Its a lazy Saturday morning and I picked up the Saturday papers to browse through. I really enjoy reading Wendy Tuohy’s column, always thought provoking and an interesting take on Life’s matters whether large or small… Todays article was on women and how self deprecating we can be, making ourselves smaller, not accepting compliments gracefully and the “Impostor syndrome”. She got me thinking…why is it as women, strong, intelligent, funny and able women as we are, we still so often, and quite unintentionally I might add, put ourselves down in often the littlest inconsequential ways.
I am aware I do it sometimes, perhaps when I feel out of my depth, or, I am having a bad day where Life isn’t going the way I would like it to. Sometimes it seems a natural refuge, comforting even to say, ” I am hopeless or I’m not very good at this or, I got it on sale…. you know what I mean Ladies. We are all guilty of being self deprecating in our lives at sometime or another..
As I read her column I decided to be more mindful of how I speak in my inner and outer world, to be positive and own who I am. Perhaps we can all be a little more mindful of how we think, our self talk, even our actions towards ourselves. As Women we have so many amazing gifts, and if we take courage and own ourselves, who we really are, and our abilities, we can make the world a better and kinder place by allowing our light to shine through and inspire others.
I feel Wendy has written a beautiful and heartfelt piece and I wanted to share her musings with you. I found this great photo to shine a sparkling light for us all,
Go out and be Awesome!
You Are The Real Deal
Why do many women, even ones as successful as actor Natalie Portman, prefer to focus on feeling not quite good enough instead of on their merits? It’s annoying handbrake of habit and I’m in there with her in the guilty group.
Also guilty are some of my friends who are doing fine, or better than fine, in their chosen field — or just doing a better than fine job of being an ace person.
Natalie Portman summed up the phenomenon dubbed “impostor syndrome” when she spoke to students at Harvard University about her time there taking a degree in neurobiology.
“Today I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999,” she said in April. “I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove that I wasn’t just a dumb actress.”
Here is a woman who has not only learned professional ballet to star in Black Swan, and written and directed her own movie, but won an Oscar and a Golden Globe and been the youngest member of the Cannes film festival jury.
Still, her take is, “There must be some mistake.” She’s not alone
Look and listen to girls around you and check in with yourself and you’re likely to see how many wonderful women’s default setting is to underrate themselves.
When I recently heard the Melbourne-born journalist and TV presenter Ali Moore, a woman whose work at the pointy end (big-time business reporting) is truly impressive, was filling in for two weeks on a show I listen to regularly, I was really chuffed for her.
I tuned in to hear her doing a fine job filling some very big shoes. Yet even with a proven track record filling in for that very timeslot, I heard her apologize for her perceived failings two to three times. There weren’t any failings.
She was doing fine and sounding authoritative, yet felt she needed to say stuff like, “I’m having a pretty shaky start,” and, “I’ll be back again tomorrow if they don’t sack me first for mucking things up.” I just about yelled at the radio, – “You’re doing great, stop apologising.”
Had I not tried sitting in that very same chair, doing that very same shift, and said almost those very same things- the difference being I was nowhere near as good. Then I would have found her self-deprecation hard to understand.
But I get it, because I do it. The funny thing is that while I’d prefer to talk myself down than set expectations too high, I hate hearing other women do it.
I want them to be their own biggest cheer leaders, not keep lowering the bar on what they project about themselves in case they can’t live up to it.
Recently, I felt almost let down to hear a lovely 20-something behind the counter at a cafe near my work put herself down as if it was a reflex. She didn’t even notice she was doing it.
We were chatting about the names of the smoothies there and I was suggesting maybe, since it was the end of the week, what I needed was an “Efficient and Effective”.
She said she wasn’t sure it was as simple as just knocking back a health drink, adding she’d tried the “Strong and Beautiful” and “look — it didn’t work!”
We laughed about how natural it was for us to make ourselves the butt of our own jokes.To quote Pink from her song Perfect “Why do we do that, why do I do that?”
Melbourne motivational speaker Margie Warrell asked this question in a recent piece for Forbes.
In her article, “Afraid of being ‘found out’? How to overcome the impostor syndrome”, she noted how even the world’s most successful women aren’t necessarily immune (she named Meryl Streep and Jodie Foster as having said similar things about self-doubt as the talented Natalie Portman).
“Both men and women can suffer from what psychologists have dubbed the impostor syndrome, the phenomenon whereby we fear being uncovered as a fraud and unworthy of our success,” Warrell says.
“However, it’s something women struggle with more often and more openly (just as we do with self-confidence). We women have refined self-criticism to an art form.
“We doubt ourselves more than men, back ourselves less and are more inclined to attribute our successes to luck or external support over talent, brains and grit.”
Here’s a controversial thought — how about let’s not?
There’s a strong chance the sky won’t fall in and no one will think us up ourselves if we occasionally concede, “Hey, I’m good at that.” This is an order ladies: stop saying sorry.
Geez, that sounded harsh. Sorry. D’oh!
Keep in touch,