Women tend to always do things they don’t want to do because they don’t want to seem unkind. They want to be labeled as being nice. They take comments from others, food orders that are less than satisfactory, to treatment from their partners that is below their standards. How do we stop reacting in this way? How do we stop what society has placed on us?
Generally when a man is assertive in conversation they are showing leadership. When they behave in a way that is unflattering or boisterous the behavior is dismissed within a short time. If men don’t show up for an event or appointment they are considered busy or it’s allowed because they are men. We can’t blame men for how they are acting. They are acting the way society told them to.
Women on the other hand are judged as being witches, nasty or obnoxious. We will be given the label of being unfriendly or not true friends when we miss an invite. Why is that?
Women were brought up to always be nice. “Sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what little girls are made of.” Sound familiar? This rhyme has been around since the 1800’s and still around today. Of course it’s always nice to be nice. We all should try to be a little nicer these days, but we don’t have to take treatment less than fair while we’re doing it.
It was considered unruly to make waves or get out of control as little girls. This in turn created a lot of women without a voice. Men were expected to be a little wild and extreme (frogs and snails and puppy dog tails…).When we take all the criteria for being a woman it’s no wonder we get a little frustrated. How can we be ourselves if we are always trying to fit the mold we were told was us? When we give ourselves permission, without guilt, to speak our minds and stand up for ourselves we will begin to lead a fuller life. We will understand how freeing it is to do what we think is the best for us when controversy arises.
So we wanted our steak medium rare and it showed up well-done. Why should we be expected to eat it when we are paying for the meal? We have a great idea at the monthly coworker meeting and are full of passion to share it, but we’re afraid what others might think of us. Or we need a little down time because we’ve worked sixty hours that week and just don’t have it in us to make that appointment on Sunday afternoon. Will the world stop? No it won’t.
Asking for what we want or need does not have to be a battle. It’s doesn’t mean we are mean. We don’t have to be nasty in our requests…just assertive. Kindness can still be generated in these types of situations.
An example of this is one of mine. Years ago I went to dinner on a date with someone I had been seeing for a month or two. He was combative in nature, which I started to figure out, because everything had to be a conversation. He was nice and showed gentleman qualities, but he enjoyed a good debate.
We were sitting at a table which was quite a distance from the service area. She asked if we needed a refill, he said yes and I said no. By the time she came back with his I realized I really did need a refill. I said “I’m sorry but I do need something to drink.” She was fine and went on her way. He said “Why are you apologizing, that is her job.” I commented “She went out of her way for me and I wanted to apologize for not asking beforehand.” This became a conversation for the next ten minutes.
What is the big deal about apologizing for having someone go out of their way for you? I used to serve customers in the past and understood how it could be a tad annoying when a group made constant requests sending me back and forth multiple times. I still asked for what I wanted, and got what I wanted, but with consideration of her service. I was being nice and assertive. Personally, I see nothing wrong with showing a little consideration to someone else. It was then that I realized I didn’t need to be involved with someone that had issue with such a simple thing. He lost both ways. He didn’t like that I wouldn’t argue the point and soon after he lost me.
The biggest lesson for women is to stop feeling guilty for getting what you want out of life. We tend to feel so guilty when we stand up for ourselves. We will beat ourselves up for something we said, did or didn’t do for quite some time after an event. Yes, maybe someone was inconvenienced or didn’t get what they wanted, but we did. This in no way means we don’t do nice things for others. It simply means we have to think of ourselves too.
Women need to start feeling the need to get what we want. Life will change the day we allow ourselves to give to ourselves without the feeling of guilt. It will feel very awkward at first, for you and perhaps them, but we will begin to see it for what it is and we’ll look forward to the next time we have the opportunity to give to ourselves without guilt. It truly is empowering.