Society has given us a map, a rulebook, guidelines in order to be validated as a woman. Social media has become a platform for all types of opinions regarding what it means to be female.
Well-meaning people offer contradicting and unwarranted advice on how a woman should live her life. Go to college; get a degree; don’t get married too young. Take your time. Oh, you’re thirty? Hurry up. Your biological clock is ticking. If you want to have kids, you need to get started. You know, it is possible to gain too much weight when you’re pregnant. You should stay home with kids. You’re not going back to work?
Do we even need to mention the hardest part about being a woman? The need to be sexy. To wear makeup but look natural. To be active but somehow look good sweaty. An study from Psychology Today found that women are not only more likely to develop depression than men, but also develop depression earlier in life. A huge cause is body dissatisfaction, which only seems to grow as we get older. By age 34, you should be a size two mom making six-figures and maintaining a blog on the side… for fun.
The truth is those things aren’t essential to live a meaningful life and perhaps they aren’t even things you want. There are other things I want to be. I want to be an honest woman, a forgiving woman, to love others well, to be a light, to be an encourager, to be a safe place, to be healthy, to be proud of my body. I want to be a real and authentic person. I want to foster community. I want to live a life of grace. I want to be a person who is going somewhere. A person who is helping someone else. I want to be myself.
What if our goals were in line with deeper values rather than other people’s expectations? What if our self worth had more to do with our character rather than our waist size. Release yourself from the pressures of having the perfect body and having your life completely put together. Fulfillment comes now. Happiness is experienced today by focusing on the things that actually matter. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the world’s expectations and forget to live the dream inside your heart.
Being a woman isn’t about being what others think we should be – it’s about having the confidence to do the things we truly want to do and finding joy in it. Don’t let fear, insecurities, or the social status quo define what success truly means to you, as you may find yourself walking a path and living a life that was never designed for the mold of your soul. Find your true North.
Words by Christina Forêt Heaston
Featured image by Michelle Troop of Le Photogenic // @_michelle__troop_