As women, at some time or other, it is possible that we may have felt barriers put in our way as a result of our gender. To a greater or lesser extent, perhaps determined by our generation, we may have encountered challenges which we have associated with being born female. This could be explicit, in a comment, an insult or in a clear decision with a negative impact upon us. Or it could be less obvious – perhaps the way that someone’s eyes dance over ours to engage with a male colleague instead. Judgements upon us based around our gender are demoralising, infuriating and hurtful.
But sometimes the biggest barriers we face as women are the ones we construct ourselves. These are the self-limiting beliefs, the thinking errors which take root inside us until they engulf us, often leaving us stuck. These thoughts, these perceptions of ourselves can often render us unable to move forward, to do the things we want to do, to follow the ambitions which burn inside us. I’m not good enough. Everyone else is better than me. I can’t do it. These are the unspoken words which bind us, keeping us trapped and immobile. Sometimes these beliefs have been generated by others; a throwaway remark that I’m no good at maths has meant that for over twenty years I’ve approached anything vaguely numerical with trepidation and apology. Or it could be simply the result of our own internal thinking processes which have taken the initial bud of an idea and nurtured and developed it until it has taken firm root within us.
We will all have our own ways of managing those pesky troublesome thoughts, those beliefs about ourselves. This may not always be easy, given that some of these thoughts might have prospered within us for some time. We might question those thoughts when they echo in our minds, test their veracity. I’m not good enough. But what makes me believe that? We may also remind ourselves of our qualities, our achievements, the things that we do that make us proud, those aspects that show our true nature. Writing these down can provide a wealth of positivity which we can refer to time and time again, especially when we are consumed with self-doubt. We might try talking about our thoughts, through coaching, for example, which can provide an empowering route to freedom from self-limiting ideas. Or we could look for the good in other ways – every time we criticise ourselves we could respond to those annoying misconceptions with a plethora of upbeat facts about ourselves which we know to be true.
But as women, one thing we can all do to help each other is roar for each other. Become cheerleaders for other women. Celebrate each other, compliment each other, point out each other’s qualities, highlight each other’s amazing characteristics which make us who we are. We don’t know what other women are feeling, what they are experiencing at any given time, but it is possible that behind that seemingly confident smile is the lingering cloud of self-doubt, casting an unwelcome shadow. So as women, we need to lift each other up.
It might be that, at times, we have felt our own light dim in the shadow cast by another woman’s achievements, we might have felt as though we are in competition. But we’re not. We are all in this together, this life, this world. So let’s support each other on the journey. We should champion each other, and keep reminding other women how great they are, tackling those internal self-limiting beliefs head on.
By doing this, by sharing this positivity, by supporting each other, not only are we empowering other women to believe in themselves, we will also feel good about ourselves, knowing that we are making a difference to someone’s esteem. Which is perhaps one of the most incredible gifts we can bestow upon another human being.
And all you amazing, incredible, unique beautiful, interesting, and fabulous women – you are more than enough. You already have everything inside you to be who you want to be, to do what you want to do. You are more than enough. And you always have been.