Ladies, Rock On! Embracing Fun and Making the World Better

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

 

It’s ingrained in our instincts to be afraid – it’s what kept our ancestors from being devoured by predators. Back then, vigilance was a matter of life and death. But let’s face it, in today’s modern age, that primal fear doesn’t come in handy like it used to.

And then there is socialization. From a tender age, we were bombarded with phrases like “You cry like a girl,” “You laugh like a girl,” “You run, throw, dress, etc… like a girl.” And it wasn’t meant as a compliment, oh no! Boys flung these insults at each other, making “acting like a girl” a reason to shame a boy (which also created a negative impact on boys that we won’t delve into here).

So, if you ever wonder why you question yourself, battle with impostor syndrome, or lack the confidence you crave, this is likely where it all began. Those societal hurdles can be downright monstrous.

Socialization: It’s not you, it’s Implicit Bias

Here’s the thing- women are conditioned to be nice, collaborative, and put others first. No wonder it’s difficult to take the credit you deserve and let the team bask in the glory. Blame it on those good ol’ socialization tactics. Here are a couple of studies to show just how deep this socialization goes, even women are biased against women (ugh!).

  • In this study, when a group of teachers graded math tests with no names on them, the girls outscored the boys. But when the teacher knew their names, the results were reversed: they gave higher grades to the boys than girls. Oh, and all the teachers were female. I bet you thought a math test was objective!
  • A Yale study found that male executives who spoke more than their peers were viewed as 10% more competent. But it’s the reverse for female executives who spoke more, they were judged (by both men and women) as 14% less competent. Women who worry that talking “too much” will cause them to be disliked aren’t paranoid; they’re right.

It’s not you, it’s implicit bias you’re up against, and yet you still beat yourself up for not exuding the same confidence as men. It’s confusing! “Acting like a girl” isn’t exactly embraced in the workplace (where we’re constantly being compared to men) but acting like a man isn’t seen in a favorable light either. It’s a real catch-22. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Whether it’s being told, or getting unspoken hints that you don’t belong or aren’t wanted in the boardroom, the messages have seeped in. “You’re not good enough” echoes in our minds, and we’ve internalized it to the point where we believe it.

But guess what? I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. Nay, you are more than enough! Okay, okay, I know that reading those words may provide a fleeting moment of comfort, but I highly doubt it’s going to magically change everything. While it’s not entirely your fault, there are still things you can do to shift the narrative.

Shifting the Narrative: Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun

I remember one evening when I was taking a walk with my husband. I was feeling a bit off, struggling to put a name to the emotions swirling within me. I was questioning myself and feeling an irrational sense of guilt because things were going well in my life (oh, the art of self-sabotage). I had gratitude, I felt I was making a positive impact in my work, and yet I felt like it wasn’t enough to warrant the fortunate life I was experiencing. I felt undeserving (or so my nasty inner critic told me).

So, I casually ask my husband what he believed his purpose in life was (ok, not a casual question, but my husband is used to such inquiries). And you know what he said? “To have as much fun as I possibly can.”

Naturally, my judgmental inner voice jumped in, thinking, “That’s shallow and selfish. But wait, he works hard and is incredibly generous. How can that be his purpose? He must not have understood the question. Okay, maybe it’s fine for him, but I need something more profound. I need more depth. Having fun won’t cut it for me!”

We continued walking in silence, while my internal dialogue kept spinning its wheels.

And then, it hit me like a ton of feathers. Duh! If every person in the world simply pursued having fun, imagine how much happier the world would be. Why did I think the self-sabotaging nonsense I was doing had more depth than just embracing joy? Could it really be that simple? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing’s for sure – it certainly feels lighter.

I get that finding time to have fun can be a real challenge, especially for women who juggle the weight of home responsibilities while also being the primary breadwinner. It’s like running an obstacle course with no finish line in sight! And let’s not forget that confounding catch-22 mentioned earlier – it’s enough to make your head spin.

But hey, maybe it’s time we cut ourselves some slack and give society’s silly expectations the cold shoulder (at least for a little while). We, women, are superheroes in disguise, taking on the world while effortlessly multitasking (ok, it takes a lot of effort, but we make it look easy). We deserve a round of applause!

As for acting like a girl? Heck, yeah! It means embracing our strength, resilience, and incredible abilities. So, let’s kick those self-doubts to the curb, challenge those outdated beliefs, and reclaim our right to have fun. We deserve moments of joy, laughter, and pure unadulterated fun. After all, life’s too short.

So, here’s to embracing our inner girls and striving to have as much fun as we possibly can. Maybe, just maybe, that simple pursuit will lead us to a more fulfilling and joyful existence. It’s worth a shot, don’t you think? If you need help navigating the catch-22, I’m here for you.

Rock on, ladies!