There’s plenty of lists floating around the internet explaining what life should look like for the modern 21st century woman. This guide for ‘How To Be A Woman’ will hopefully cut straight to the heart with some home truths about how to be a women today.
Below is a list of 45 points addressing some key issues; some that we have been burdened with since the dawn of time and others which have come about during this new age of technology and fight for equality.
These are only suggestions.
Take them as you will but know that we still unfortunately live in a time whereby we as women can easily feel shame if we break free from a mold designed from old, gender specific values.
The same is very much the same for men (but I feel less qualified to write that list due to the lack of penis).
The reason for ‘No Anxiety Required’?
Well, because quite frankly there are points addressed below that will still invoke anxiety in a lot of us. They may feel as though they go against the grain.
They may have us thinking, ‘No, I couldn’t possibly do that‘ or ‘How dare she say THIS‘ or ‘Well I disagree with that entirely‘.
If you disagree then that’s just gravy. That’s your prerogative and that’s why opinions are so beautiful.
But if you’re feeling one of the former then perhaps you still feel anxious about breaking out of the gender stereotype mold that we have been placed in all of this time.
Think about it.
To achieve some form of personal development we must embrace the elements of us that might cause us to feel shame and realize that a lot of this pressure we put on ourselves.
And any pressure we may feel from others are most likely coming from someone who does not deserve your time and attention.
Even now women feel the pressure to appear perfect in behaviour and aesthetics. We should keep quiet and keep our composure even in times of distress.
Likewise men still associate vulnerability and the expressing of emotions with weakness. If they aren’t able to provide for their families financially then they have failed or if they don’t have a high sex drive then they are somehow ‘less of a man‘.
Oh don’t you worry, in a lot of respects they’ve got it bad as well.
Brene Brown writes all about this in exquisite detail in here book ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead‘.
This book is truly eye opening and written with such clarity and resonance that as you make your way through it you cannot help but relate to situations, feelings and thoughts that you have experienced yourself.
Being a woman can be tough and so can being a man.
But I can only write about one. I expand on some points but not all, some need no explanation.
So, here is ‘How To Be A Woman (No Anxiety Required)’…
1. Be your own top priority, let everyone else take care of themselves.
It’s time to start being selfish and put yourself first, no-one else will. You need to be responsible for your own happiness so start taking action and put yourself first for once.
2. Wear make-up if it makes you feel good. Don’t wear it for anyone else’s sake.
If it feels good for you, do it. If you feel like you SHOULD because the world has told you that women without make-up are ‘ugly’ or ‘undesirable’ then stop right there. Just because they have been brainwashed into this way of thinking does not mean you should suffer because of it.
Wear it. Don’t wear it. Do whatever feels good for you.
3. Have children or don’t have children. Whichever choice you make does not make you more or less of a woman.
I was once told that I was selfish for not wanting to have children. If you ever have an idiot telling you something similar, throw a dictionary at them and highlight the word SELFISH so they can learn what it actually means.
Not wanting children does not make you less of a woman. It makes you clear on what you want out of your life. THIS is what makes a strong woman.
4. Express your emotions, doing so does not make you ‘hysterical’.
5. Appreciate your body, it’s the only one you’ve got. Take care of it and show it kindness.
No more fat or skinny shaming of yourself or others please. Do what you need to do to be happy in your body but because it’s what YOU want, not what you’ve been told you SHOULD want. Above all treat it with love and kindness.
6. Recognize your strengths and be proud of them.
Celebrate your strengths, show them to the world and utilize them. Do not hide them, be ashamed of them or LOSE them through lack of use.
Showing your strengths to the world is not BRAGGING, so stop being polite about it and celebrate your strengths and qualities for all to see.
7. It’s not your job to be PERFECT. There’s no such thing so stop trying and just be the best you can be.
This is an old ideal. Perfectionism is what kills creativity, innovation and progress. ‘Perfect’ is an unattainable and non-existent goal. The sooner you embrace this, the better.
8. Be with someone who wants to see you succeed and pushes you to go further.
If you’re with someone who only wants you to be there as a support for them and their endevours then they are not the one for you. There is someone out there who will be your biggest fan so don’t settle for anything less.
9. On a date, be pleasantly surprised if they cover the bill but don’t EXPECT it.
Apparently this is some sort of subject for debate. Yes, the world has changed and while I will never claim to not grow extra fondness for the man who offers to pay the bill compared to the man that doesn’t, it should no longer be expected in my book (sorry).
Top tip for women – if you want equality then there are some areas like this where you’re going to lose out and that’s OK because you know, bigger picture.
However, this does not mean that it doesn’t say a lot about the man who is willing to get the bill. It makes us feel like we’re special, important and WORTH IT. But also might imply chivalry and an old school gentlemanly attitude. So either way just make a note and see if it implies anything about the person sitting opposite you.
But, it should still not be expected.
