The ‘Strong Independent Woman’ idea has been coming up a lot lately in my life, so hopefully this will pertain to you too. (And if you're a man reading this, it totally applies to men as well so just substitute him for her and man for woman as you see fit.)
Once upon a time, when the world was more about survival, people looked up to the strong independent woman as a fortress of consistency. She didn’t crack. She would give of herself completely, no matter what. She didn’t need help. She could get through it all herself. W.O.W. Don’t you want to be just like her?
I hope not, because the strong independent woman is a myth. What I’ve learned, from personal experience and from working with my clients is that the strong independent woman is really just a sad and lonely woman.
Common Experiences of the ‘Strong Independent Woman’
She doesn’t know how to ask for help, or when it’s offered, she doesn’t know how to receive it.
She feels guilty a lot of the time. She may even be so used to the guilt that she carries it around like a backpack full of bricks that she doesn’t even notice anymore.
She’s pretty sure she needs to take care of everything because no one else can do it as well as her.
She keeps most or all of her emotions inside, stuffing them down and as a result, her body has to give her clues that her strategy isn’t working out so well. She suffers from physical pain, chronic issues or mounting health concerns as all the unintegrated emotions pile up as blocked energy on the inside.
She’s often in overwhelm.
She believes that most or all of her thoughts are true. For example, I was just speaking with a lovely woman about the Inbox Clearing and Unsubscribing Extravaganza. She said, “My inbox is so full, and I always have plans to clear it out but I don’t. I saw your event, and I thought, “That’s great, but I’m sure I can do it on my own.” We talked about looking at the evidence. Her ego was trying to trick her into remaining ‘strong and independent’, when in reality, the evidence was that her inbox was overflowing and will likely stay the same unless she makes a new choice. (Hint: that choice would involve doing the opposite of what her ego was telling her.)
She gives from a place of bitterness or resentment and wonders when the heck it’s going to be her turn; when is someone going to take care of her for a change?!?
If this sounds like someone you know (maybe you?), then here’s the question to ask her (or yourself).
Is it sustainable to remain stuck in this old paradigm?
The old paradigm had its origins in ideas like:
It all stemmed from competition.
The new paradigm is all about collaboration. It’s more about:
That’s some good food for thought, don’t you think?
If you (or someone you know) is keen on making the shift to the new paradigm, here’s the inspired action to take this week.
Step 1: get curious; are you trying to project an air of the ‘strong independent woman’ (or man)?
Step 2: ask yourself: what’s one thing you can do to show up differently this week so that you can align more with collaboration than competition? Make a list of ideas.
Step 3: Choose one of your ideas and do it, even if (especially if) it’s uncomfortable. Maybe you ask for help. Maybe you receive help that’s being offered, even though your mind says you don’t need it. Maybe you delegate something even though you know you can do it better. Maybe you do something in community that you’re used to doing alone. Maybe you share how you’re really feeling with a trusted someone.
Step 4: Celebrate your inspired action. You are an amazing person who is growing and expanding. Do a little dance. Give yourself a pat on the back or a ‘Yay Me!’ Give an enthusiastic fist pump. Thrust your hands in the air and make the V for Victory sign with your fingers. The celebration doesn’t have to be big or fancy. It just needs to feel great and hopefully put a smile on your face.
My vision is that someday soon, we will be celebrating the ‘Connected and Contented Woman’ rather than the Strong Independent one. I hope you’ll join me in the new paradigm.
With united love and gratifying courage,
*Creator of Courageous Self-Care
*Former ‘Strong Independent Woman’
*Frequent celebrator using enthusiastic Yay Me’s!
PS - We just had our first Inbox Clearing and Unsubscribing Extravaganza, even though we had a flood in our building just an hour before go-time. All got sorted out and I cleared out over 1400 emails. It felt amazing (of course, I did a celebration dance). There are two more times scheduled this month and if your inbox needs some undivided attention, please join us. There’s even a 50/50 draw to make it extra fun. Click here for all the details and dates.