She is strong, confident, 45 years old (looks younger) has two children, a house, husband and a dog. She is successful in business: lived in different countries, led various teams and climbed the ladder. But she questions herself, every day anew. Compliments flit past her: sometimes deliberately ignored or settled with a template response of “Yes, but…”.
Why do women/men keep questioning themselves and how could it be (resolved)?
Let’s face it: men have no trouble “presenting themselves well” and they often do it in an “excellent way” (or not), sometimes embellishing one or two facts (if necessary, of course) … As young men they are already “trained” to assert themselves in his circle of comrades, according to the principle: “rule or perish” and to speak their opinion loudly. Girls, on the other hand, are supposed to be reserved, well-behaved, not to mention good grades, with the remark: “Otherwise nothing will come of your life, my girl!” Often, they are “encouraged” to withhold their opinions and be careful how they say things: always nice and friendly, as well as mindful of the implications of what is said (more about this in my book – How Boys and Girls are Educated).
What you see nowadays are often the effects of this parenting style: women often have trouble stepping forward, receiving compliments (Ok, there are always exceptions!), not to mention enjoying! We women are always told, “I don’t believe the positive feedback is true”. Our own perception is nothing but our own reality – and it is very subjective. How I perceive myself is not the same as how others perceive me. Self-perceptions and perceptions by others can be very different: Self-perception and perception by others: two sides of the same coin.
To reduce the gap in between, the perceptions can be juxtaposed, through the Johari Window (or Johari Grid). This can lead to better self-knowledge by better perceiving one’s reactions, behaviour (and asking “why?”) this for better communication. You can find a detailed description here: Personality Development – Johari Window To start and try: Here
So why this self-doubt all the time?
Studying hard, working hard are often among the qualities that a (career) woman has integrated into her life. They give her self-esteem – but it doesn’t last long and has to be built up or reinforced again and again. The vicious circle starts all over again. Per se, there is nothing bad in seeing someone studying or working hard. The question is always how to deal with success, or rather, with positive feelings: do you push them away with a “Yes, but” or do you accept them with a “Thank you, I’m happy too!”? If one does not allow positive experiences in one’s life, then they do not integrate into our life experience: we do not learn how to deal with them, instead the “automatic” rejections manifest themselves in us.
Automated reactions can be changed by creating new connections and thereby overwriting the “old” ones. Saying thank you again and again to a compliment and thereby allowing the positive feelings is only one method. “Correcting” my (self-)perception through the Johari window could be the other…
Why not try it out the next time someone gives us a compliment?
It’s worth letting more sunshine into our lives 😊