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12 Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Apologize For Being A Strong Woman

12 Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Apologize For Being A Strong Woman
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I grew up in a family of strong women. Grandma Millie, Grandma Lois, Great Gramma Gertrude, Great Gramma Lola. They were all incredibly tenacious, loving, and resilient. My mom and my sister are both amazing women as well. It seems to be in our genes. I also happen to have a lot of amazing friends who are strong women.

We’re a feisty bunch. Full of passion, creativity, determination, and guts — and we’re not alone. There’s a whole tribe of strong, passionate women who are inextricably linked together and pulling each other up as we go.

You know who you are…

You don’t back down easily. You make fierce friends, mothers, and lovers. You get sh*t done. You’re clear about what you want out of life and you know how to ask for what you need. You know how to say “No.”

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The challenge with being a strong woman is that folks misconstrue your passions, your resolve, and your tenacity for a myriad of other things. Nine times out of ten, it’s the other person’s insecurities, limiting beliefs, and narrow perspectives about what’s possible that has them judging you and the amazing things you’re creating in your world.

Here are 12 reasons why, as a strong woman, you should never have to apologize.

Reason #1: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”
wear your confidence

    Tall or short, skinny or full figured, you love yourself and it shows. This doesn’t mean you’re egotistical or arrogant, it means you’re confident in who you are and comfortable in your own skin. For those of you who haven’t quite arrived at this amazing space of self-love, keep looking, it’s in you.

    Reason #2: You know who you are and what you want in your life.

    You’re clear on who you are and what you want out of life. You’re also clear on what is unacceptable, intolerable, and inexcusable. Because of this, your “no” really does mean No. You’re clear on your choices. Unless of course, you choose to change your mind.

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    Reason #3: Yes, you run like a girl (because you ARE a girl). 
    Run like a girl - keep up!

      Just because you’re a woman, doesn’t mean you’re not competitive. Nor does it mean that you don’t like to win. You’re not aggressive, you’re spirited, unwavering, and cunning. And you get to use all of your feminine characteristics to your advantage!

      Reason #4: You’re determined, driven, and focused on your goals.

      In the boys club, this makes men a rock star, successful, and “in demand.” For a woman, it often gets translated to being “bitchy,” or “arrogant.” Being feisty, resolute, and steadfast towards your goals is just the way to get things done.

      Reason #5: You’re hella smart and you have an opinion.

      In today’s world, women have to work harder than men and yet earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. All the while women are now 33% more likely to graduate from college. Because of this disadvantage, you’ve learned to work smarter, you’re assertive, and you aren’t shy about sharing your opinions, knowledge, and expertise with others.

      Reason #6: You’re the glue that holds it all together.

      Just because you’re organized, timely, and neat doesn’t mean you’re a control freak or bossy. It’s because you’re so orderly that you can juggle so many things at once: taking care of the kids, the partner, the employees, and still keeping your head attached to the rest of your body. This is a talent to be admired, not diminished.

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      Reason #7: Your priorities are just that, your priorities.

      Everyone has their own path in life to take. How you walk along your path, based on your passions, purpose, and priorities, is your choice. No matter whether it’s your mother who has an opinion about what steps you should take next or a friend or colleague, you inherently know what is best for you and how to manage your time. Thank them for their input and advice, and keep on moving forward to the beat of your own drum.

      Reason #8: You’re a fierce warrior and a compassionate sister/mother/friend.

      I Am Woman

        As a woman, you have an enormous capacity for love and caring for others. It’s actually coded into your DNA to nurture and build community. You also can be fiercely protective of those you care about, organizations you believe in, or simply fighting for those who are vulnerable to predators. When the momma bear comes out, everyone else should sit up and take note.

        Reason #9: You’re sexy and you know it.

        You’ve heard the saying “it’s a man’s world,” right? Well, it still is in many ways, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your full feminine power to your career. As a woman, the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more attractive you become. And when you operate from this more feminine-yet-powerful place, you’ll have everyone in the rooming paying attention.

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        Reason #10: You’re a leader, period.
        Sheryl Sandbert

          As Sheryl Sandberg once said, “ In the future there will be no female leaders. There will only be leaders.”

          The future starts today. You are a leader, a risk taker, a strategic thinker who is happy and capable of going toe-to-toe with any man in the room. You stand up for yourself and you stand up for those around you who need your support, your voice, your guidance, because that’s what leaders do.

          Reason #11: You’re strong and independent, yet soft, sensitive, and intuitive.

          I am a strong woman and proud of it.

            You have learned over the years to depend on yourself, your intuition, and your higher self to guide you along your path. You feel deeply and sense the emotions of those around you, and even simple things can move you to tears. You trust your gut and speak your truth. Your intuition is a tool, use it to your advantage.

            Reason #12: You are authentically, wholeheartedly yourself.
            women-pillars of community

              You know that secretly (or not so secretly) your parents, your family, or even your culture all have expectations about how you are supposed to show up in the world – what kind of career you’ll have, who is the “right” person for you to marry and have kids with, and how life is “supposed” to look for you. You, on the other hand, know who you are authentically and are creating life in your own way, writing your own rules, speaking your truth, and living your life fully — without apology or regret. This is your way to be the best version of you that is happy from the inside out.

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              Life is short. Be yourself — without apology.

              Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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              Last Updated on July 20, 2021

              How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

              How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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              You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

              Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

              Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

              Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

              1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

              According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

              “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

              Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

              Warming up

              If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

              If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

              Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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              1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
              2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
              3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

              Stay hydrated

              Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

              To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

              Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

              Meditate

              Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

              Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

              Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

              Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

              2. Focus on your goal

              One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

              Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

              Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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              Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

              If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

              3. Convert negativity to positivity

              There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

              ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

              It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

              Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

              Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

              Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

              4. Understand your content

              Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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              However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

              “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

              Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

              Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

              One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

              5. Practice makes perfect

              Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

              In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

              Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

              6. Be authentic

              There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

              Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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              Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

              To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

              With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

              Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

              7. Post speech evaluation

              Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

              Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

              We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

              You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

              Improve your next speech

              As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

              Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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              • How did I do?
              • Are there any areas for improvement?
              • Did I sound or look stressed?
              • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
              • Was I saying “um” too often?
              • How was the flow of the speech?

              Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

              If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

              Reference

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