Remember the woman you bumped into on the sidewalk? The one who apologized to YOU instead of waiting for your apology? That’s me. I’m that woman.
I’m also the woman who would not accept the compliment you tried to pay her. And the woman who is afraid of coming off as aggressive in business meetings. Not to mention the woman who feels like she has to say she’s sorry for basically existing in your world.
The women of our generation are liberated and powerful. We are educated and successful. We’re badass!
Yet many of us are constantly afraid of offending others.
According to Tara Mohr, the author of "10 Rules For Brilliant Women," that’s something that needs to end now. “We are subtly undermining ourselves with [our] words. As a result, our ideas aren’t having the impact they could,” she writes.
As a start, here are eight phrases women (including and especially myself) need to stop using.
When someone tries to compliment a woman’s hair or outfit, she’ll likely be met with one of two response types: a return compliment or a total denial. As women, we are automatically worried that accepting a compliment will come off as vapid or self-involved.
We have to stop equating graciousness with vanity — they are not the same thing. If someone wants to compliment us, we should say “thank you” and move on.
“Does that make sense?”
Women seem to have a hard time believing that we make sense. It’s been pounded into our brains that we ramble aimlessly, so we need to confirm at the end of our statements that we’ve been logical.
But even if we didn’t make sense, who cares? We should rely on the people we’re conversing with to tell us if we’re meandering, not assume it is so.
Think of the word “just” as an abbreviation for “justification.” Every time we use that word, it’s as if we’re trying to justify what follows it in a sentence.
We don’t need to justify every word we utter. You aren’t “just saying” anything; you’re saying it. Embrace it and be unapologetic about your opinions.
“I worked out today, so I can eat this.”
Speaking of justifications, we don’t need to justify what we eat to ANYBODY.
Because the societal standard of beauty is extremely narrow (both in terms of metaphor and what body type is lauded), we feel like we need to constantly eat healthfully and work out multiple times each day.
Yet that sounds like an unrealistic bar to hold yourself to, doesn’t it? We don’t need to be healthy at all times, and in the times we aren’t, we definitely do not need to explain why.
“Can I pull this off?”
Once again, we’re propagating beauty standards and the idea that only a certain type of person can pull an outfit off.
That just isn’t true. We can pull off any outfit we want as long as we wear it with confidence. That’s where true beauty stems from.
I think we can all agree that the moment we say the word "fine" is the moment the people around us should know things are not fine.
When a significant other forgets a special occasion or when a restaurant screws up our order, we rush to dismiss our own feelings by uttering, "It's fine." But why? Our feelings are important enough to voice. If it's not fine, we should let people know.
“I’m really low maintenance.”
What do the phrases "low maintenance" and "high maintenance" really mean anyway? If you're low maintenance, does that mean you let things go? If you're high maintenance, does that mean you're "difficult"? Is it impossible for you to be both?
There aren't two types of girls. There aren’t even ten types of girls. We’re all totally unique, and people can’t compare us unless they know us. Let’s not feed into any theories to the contrary.
And now, for the grand finale: “I’m sorry.” Every phrase in this post has been leading to this collection of words.
Ladies, have you ever kept a log of the number of times you say “sorry” in one day? Try it. I bet you would be shocked by the total.
“Sorry” is our natural default. We women apologize for everything we do. Sometimes we apologize BEFORE we do things. But do we ask ourselves whether men also fear coming off as aggressive?
They don’t. The majority of men don’t live in a constant state of anxiety over whether they are “too bold.” If they have an opinion, they’re taught to speak their minds — a lesson we, too, should be following.
Every time a woman assumes a position of power, or shows that she can’t be placed inside a box of conventions, she smashes the glass ceiling. If our actions are progressive, why shouldn’t our language follow suit?
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