10. Appreciate your own opinion and those of people you value. Forget about everyone else.
11. You have a voice, use it.
12. Wear whatever makes you feel good on any given day, if that’s your slobs then, enjoy!
13. Don’t criticize or judge your fellow women because of jealousy over/to impress a man. EVER.
Camaraderie everybody. Let’s keep it respectful here.
14. Don’t allow social media to dictate your own views and opinions, you’re better than that.
Social media has influence over us in ways that we couldn’t even imagine. Take back control of your own mind and opinions and QUESTION the things that pop up on your screen.
Do not take everything at face value without further enquiry and do not be so quick to follow the trends and views of people who have the power of the limelight.
You have your own brain, use it.
15. Understand what your core values are and live by them, not by the values of others.
This is no easy task but often when we feel friction or dissatisfaction in life it is because we are not living in accordance with our values and beliefs.
It’s very easy to get swayed by others. Take the time to rediscover your own core values and take the steps to start living in accordance with them.
This way you might find it easier to understand what your purpose is in life and with this comes meaning and fulfillment.
16. Don’t seek validation for your opinions or choices, not everyone needs to agree with you.
Do you ever catch yourself doing this? You might say, ‘Do you know what I mean?’ or ‘Do you understand what I’m saying?’, ‘What do you think?’
Or you sit in a restaurant with friends and couldn’t possibly choose what you’ll have to drink before you know what everyone else is having. Time to make decisions without having to ‘check-in’ with anyone.
It is great form of empowerment and personal development to feel confident in your opinions and choices, especially for women.
17. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you. Cut out the toxic people ASAP.
CUT THEM OUT. What are you waiting for?
You will find new friends, you will meet a new partner and you only have to see that creepy uncle at Christmas at the very most. You are suffering unnecessarily by keeping these people in your lives.
It does not matter if your detachment temporarily hurts them, they will get over it and more importantly YOU will be in a better place within yourself. Again, see point number 1.
18. Do not stay in a bad relationship for fear of being on your own. You are strong, independent and doing yourself a disservice by staying with them.
The best thing you can do in this case is end it before it get’s too toxic. It’s a difficult thing to accept and no-one likes to break up but this is one of the most healthy relationship habits you could implement when it comes to a toxic relationship.
19. Do not stop chasing your purpose in life so someone else can chase theirs.
See point number 1.
It takes courage to go after your dreams and bravery to put your dreams before those of someone else, especially if it someone you love.
However, if you are with the right person then either neither of you should have to compromise your dreams or there will be a compromise that fits you both.
Do not do the polite thing and step aside at the detriment of your own happiness so that someone else can fulfill their purpose in life. Put yourself first and go after your own purpose in life.
20. You are so much more than anyone else gives you credit for, so give YOURSELF credit.
21. Don’t be ashamed to love SEX. It’s great and healthy for us.
Sex is so unbelievably beneficial for our health and well-being, strengthening our connections with our partners and even boosting our immune systems!
The times of being told that women thinking about or craving sex makes us a particular ‘type’ of woman are long gone. Sex is a natural act to crave because it makes us feel great and this is not limited to the likes of men.
Love sex and love that you love sex.
22. You’re not responsible for people’s perceptions of you, that’s their problem to deal with.
Allow yourself to let go of the weight that comes with worrying about what others think of you.
The strain we put ourselves under sometimes to behave or appear a certain way to appease the views of others only means that we are not living as our true authentic selves.
People will judge you but that is there problem to deal with.
Drop that burden and let them carry it.
23. Be willing to hurt people’s feelings – being honest will only strengthen your connection if they can take it for what it is.
24. When someone asks how you’re doing, answer them honestly. If they didn’t want to know the truth then they shouldn’t have asked.
How we love to say ‘Yeah, I’m fine’.
Stop saying I’m fine and tell them how you really feel. People ask questions out of social obligations because it is the done thing. What do I ask when I meet you in the office first thing in the morning? ‘Hey, how are you doing?’
But people ask this question on autopilot without any desire to know the honest answer and this should not be the case.
So, always answer truthfully and you will quickly learn who really cares about what you have to say.
25. Don’t put someone else down just to make yourself feel better. Find another way.
Building other people up is actually proven to help make ourselves feel better more than it would to put them down.
Much like helping someone else when they are struggling is a greater form of healing than someone helping us.
Putting others down to help ourselves feel better is a cheap, nasty trick and we’re better than that.
26. Stop wasting time on your phone or sitting in front of the TV – find what makes you feel alive and do it!
Your phone (or more broadly the internet and social media) is a huge source of anxiety and minimizing your interaction could go a long way to providing anxiety relief.
Likewise, the amount of time the average person spends on their phone in a day is SCARY. Think of the time you’re wasting. The opinions you aren’t forming, the skills you aren’t learning and the career you aren’t progressing.
Time to re-evaluate those priorities so you can live a life you can be excited about!
27. Recognize the times when it’s appropriate to make an effort and do so while remaining true to yourself.
‘But you said live as your true authentic self and my true authentic self wants to wear my slobs even to meet the in-laws for the first time.’
I understand you. But hear me when I say that there are times where it’s necessary for future progress in whatever area of your life to MAKE AN EFFORT. However, you do not have to disguise who you are when doing this.
