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12 Things Strong, Independent Girls Don’t Do

12 Things Strong, Independent Girls Don’t Do

Being a strong, independent girl is harder than it used to be. For many girls, being considered strong and independent is a hard task, particularly in a world where more young people and graduates than ever are being driven back into living with their families, and into being underemployed (if they can find work at all). However, the definition of what it truly means to be a strong, independent woman has changed. Not every woman has her own apartment overlooking the city, or a string of adventurous lovers, or a high-powered job.

Strong, independent girls are not defined by their circumstances; whether they’re from an Ivy League family or the first in their family to ever attend college or graduate high school, a strong, independent girl can find the best in her situation and work hard at improving it while retaining her sense of inner strength and ethical values. Stuck as how to become one of these strong, independent girls? Read below to check out what to avoid in order to become one:

1. They don’t neglect their careers.

Firstly, strong, independent girls have their careers always at the forefront of their lives. Working hard is something everyone should do, regardless of age, gender or other factors, whether it’s pulling an all-night shift at a fast food diner or clocking in hours as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Strong, independent girls always work hard, keep their eyes to the future, and strive to work on their careers. That old adage of keeping your standards as high as your heels applies somewhat here — except that you should keep your standards, dreams, and aspirations as high as your work drive.

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2. They don’t fail to handle their own situations.

One of the most important things strong, independent girls always do is handle their own situations, good or bad. Speaking for yourself is something everyone should be doing anyway, but strong, independent girls never have trouble making their voice heard and ensuring any decision involving them directly is a reflection on their choices. Strong, independent girls handle their own job worries and roommate problems and flat tires. It’s not that it’s bad to rely on people; but to have the knowledge that you can handle the situation is powerful in itself.

3. They don’t overreact to bad situations or mistakes.

Strong, independent girls have the ability to let mistakes roll off their backs and to learn from their bad choices. They don’t complain, or rally against a world that has bitten them in the ass. If you’re a strong, independent girl, you let yourself make these mistakes and you learn from it. You don’t overreact to bad stuff that happens (although suitably horrific stuff warrants whatever response you like). You see these negative scenarios as a learning process and a way in which you can grow and become better and stronger. Strong independent girls don’t whine or complain — they can mope for a little while and then they move on to become better people.

4. They don’t rise to the bait of haters.

Haters seem to be everywhere these days — from the early days of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, legions of these anonymous Internet users can often be found crawling at the bottom of message boards, spouting vitriol at every turn. Strong, independent girls can often find themselves the target of such attacks, but thankfully never rise to it or give it the time or oxygen it requires to survive. It also goes without saying that no strong, independent girl is a troll herself. Trolling is harmful, abusive, and utterly repugnant. All it serves as is the symbol of the emptiness of a person’s life that they need to fill it with anger and resentment. Strong, independent girls never rise to haters’ bait — they’re usually too busy living the life they want to lead to care or take notice anyway.

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5. They don’t stop learning.

Strong, independent girls never stop learning or trying to better their own sense of knowledge about the world or subjects. It’s a sad thing when people stop being interested in the world around them, or decide to remain set in their ways and not learn or explore any new point of view or topic or challenge themselves. Strong, independent girls are never, ever phased by someone thinking that their passion for knitting, or science or Doctor Who is ‘weird,’ or that their desire to learn about patterns or physics or sonic screwdrivers is worthless. Strong, independent girls move on to people whose opinions they care about and never let anyone stand in the way of their passions or their education.

6. They don’t act on first impulse.

There’s something to be said for the virtue of patience. Strong, independent girls practice patience and restraint every day — they never act on the first wild impulse that comes their way. That way they’d be making out with the random, bearded man in the club corner, spending too much money on a bag that they won’t even like three weeks after they’ve blown their savings on it, and doing other potentially dangerous, potentially really stupid things. Strong, independent girls always wait and think things through. They’re always in control of their lives — as much as possible anyway — and do the things that will truly make them happy. They pay the rent, and save the Birkin bag purchase for when they’ve got enough that it’s a wild treat, not a one-way trip to being homeless on the streets.

7. They don’t let other people affect their confidence.

One of the fundamental things that a strong, independent girl does not do is let other people hold sway over her confidence and self-esteem. Your body is just fine the way it is, and the projections of perfection that the media brings about are harmful. Strong, independent girls do not let themselves become affected. They carry their heads high and no matter their shape, size, skin color, gender identity or form of self-expression, they own themselves. The things that make them stand out become their greatest assets. No strong, independent girl ever lets herself feel bad about being herself.

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8. They don’t neglect their physical needs.

One thing strong, independent girls never, ever do, is neglect their physiological needs and health. The fact is that your body needs sleep, needs water and food, and needs to unwind and relax. Neglecting these isn’t just stupid; it’s reckless, silly, and not something that a strong, independent girl does at all. Strong, independent girls get plenty of sleep; aside from being a biological imperative, it helps your mental health, concentration, healing factor, and makes your skin look amazing. These same girls drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated and healthy, and eat as much and as healthily as they want without getting hung up on calories. These girls relax and unwind and let their mind restore itself so that it can be fighting fit the next day. Now then, that’s not so hard, is it?

9. They don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Having unrealistic expectations is one of the quickest ways to being an unhappy camper. Fortunately, if you’re a strong, independent girl, that’s not an issue for you as you have your expectations in check and are realistically optimistic about the future and what it’ll bring. There is a fine line between wishful thinking and thinking that some outlandish event or scenario will actually occur. Let’s face it, everyone has had a daydream fantasy of winning the lottery and retiring to the South of France with a luxury villa and Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o as speed-dial buddies. Strong, independent girls accept and enjoy these brief interludes but never let them truly affect their lives; they keep grounded and realistic, while never dampening down on their dreams and goals.

10. They don’t stay in toxic relationships.

The law of attraction usually means that strong, independent girls should flock with other strong, independent girls and guys. However, sometimes they find themselves with other people who are dissatisfied, petty, angry, or just generally toxic. If you can’t work through things with your friends, then it’s time to cut the strings and let them go. Strong, independent girls never let the toxic actions of another person affect them — whether they’re a random coworker or a close friend — and often they allow the relationship to dissolve. Hanging around in a toxic friendship or relationship is never a good thing and is something strong, independent girls never do.

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11. They don’t let someone else dictate their relationships.

Most people are actively involved or interested in having or maintaining a romantic relationship. Strong, independent girls never let anyone else dictate or control their romantic relationships. They date until they find a partner worth investing their time, energy, and effort into. These women don’t entertain a partner who belittles them, disrespects them, or attempts to control every aspect of the relationship. They don’t have enough time to be dealing with the kind of people who try to confine their lives or control them in any way, shape or form.

12. They don’t lose control of their lives.

Finally, strong, independent girls never, ever lose control of their life. Control is, at least according to selected philosophers, an illusion created by mankind to stop us freaking out and destroying society. However, it serves an important purpose, and knowing that you are in control of your choices, decisions, and lifestyle is a massive boost to your self-esteem and confidence. Self-control is one of life’s greatest virtues and assets. Making sure you get enough sleep so that you’re not late for work is being strong. Making sure you avoid incriminating Facebook photos where any potential employer could see them is being strong. Treating yourself to a movie or drinks after work or a great meal is being independent. Strong, independent girls carve out their own lives and their own paths; just how it should be.

Featured photo credit: Beyonce, Huffington Post via huffingtonpost.com

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

The link to productivity

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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