When Did The World Tell You Who You Should Be?

“Don’t try to change the world. Just try to change yourself. “

When you were younger, did you ever think of how much your gender affects your life? Did you ever question why your brothers or male relatives were treated differently from you? From the chores that were done to the curfews given. Why did your elders put so much emphasis on how you should sit, talk, or even wear your hair? Most importantly, do you understand how these seemingly small things were teachings of the woman that you’ve turned out to be today?

In most cases, you didn’t have full control over yourself – be it your body, thoughts, or even how you felt. Unfortunately, for some people, this follows them into their adult life. Have you noticed how every second word that comes out of your mouth is “sorry”? Even when you haven’t done anything wrong? Yet, you always feel small enough to apologise for possibly offending the opinions of others. Why does this happen to you? 

What makes you feel so small?

Why do you feel the need to over-apologise? According to research, these are the top 5 reasons why you constantly make yourself feel small.

  • You’ve been taught to please everyone else besides yourself. 
  • Someone told you that you ask too much or your opinions are unreasonable. This has made you have self-esteem issues.
  • You were made to feel inadequate. As a result, you’ve set unrealistic high standards for yourself. 
  • You’ve never been allowed to have an opinion. So, you feel insecure about yourself. 
  • It’s a bad habit and you just don’t know how to set boundaries in your life. 

If you’re a woman who’s reading this, you might even remember many instances in your life when someone went out of their way to make you feel small. Past and present lovers, friends, and even your family have tried their best to tell you who you should be. Heck, even strangers feel the need to chirp in and tell you how you should behave. You don’t even need to be a certain type of woman to go through this. In fact, the bolder and more ambitious you are, the more society feels the need to put you in your place. As a woman, you’re always offending someone whenever you try your best to break the barriers they put in place to humble you. 

It’s weird, don’t you think? How the world is always trying to find a way to make sure that you know your place? You’re fortunate if you realise this early on in your life. However, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have it easier in comparison to the woman whom you think is oblivious to this. But it’s impossible for any woman to not see this. At some point in our lives, we all meet on the same battlefield and compare the same scars. The world has made us this way, even when you don’t realise it. You’ve been afraid to dream, afraid to say what you want to say or afraid to go after the love that is for you. 

How can you reinvent yourself?

There’s so much more unpacking that the women that live within you still need to do. It could take many more years. But the great thing about unlearning and learning to choose yourself is that you can do it today, try again tomorrow, and the following day until it becomes a habit. One day the woman that the world told you to become will be nothing but a memory. Besides, we owe it to our daughters to learn how to create the versions of themselves that they need to be who they want to become. Similarly, we owe it to our sons to understand that as women we don’t belong to anyone but ourselves. The fact is, you’ve never had a reason to hold on to this narrative of yourself- it was never yours, to begin with. You owe it to yourself to become whoever you wanted to be before the world told you why you shouldn’t. 

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