If you’d never wear a red velvet, fishtail dress on the red carpet but you would happily wear a tailored suit then go ahead! It’s about recognizing when you should be making the effort (to help yourself not anyone else).
28. When meeting new people you are both ‘interviewing’ each other. The pressure isn’t only on you to make a good first impression.
Take the pressure off yourself when meeting new people by understanding that yes, you want to make a good first impression and want to come across well but that is NOT the only thing involved here…
It matters what you think as well so they are also there wanting to make a good first impressions. This is a two way street so don’t stand in the middle of the party feeling as though you’re the only one being judged.
Everyone is being judged.
29. Say ‘no’ to things. Lot’s of things.
Your life will be better for it and people don’t care that you’ve declined their offer half as much you think they will.
30. Only say yes to things that are a RESOUNDING yes, not a maybe.
Likewise if it is not a resounding YES then it’s a no.
You know in your gut if you really want to do something. It bursts out of you and you think ‘Hell YES I want to go!’ You wouldn’t care if you didn’t get paid, you wouldn’t care if you had to cancel other plans and you wouldn’t care that it would take you away from your family for a few nights.
You know when you really want to do something so save your YES’s for these times and everything else should be a no.
31. Don’t over-explain every decision or action you make.
People will ask if they need an explanation so stop justifying everything you say or do on the assumption that you have to.
Have faith in your decision making and if someone needs to know ‘why’ you made that choice then they can ask.
32. Life is too short for ‘cleaning’ to be your top priority.
33. When in doubt, always tell him how you feel.
34. Take pictures of moments you CHERISH, not bathroom selfies for your ‘insta’.
35. Ask more questions.
What comes from curiosity is knowledge and understanding.
The more questions you ask the better you know people (and yourself) and the better equipped you are to build rapport. Inter-personal skills are extremely underrated and in a world where people are not heard we have a tendency to talk the loudest and for the longest until someone listens.
Don’t be that person, ask the questions. See what you can learn.
36. Be your own fountain of knowledge.
Knowledge is power and knowledge is yours for the taking.
Read more, listen to podcasts, learn a new skill and grow your own fountain of knowledge. You do not need to rely on someone else to teach you or encourage you.
Read as much as you can every day – there is a world of knowledge at your disposal.
By doing this you’re taking the initiative to pave way to a life that is better suited to your ideals.
37. Take yourself on a date and eat out, alone.
Sit, watch and listen.
This is an empowering exercise. You do not need company but you do need to feel comfortable with your own company and be content to be seen alone in public.
If you have someone questioning or judging this then it says far more about their narrow mind than it does yours.
38. Find someone who is happy to be vulnerable with you in private.
We all have a multitude of different personas. Emma the girlfriend, Emma the daughter, Emma the friend, Emma the assistant, Emma the auntie, Emma the sister in-law etc…
And we show a different side of ourselves with each but it’s important to find yourself a partner who is willing to be vulnerable with you when you are alone together.
A partner that keeps up the facade even when everyone else has gone home will be difficult to truly connect with and understand.
39. Don’t be with someone who is incredibly handsome if it will make you feel like insecure.
We’d all love to have our own Hugh Jackman (my own personal preference) and whilst I will say that I’d hope you feel secure enough in yourself to feel worthy of such a beautiful human unfortunately, a lot of us carry many an insecurity surrounding our looks and outward appearance.
That being said, mitigate any relationship anxiety by only being with someone who you feel worthy of being with.
If you are with someone who is drop dead gorgeous and you don’t have the confidence in yourself to feel content with this then don’t go there in the first place.
40. Stop being polite but don’t be rude about it.
This is not black and white.
We have it ingrained into us (especially in Britain) that we must always be polite and unoffensive but just because you are not polite it does not make you rude. There is a middle ground.
And it’s called honesty.
Sometimes honesty can be harsh and seemingly impolite but does not make it rude. Sometimes it simply means asking for what you want or telling someone that they have made a mistake. It can be done with tact and care.
There’s no need to always be so polite but don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily make you rude.
41. Don’t try and argue about something you know nothing about.
Don’t be this person. Self-educate and have an informed debate about a topic you back up with facts and knowledge.
Being that person that argues about something they know nothing about is the WORST kind of person. You’re better than that.
42. No-one cares if your offended. Help yourself and get over it.
43. You are so much more than your emotional attachments.
Mother, sister, daughter, wife, teacher etc…
You can be all of these things and still have your own life, with dreams and goals. It’s all about how you manage them and prioritise them.
Don’t lose the essence of who you are as a person because of your emotional responsibilities and attachments.
44. Don’t think that all men want what a certain ‘type’ of man wants in a woman.
Don’t tar everyone with the same brush. Simple.
45. Acknowledge that you can achieve anything you want to achieve IF you’re willing to put the work in.
No-one will hand you what you want on a silver platter.
The world is at your disposal and you have the capabilities to go out there and achieve whatever successes are calling out for you.
Go get em!