"And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong, and full of fire and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears." - Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony)
Whenever I think about what it means to be a strong woman, I think about all the strong women I am blessed to know in my life. From my mom to some of the amazing women that I coach in the School of Self-Image, I've grown and become stronger as a result of being around them.
Despite their fears or challenges, these women have courageously pushed forward, doing whatever needs to be done and having faith in themselves.
By embracing our feminine power as potent in its own right, we can use it with genuine assurance and determination, drawing upon it when we are in fear, feel powerless, or are challenged.
Strong Women Understand That Fear is Only an Emotion
We generally associate fear with things like concern for our loved ones, flying, traumatic events, creepy-crawly things, or heights.
But sometimes, fear is far more subtle than that, and we may not even recognize that fear is what we are experiencing.
We fear change, success, failure, or our imagined shortcomings.
We fear letting go of behaviors that may give us temporary comfort but ultimately don't serve us and may even be hurting us: excessive alcohol consumption, shopping, overeating, or controlling others.
And, those existential things we fear often come with a tremendous amount of pain.
A friend once said to me, "When your pain gets bigger than your fear, then you'll access the strength that exists inside of you to do the work to grow. Fear is normal. Sometimes it's even healthy; we all have it. And, being afraid doesn't negate the fact that you are strong and courageous."
Most of us are familiar with that kind of pain.
- The pain of accepting the status quo rather than embracing the joy and challenge of creating the life we want
- The pain of struggling day after day to get what we want and never quite making it
- The pain of feeling less than or not good enough
- The pain of feeling invisible, unheard, disregarded or patronized
- The pain of discovering that somewhere along the line, we lost ourselves and became someone others wanted or needed us to be
We've all been there. Most of us can relate.
And, time and time again, I've seen beautiful, strong women (including myself) overcome their fear to conquer their pain to embrace their potential.
A Strong Woman Knows She Can Do Anything
"The question isn't who's going to let me; it's who's going to stop me." – Ayn Rand.
Her attitude is, "Bring it. I was made for This."
She never shies away from a challenge, despite how scary or overwhelming it may feel at first. She knows she's got it; that "everything is figureoutable," as Marie Forleo would say.
She listens to her highest self, and she believes that she can.
She doesn't need to step into an aggressive role or be churlish to be effective – she is calm, collected, and most importantly, confident that her wisdom and conviction will truly demonstrate the depth of her strength.
Strong Women Live Audaciously
"I figure, if a girl wants to be a legend, she should go ahead and be one." – Calamity Jane.
It takes a certain amount of audacity to claim your life for your own.
You must have the courage and tenacity to step outside of expectation and live life on your own terms.
Strong women dream big, set extraordinary goals, and go for them with enthusiasm.
Never censor yourself; let it all come to the surface. Examine your life from every angle and make it worth living.
I realized a long time ago that I'm not willing to live a dull, expected life – that's not what I want for myself. I want to surprise myself continually. I also want to delight in myself and my audacity to claim the life I deserve.
Living audaciously requires that I be willing to step out of my comfort zone. I like to think of audacity and courage as going hand in hand. That's because everything we want requires that we be bold and willing to take risks.
Strong Women Are The Heroines Of Their Lives
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." – Nora Ephron.
Never a victim, always a volunteer, strong women don't whine, complain, or wallow in self-pity.
They step up. They look for a solution.
They ask for what they want and are grateful for what they get.
They celebrate the "nos' in their lives, understanding that soul-gifts often come with them; they see problems as possibilities and obstacles as opportunities.
Strong women ask for help when they need it, understanding that needing and asking for help doesn't equate to weakness.
Finally, they don't wait around for others to save them. They save themselves.
A Strong Woman Knows Who She Is And She Is Unapologetic
"Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else." – Judy Garland.
There are a few core principles to showing up unapologetically authentic – and a strong woman lives by them.
- She is not consumed with worry about what others think of her
- She knows who she is, and her values, beliefs, mindset, and behavior are in line with that.
- She may have learned the hard way, but she has learned that people-pleasing doesn't serve her – or anyone else for that matter.
- She understands that each of us is spectacularly unique, and she embraces her distinctive style, never trying to imitate that of another.
- She understands that others don't spend nearly as much time thinking about her as she might imagine.
Strong Women Appreciate Failure and The Gifts it Can Bring
"Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness." – Oprah Winfrey.
A strong woman understands that failure is inevitable, and so she uses it wisely.
She goes for the thing; she does all the work, she gives it her all.
She doesn't hesitate, procrastinate, or make excuses for not getting started because she fears failure. Instead, she hopes that if she does fail, she'll fail fast so that she can pick herself up, gather the lessons that are there for the taking, and move on.
Strong women understand that a new door opens with every failure, and she is grateful for it.
There Is Tremendous Elegance in the Strength of a Woman
As little girls, many of us were given messages about what elegance looks like. An elegant woman should be soft-spoken, kind, yielding, helpful, and self-sacrificing, they said.
They meant well, sure; and, they couldn’t have been more wrong or misguided. Who can blame them, though? After all, those were the same messages they received.
Today we know that strong women are kind and helpful, sure – but not to their own detriment. They are soft-spoken, yes – but in an assured, self-confident way – never meek or unheard.
Strong women are a force to be reckoned with, admired, and celebrated.
Strong women are, in fact, the epitome of elegance.
The Self-Image Manifesto
You’re Invited To Live An Extraordinary Life!
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