It’s October – one of my favorite months of the year. It’s my birth month. (Here’s looking at you 45!) Halloween is also in October. While Halloween is one of our household’s favorite holidays, many people view the holiday with fear. Instead of talking about fear, I want to talk about what makes you feel powerful.
Hard question, right? So many times, we ferociously focus on our fears that we forget to embrace the things that make us feel secure. For most of my adult life, I’ve experienced anxiety and agoraphobia. Sometimes, I feel so weak that I’m not sure how I will make it through the week.
Do you ever feel weak and helpless? How do you cope? As a mental exercise, I remind myself of times when I feel like an overcomer. Respond to these prompts along with me.
I Feel Powerful When…
…I Support Other People
Picture yourself in a room painting a vaulted ceiling with a detail brush. Imagine the ladder you chose for support. Describe it.
I bet it’s not some rickety, wooden ladder with wobbly legs. Ugh. I almost launched into a phobic moment thinking about that! Nope. I’m not sure about your ladder, but mine is a sturdy, metal ladder with a broad, thick base. That baby ain’t going nowhere.
When people come to me for advice, questions, or a friendly ear, they do not see the weak Alicia that sometimes doesn’t leave the house for days at the time. They are seeing me like that ladder – strong enough to be dependable. Helping other people makes me feel powerful.
When someone tells me that I inspire them to maintain more orderly kitchen cabinets, that my encouragement helped them reach another fitness milestone, or that they enjoyed food prepared in a new way, I know that others see something in me that I don’t always see. Organized? Me? Well, look at that!
…I draw support from others
Back to that ladder. Who are your “ladders?”
While I feel empowered when other see my strength, I also feel stronger when I see the powerful people who surround me. When I am weak, I see their strength and strive to do better.
One of my best friends is a mother to four active kids that keep her busy. She’s always got irons in the fire, rushing from one school activity or another. So, I know there are days when giving into utter exhaustion would be easier. But she excels. I’m not sure if it’s absolute determination or another cup of chai that keeps her going, but she does it. When I find it difficult to get in a vehicle to go grocery shopping, I think of her.
A Force of Nature
I know another woman who was one of the first female Navy officers. She was also one of the first women to take a ride in a fighter jet. Her fearlessness earned her a nickname and respect from the men with whom she served. When I feel I am facing an insurmountable obstacle, I reach to find my fearlessness.
I learn from my mom, who has a flexible mind. While she adheres to her values, unlike many people, she’s willing to reconsider if presented with logical reasoning. She may not change her mind, but she is, at least, ready to listen to both sides of an issue. She contemplates. Then, she makes a decision. When I feel my values challenged, I feel powerful when I am open to considering other options.
I draw inspiration from my sister. She is one of the most talented women I know. She operates a crafting business creating custom memorial jewelry which occupies much of her time. However, she always finds time for others. She calls. She remembers birthdays. She’s the type of person who usually recognizes (and fulfills) unspoken needs. She approaches all of life, including her relationships, in a creative manner. I feel powerful when I can tap into my sister’s imaginative ambitions and thoughtfulness.
…I recognize my past accomplishments
This week, I was deeply hurt and read the riot act concerning women and glass ceilings. My first response? I wanted to cry. I felt that by simply being a wife and mother, I had not accomplished enough.
However, I realize it was with great joy that I made that decision to be a wife and mother. And, during motherhood and wifehood, I knocked out some glass ceilings of my own – and have been doing so my whole life.
No – these achievements didn’t net me millions. I’m not a CEO of my own company, but I am proud of these accomplishments.
In 6th grade, I was the Math Superstars champion of our entire school at a time when girls were discouraged from participating in STEM activities. That’s pretty significant in my book.
In the 80’s, while in high school, I discovered my favorite math teacher programmed computers. Our school had a minuscule computer lab with limited student access. We didn’t have computers in the classrooms. Yet, I convinced him to teach AP college course in Pascal programming. Since I was the only girl in the class, I would say that I made waves in a male-dominated field.
In the early 90’s, computers were not easily affordable. I built mine piece by piece and gave my children the opportunity to grow up around technology. I also built and maintained computers for other people. Yep. A woman in the 90’s building a computer. That was unusual.
- In the late 90’s, I started a website that became one of the largest coupon sites on the internet. I was doing “extreme couponing” before it became a buzzword. I taught other people how to manage their household finances better and save money. Granted. Grocery shopping and couponing are female-dominated activities, but building websites, graphic arts were not at the time.Wow. A website – from HTML skills I had learned myself before WordPress existed. I didn’t disband that site until 2014 when I sold it and used the money to help us move to Florida. I had that very successful website for 16 years. Pretty good for a woman.
The New Millennia
In the early 2000’s, I began a web design business and built many sites for customers all over the country. However, my coupon site enjoyed so much popularity that I was able to close this business and subsist on the income. I chose to close my web design business.
Today, blogging is a gender-neutral environment, and I am no less proud of our little blog here. I am proud that I helped to keep a spot warm for the blogging revolution.
I don’t write this with any hubris and certainly do not diminish anyone else’s achievements, but today, after receiving a speech about women blazing trails, I couldn’t sleep. I needed to remind myself that I, too, am powerful.
Honestly, my anxiety issues prevent me from aggressively pursuing a career currently. However, I still try to remain strong and keep pushing forward.
Things to Ponder
When do you feel powerful? Who are your supports? What accomplishments empower you?
We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.
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