Dear Awesome Woman,
Are you a Superwoman? Do you have to do everything yourself, reject offers for help and resist compliments?
Hah! Caught you there. I bet you thought that being a Superwoman was a good thing. And it is. But perhaps not in the way that you always thought it to be.
I know that for too many years I tried to be a Superwoman – trying to do everything myself and rejecting offers of help from others. I even rejected compliments. If someone complimented me or thanked me, I dismissed it with a “no big deal” statement. Or even worse, didn’t believe them.
Nowadays my definition of being a Superwoman is a woman who receives with grace and trust. She receives gifts and compliments because she is open to that connection with others who are being generous with their words and care. She receives help because she is wise and humble and knows that she is a limited being and can’t do it all herself.
A Superwoman also knows that to accept graciously from another person is an act of vulnerability. She is willing to to be brave in receiving and feels safe in connecting with others.
This is not to say that as a Superwoman, you need to receive from people you don’t feel safe with, nor should you receive what causes you physical or emotional distress. A Superwoman is discerning.
If receiving is causing emotional distress, it is important to question why that is. Why are you uncomfortable? Is it because you’ve decided that for the person who is offering you a favor, you’ll owe her something in return? Or that the person is too busy and doesn’t really mean it?
Have you decided that the person complimenting you is just being nice, but her words couldn’t possibly be true about you?
All these reasons for rejecting or dismissing are rooted in fear and control.
If you reject an offer for help because you think that your friend can’t afford the time, then you are trying to control another person’s reality. You are fearing that they don’t know themselves well enough to make healthy decisions regarding their time and energy. You are in their business (see Whose Business Are You In?).
If you reject or dismiss a compliment, then you are deciding someone’s experience of you. And perhaps fearing that you can’t possibly live up to what they are experiencing.
But can you imagine stepping into new shoes? Imagine being a woman who trusts.
A Superwoman doesn’t keep a scoreboard in her mind. She trusts others to own their own reality. That if they offer help, they mean it. And if they feel taxed by their offer, then they will have learned an important lesson in self care – the lesson being “don’t offer if you can’t – the other person just may say yes! and take you up on it.”
A Superwoman trusts herself to know when she wants to give, how much and to whom. If she wants to do a favor, then she does. She knows her capabilities and limitations. She knows who she wants connection with and whom she doesn’t.
A Superwoman receives help graciously and trusts herself to know whether she wants what the other person is offering. She also discerns who is offering. If she does not want a connection with that person or has found that person to be untrustworthy in the past, then she says no thank you.
A Superwoman receives compliments with humility and a simple “thank you” because she trusts that this is how the person experiences her.
Each time that a woman rejects an offer from someone she does like, she is rejecting that person. And each time a woman dismisses a compliment, she is rejecting the person giving the compliment. And each of these times, she is also rejecting herself and her own humanness.
Being a Superwoman means being vulnerable. Vulnerable to connection with others and vulnerable to the reality that she is human and can’t do everything herself.
I’ve been practicing this – choosing trust over fear. And I see it as a choice. Though it feels a bit uncomfortable at first, it does get easier with time. Just receiving and simply stating “thank you” makes a huge shift in emotional energy. A shift from feeling fearful and controlling to feeling humble, feeling safe and trusting others.
So for today, try choosing trust over fear.
Receive, Receive, Receive.
This is a Superwoman.