibility for.
3). DO NOT DO THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO.
This takes some serious introspection. Why? Well, I personally like doing things for those I love and care about. But I don’t like being taken for granted. It’s an evasive balance to find. Women in general need to start more readily asking “what’s in it for me other than just taking care of people I love?” For example, your partner wants to take a family vacation but historically you are the only one that packs, manages logistics and essentially just does more work on vacation because you’re still caring for everyone else before yourself but now far from home and your usual coping resources. Do you really want family vacation time and are inclined to avoid it knowing you won’t get any vacation for you time? Well, rather than avoid it, just make clear that your spouse will have to pick up some slack, share some of the burdens, and make time for you to get whatever you need. That sounds like something you now may actually want to do.
Or what about the workplace? No doubt it feels good when your boss asks you to do more because they know you are capable. But do you really want to do more work essentially for free. Do you want to give up family time, or hobby time, or whatever without any form of compensation? I doubt it. You don’t have to say no, but I bet you don’t want to be taken for granted. So don’t let anyone take you for granted. Do not work beyond your initial job description/contract without something more than pleasantries and kudos in return. Don’t do shit you don’t really want to do, even if it will please someone you care about. If you are the caregiver of people then it’s fair to say that if you aren’t happy then no one (you care for) is happy either.
4). DO NOT FEEL BAD/GUILTY IF YOU HAVE BEEN WRONGED AND YOUR RIGHTEOUS ANGER/RAGE COMES OUT.
Still, in 2018, women are shamed for having feelings, emotions, and frankly, at times, just existing. It’s a tactic misogynists use to make us feel constantly in the wrong and to get away with their abuses of power. So, if you’ve been lied to, cheated on, repeatedly disrespected and finally allow yourself to feel it and express it, do not let someone make you feel guilty about said expression of righteous anger and rage. If people don’t want to experience the manifestation of anger of a good woman, then they should stop doing things they know will piss her off (like lying, not following through on promises and commitments, cheating, abusing, hurting those she cares about, etc).
For this Valentine’s Day, good women, learn to love and put yourself first, just a bit more than you already do, and the world and you will be better for it.