Ladies Take Charge of Your Power

This is a country based on freedom and equality and yet women are still not treated equally. What’s happened that women don’t know that holds them back?

As a woman who pushed to achieve what most women didn’t do – going to medical school at a time when they took ‘token females’ – it distresses me no end that in today’s world, even though over half the medical students are female, and increasing numbers of women crack the ‘glass ceiling’ in other areas, too many women still feel stressed, unappreciated and downtrodden in the professional arena and in the personal one as well. It is even more distressing to see a political arena where men see fit to try to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies and there are idiots claiming that pregnancies from rape are ‘meant to be’. It is a world where women still don’t get equal pay, even though the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed in 2009 as a sequel to the Equal Pay Act of 1963. What is even worse is the number of women who feel unhappy with their lives and careers because many of the same obstacles seem to exist that existed when I started medical school in 1969. Women are still seen as inferior, not having equal rights, but having abundant responsibility at home and work.

As women we need to start looking to ourselves for the place to solve the problems. If we don’t feel we are good enough and deserving inside ourselves, then we become our own set of obstacles. Mindset really makes the difference. Part of that mindset is to recognize that succeeding does NOT mean you are never criticized – it means you don’t have to jump through that critic’s hoops just because they try to put you down. It means learning the difference between when you truly need to make a change in what you do or who you are to keep moving, versus when and how to tune things out and keep moving. When you also no longer need to struggle against ‘them’ and their opinions, and can put your effort into pushing forward your goals and truly feel good about yourself even in the face of criticism, you are on your way. No matter your gender, ethnic group or other ‘issue’, learning to set your goals and go for them while believing in yourself and learning to tune out detractors is essential. No one who has truly achieved has waited for all the praise and cheers before starting their journey. They certainly didn’t wait for everyone to see them as perfect before they moved forward or they wouldn’t ever have started. Criticism and resistance from other people is just one of those obstacles one has to push through in life, NOT something you let stop you.. YOU are entitled to your success, but until you believe that, it won’t happen.

Far too many high achieving women have come to my office stressed, drained, unhappy with home and career because they are being treated like second class citizens. The reality in life is that if we expect to be mistreated, we unconsciously make it happen. It is also important for us to accept our power, and be ok with being called by negative terms for doing the same thing as a man does. So learn the lingo and then translate it inside your head. If you get called a bitch, translate that in your own mind to ‘I stand up for myself’, if you are told you ‘just won’t let go of your idea, hear the term persistent, which is the one that would be applied to a male. Most important, accept yourself for who you are – ‘flaws and all’ – and don’t feel you have to defend it. Your personality defines you, and when you accept that, you are less stressed, strained and angry and more able to move forward and enjoy what you are doing. Keep in mind that there is NO way you can please everyone on the planet – nor can you even please the people you love all the time. They are different from you and have different tastes, which doesn’t mean anything bad about either of you.

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