Full disclosure: I stole the above title from something else I have seen today (and actually got it wrong….. anyway moving on). It’s the title of this post because it reminded me that I am fierce. Well, some days. Other days I am petty, jealous, mean spirted and I have in my life done or said things that I am not proud of, dare I even say ashamed. For balance I will also say that I can be generous, funny, caring, warm and honestly just awesome but this is about the not so “I’m killing it” days.
I have been the mean girl and put others down, to their face in a “funny” way and behind peoples backs. I haven’t always been the best version of myself not by a long shot. Can I think of reasons I behaved in these ways? Yes, and there are many factors that contributed to previous past behaviour but make no mistake, I chose to behave that way. I didn’t always take the high road and some days it was because I was hurting, someone days it was probably just to feel extra good about myself. Spoiler though: it’s not really a feel good moment as it damaging and hurtful to, not only the person it is directed at, but ultimately to yourself as well. Also never underestimate my desire to be right and to want others to agree with me.
It used to be the general unacknowledged consensus that putting others down is the way to make yourself feel better, gossip and comparisons were expected of women, that is what we did with our lives. It’s how we knew we were better than others and how we used to justify our existence, well in the context of what was expected and the male point of view. It gets ingrained so young without realising and it is quite scary, from the rather innocuous “you should be grateful as others don’t have what you have” to the nastier “at least you don’t look like THAT”. This is true for all but it is so much more prevalent and expected by and for women. It’s a way of life, and its been accepted and applauded! Just think about the brutally honest people who are so proud of their “some people love me others hate me” idealised version of themselves. I used to be in this category at times, and when in the wrong mood I could just be mean and I and others excused it as the bullshit that is brutal honesty and that was accepted! Mental.
What I love about the generations that are following me (elder millennial here) is that you can feel things changing. Don’t get me wrong there’s still mean girls, but these things seem so much less expected of women now. The tide is turning and I see it in the children and young people I have the pleasure of being around. Maybe it’s due to the generation that are raising these next set of humans, these women that were brought up to be competitive and mean in oh so subtle ways, who are often ashamed of who we have been and sometimes who we are and are determined to make better humans.
That’s certainly true for me. I am raising my daughter and my son to be better people then I am because honestly, sometimes I am still oh so petty and I still have a vindictive thoughts every now and then. I have just learnt to stop and reassess where my mind goes before it comes out of my brain – well sometimes.
What made me realise I wanted and needed to change my thoughts and be more conscious of the what I inflicted on the world? It was a slow process that is summed up in the below three little gems I collected along the way:
1. Likely mis quoted and I think this was from a meme of a tumbler post I saw on Facebook (yes I know how that sounds) which I tried to find but have long since lost:
Your first thought is what society has programmed you to think, your second thought is what you really think.
I think the example in the post was about judging what someone was wearing nastily at first and then in the second thought thinking “hell you look great you wear what you want”
2. From a management course I attended, what feels like a lifetime ago:
You can only control what is in your sphere of control. Other people and their actions are not yours to control. You can only control how you react and your behaviour.
3. From Kristen Bell’s Therapist: Honesty without tact is Cruelty.
Mind blown. As ridiculous as it may sound, remembering and thinking about the above three things has genuinely made me a better person. I also would like to give an honourable mention to the people in my life who I can be truly honest and open with – bad thoughts and all without judgement. Having the ability to say these things out loud is so liberating and helped me see the destructive thought patterns so much clearer.
Every day I work on who I want to be as a person. I know who I can become when I am feeling low, angry at something or even just disappointed in myself and need a quick “feel good” fix. I am learning to be a better person for the littles I am raising. They will see me fail, they will likely see the worst parts of me but what they will also see is me being sorry, me accepting and owning my mistakes, me taking responsibility for my actions and me trying everyday to be better.
So all this was inspired by International Women’s Day and with that in mind, to the women out there: may you be you, in the best way you can be. Even when you don’t feel strong or fierce remember strength comes in many different forms so never discount yourself. You are always stronger then you think and you are always stronger then those people who want to tear you down will let you believe. Honestly fuck them, you do you.