It’s been another rough day.
You’re tired, frustrated and stressed.
You go on Facebook, because you know you will find the inspirational words you need.
Your hardest time often lead to the greatest moments in your life.
Keep the faith – it will be worth it in the end.
You feel better.
You forget about work and all the things that went wrong. You know you are strong enough to deal with whatever they throw at you. You focus on how it will all be worth it in the end.
A few months go by. You have a new boss and he’s a real jerk. He makes you feel incompetent. One of your female colleagues is sucking up to him all the time and you know she is throwing you under the bus to him. You’re unhappy at work and all the negativity from work is making you feel bad about yourself.
That night while on Facebook, you see another inspirational message that makes you put it all in perspective.
Don’t rely on other people for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. Accept who you are – the good and the bad and make the changes in yourself YOU want to make. Don’t change who you are based on who others want you to be.
You feel better.
More time goes by and work is bearable. You’ve gotten use to your boss and his quirks. You’ve worked out a relationship with him that isn’t great but it is manageable.
You know you aren’t really happy. You want more but can’t seem to find the motivation, time or energy to make any changes.
Then once again on Facebook you see another inspirational message.
The people who find happiness are the ones who don’t make excuses.
If something is broken, they fix it.
If something is wrong, they make it right.
You want to find happiness. You don’t feel like you are making excuses. It just seems like things aren’t broken yet. They aren’t quite bad enough to warrant making a big change.
Time passes. There are ups and downs. Through it all you stay where you are. Never quite miserable but never quite happy either. You feel stuck.
You wonder why you can’t move forward. What’s holding you back?
The answer may be surprising.
It may be all those inspirational messages you’ve been reading. They may be inspiring you stay exactly where you are.
It’s not. It’s partly due to how women are wired and partly due to what we are taught.
Women are different from men. When we are under stress we don’t fight or take flight. We tend and befriend. We talk to a friend, air our grievances, vent, bitch, etc. Once we get it out, we feel so much better. We can go on.
I call this Stress Endurance.
Our Stress Endurance allows us to hang in there and deal with it. Any woman who has given birth, raised children or taken care of a dying parent knows what I am talking about. We are designed to cope. Mankind has always relied on our incredible ability to cope.
While this makes us incredibly strong, it also has a downside – especially when others know how to use it against us.
Other people, our workplaces, media and society all know that if they can pacify women, we won’t demand change. We will stay put.
While I was aware of this for many years it wasn’t until I took a marketing course that I learned just how much it is used against us. Media plays on our feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and vulnerabilities. It knows that when we feel bad, we want to tend and befriend.
In response it offers us all kinds of “friends.” They come in many forms, from words to a wide assortment of products all designed to make us feel better.
Once we feel better there is no need to change the situation.
But eventually something else happens and we need to tend and befriend again. We go back to our “friends.” And the cycle repeats and repeats and repeats.
What our “friends” won’t ever tell us is how to stop the cycle by fixing what is wrong. But then why would they? If we didn’t feel bad, we wouldn’t need them. It is in their best interest to keep the cycle going so we keep going back to them – reading the words, buying the products.
Even worse, we are told we are powerless to fix what is wrong or to change what is broken. We have to wait for others to take action and change things because we aren’t empowered. This gives us permission to accept the status quo and to keep using our “friends” to do nothing more than cope.
I consider this one of the greatest hoaxes being played on women today. It is 21st century oppression. Our understanding, empathy and good feelings are being used and manipulated to hold us back.
As women, we have to train ourselves to become consciously aware of this phenomenon. We have to see past feeling good. We have to look into what caused the situation and what we can do to change it. Only then can we break this cycle of being used.
The truth is our stress endurance doesn’t exist just so we can endure a bad situation because we are too weak to do anything about it. It exists so we have the strength, fortitude and endurance to do something about it and to keep going to see it through to the very end.
So, if something isn’t working, we fix it.
If it’s wrong, we make it right.
We don’t just cope. We change the situation.
Empowered Women Get Inspired to Act
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