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She Says Girls Should Be Taught About Bravery, But Not Perfection

She Says Girls Should Be Taught About Bravery, But Not Perfection

Girls are often caught up in a web of confusion surrounded by status quo definitions of who and what they should be. Strong women rise above engraved definitions and challenge the status quo.

Some may not reach goals they aspire to, yet this does not fall in the ‘boxed’ definition of failure. It is about being brave enough to counter the challenge. Women tend to focus on positions and careers that they know they will excel in, which limits their vision. That is an avoidance of risk or failure. Smile, play safe and get the straight As. Stay closeted in a safely defined zone.

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Boys are taught to rough it up, climb and jump away. When they become adults men keep taking the risks and rising to challenges, asking for a raise or a date. They get rewarded. So in essence, we raise girls to venture to perfection and boys are taught bravery.

There are many reasons why girls need to be taught bravery. In an  annual Vancouver conference, Reshma Saujani shared a powerful vision in a talk “Teaching Girls Bravery, Not Perfection“. She cited research conducted on fifth graders by Carol Dweck, a psychologist. The findings revealed that intelligent girls gave up quickly on a difficult assignment. Boys with high IQs related to the difficult material as a challenge and increased their effort. Girls who outperformed boys in every subject not because of their ability, but because of their manner in approaching challenges.

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A Hewlett-Packard report indicated that men applied for jobs even if they only met 60% of qualifications. Women would not attempt unless they were fully qualified. This report clearly shows that women lack confidence.

According to Reshma Saujani, it was evidence that women are socialized towards aspiring to perfectionism, making them overcautious. They tend to take fewer risks. There is massive expansion in the technology and computing industries, yet women are being left behind as they have been socialized to reach perfectionism.

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The examples of girls achieving by learning to be brave in supportive networks are massive. Girls who have been socialized to imperfection keep trying. They learn perseverance. They reach their goals.

Here are some ways to help girls and women gain confidence and display bravery:

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  • Girls need to confront the notions engraved of female fragility. The media and societal views must be challenged that represent assertive women as destructive or unfeminine.
  • Celebrate accomplishments of competent women.

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    • Classes for child rearing would promote approaches that are not limited to gender stereotyping.
    • Ask girls what toys they would prefer. They may want a truck instead of a doll, or a chemistry set instead of a jewelry box.
    • Girls need to learn skills defend themselves and make points without apology.
    • Girls have the right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm.
    • Decision making needs to be shared with girls in a home and at school. Girls need to be shown that their voices impact their lives and the lives of others.
    • Equal participation of girls need to be a requisite in all youth and public forums.
    • Girls reserve the rights to strive freely, take risks and take pride in successes.
    • There should be no acceptance of, “I can’t” or “I won’t.” Help girls with confidence to say they will try.
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      • Girls should be given platforms to speak without being interrupted .
      • Avoid the notion of ‘rescuing’ girls. Encourage them to be imperfect, to pursue goals, to make mistakes, to get disheveled and dirty.
      • Girls must accept and appreciate their bodies.They must be taught beauty comes in all forms, shapes, colors,and sizes. Encourage focus on strength, flexibility and health.
      • Enable them to become critical of the media, taking into account the portrayals of women and girls in commercial songs, movies, and television. Question portrayals of how female characters are judged.
      • Applaud girls for successes, efforts and skills. Keep praising them and showering them with confidence.
      • Girls have the right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world. They should let off steam by punching pillows or yell out or visualizing and relaxing. Offer self-defense training and sports to promote strength.
      • Girls need to be encouraged to join in unison to improve neighborhoods and schools and every setting they feel unsafe in.
      • Girls need  preparation to take ventures of  interesting work towards economic independence.
      • Girls need an introduction to women role models who are able to balance work, volunteering, family and personal life.
      • Provide girls with an opportunity to explore roles reserved primarily for boys, like carpentry, holding snakes or constructing an electrical circuit.
      • The myth of ‘Prince Charming’ coming to the rescue must be debunked.
      • Discuss family financials openly with girls included.

      Spread the word to sisters, nieces, colleagues and employees that girls need to be comfortably imperfect. Teaching girls imperfection will build  a bravery and heal the world, making it a better place for all.

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      Nena Tenacity

      Nena is passionate about writing. She shares her everyday health and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on January 24, 2021

      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

      Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

      For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

      But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

      It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

      And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

      The Importance of Saying No

      When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

      In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

      Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

      Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

      Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

      “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

      When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

      How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

      It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

      From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

      We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

      And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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      At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

      The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

      How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

      Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

      But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

      3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

      1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

      Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

      If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

      2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

      When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

      Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

      3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

      When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

      6 Ways to Start Saying No

      Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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      1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

      One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

      Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

      2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

      Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

      Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

      3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

      Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

      Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

      You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

      4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

      Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

      Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

      5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

      When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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      How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

        Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

        Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

        6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

        If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

        Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

        Final Thoughts

        Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

        Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

        Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

        More Tips on How to Say No

        Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
        [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
        [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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