Having been raised by a single mother, I know a powerful woman when I see her. She’s educated and professional, beautiful and witty, but will also not take shit from anyone who stands in her way. (They are the Jessica Lange’s and Angelina Jolie’s of my life if you will).
Throughout my life, I have been honored to know many women who fit the bill of this description. They have bestowed their wisdom upon me, and have therefore granted me a life of success and endless potential. As I now enter the next chapter of life, a soon to be college graduate, I hope to one day be half as courageous, and a quarter as inspiring to other young women, as they have all been to me.
These are their lessons:
1. You don’t always have to “act like a lady”
Now this is not to say you shouldn’t cross your legs and say “excuse me”, however the notion of “acting ladylike” goes back hundreds of years and at the end of the day it really hasn’t really gotten us very far. You do not need to “settle down”, you do not need to have kids by a certain age, and you damn sure do not need a significant other to depend on if you don’t want one.
2. Speak your mind
This goes hand in hand with number one. If there’s one thing the powerful women in my life have taught me, it is that keeping your mouth shut doesn’t get you anywhere. If you have a thought, or wish to express your feelings, do it. Back up your words with cold hard facts, and prove anyone wrong who stands in your way. You should never feel pressure to sit back in silence while others discuss a topic, if you have an input, share it.
3. Ask for help
If you need it don’t be too full of pride to ask. Sometimes we need some extra helping hands and it’s perfectly okay to ask for them.
4. Don’t let a man dictate your decisions
It doesn’t matter if he’s your boyfriend, your fiancé, or you’ve been married for 15+ years, no man should make decisions for you. The powerful women in my life have taught me to never depend on anyone, and to take pride in knowing that you can be successful on your own
5. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes
The powerful women of my life have taught me to worry about myself, to ensure that my own needs are met and that I haven’t given anything up that I truly want. Sometimes you have to worry about yourself in order to be truly be there for others.
6. Have safe sex
Every powerful woman I have ever known, no matter her age, has taught me this lesson. You are, and always will be in control of your own vagina. Now this isn’t to say you shouldn’t go out and have fun, because you should. If you don’t know the guy, use a condom. But what if you’ve known him your entire life? Guess what? Use a damn condom. If you don’t want kids, use proper birth control. “Accidentally” getting pregnant isn’t something that usually ends up being easy, and STD’s are no fun for anyone. Plan accordingly.
7. Take care of your body
Go to the gym, eat healthy, don’t drink too much, don’t use illicit drugs, and wash your makeup off before you go to sleep, end of story.
8. Forgive, but don’t forget
If there’s one thing the powerful women in my life have all tried to teach me it’s that it’s always better to find a place in your heart to forgive those who have done you wrong. Accept apologies as they come, but keep certain things in mind for next time.
9. Be proud of your accomplishments
Being a woman in today’s society is no easy task, whether you are a student, a mother, an employee, or a boss it is important to take pride in your work and to encourage others to do the same.
10. Drink wine out of a bottle, not a box
Because let’s be real, cheaper doesn’t ever mean better.