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Unspoken Truth of Women’s Life

Since Ancient time women have been regarded as goddesses because of the roles they adopt, from being a daughter to wife to mother to grandmother selflessly agreeing upon for the wellness of family. Their status although is perplexing to many, where sometimes they are considered as second gender and sometimes as the superior ones. This has been the only known constant change in women’s life. Ancient women and women of now are still  known and regarded for possessing feminine like qualities, off which the top ones run from modesty to elegance to selfless to doer than a speaker and the ones who possess it well are mostly favored.

Men in past century feared women for being emotionally strong and bodily dominant, especially at the time when the biology behind menstruation was unknown and when all one could just see is how powerful a woman is, to be able to procreate, loose so much of blood and still be healthy. Then came the time when the extraordinarily yet uniquely customs and traditions set in and swept away the earned status of women. In Asia Purdah system, Dowry, Sati sub leveled the status of women and propagated female infanticide and foeticide, in Europe the perceived notion of true lady like features such as the ones dressed in corset with the expected feminine qualities were much favored while in mid eastern Burkhah system which still prevails, is fancily appreciated and widespread. Quite contrary to what it was like in previous century’s women in 21st century seem to have adopted so many new roles. They have set out new boundaries, bolding up to new challenges and are trying to make their space up in the social scenario. Women in 21st century, projects themselves as duly competent to the gender counterpart. Large number of women admissions in professions that earlier restricted them to join in due to their lack of physical strength, mental ability, social ineptness, immovability etc are now openly recruiting and applauding women for outperforming in those professions. Women are now joining politics, media, military, multinational companies, sports etc adopting leading positions constantly proving to the world that they are wrongly mistaken with their prejudice notion of restricted abilities. All of this has indeed changed the status quo of women externally. Women are given the status that they have longed for a long time. Even at home many women are now able to sail through the demands of personal and professional life. With measures like feminism, women empowerment, women’s rights and groups protecting women’s rights has ensured that women’s social stature is safeguarded and they can present themselves worthily. Hence it can be duly noted that women in today’s century is much more aware of their rights and status in the society and is trying their best to be able to match up with the growing nation’s advances and present themselves professionally at front.

Amidst this ideal situation where women are comforted and at peace professionally the real deal is when the number of successful women (personally and professionally) is counted, they are surprisingly very few in number. Besides what till date is preset for every women is their personal, professional, social, political, societal role which has been decided and unanimously agreed upon. These roles are further reinforced and are imbibed upon by our elderly ensuring that what has been previously followed is not challenged upon. Further more in a population which comprises of crore of people, 50% of it is women. It is astonishing to quote how very few women have acquired the top positions despite of being talented, how very few women manage to continue with their professional life after they get married or how few of women join work post maternity leave. Parallel to this, a report by APA claim that woman as compared to men is more susceptible to anxiety disorders (Yonkers, 2001 and Hoffman, 2011). If we were to see the happiness and life satisfaction it correlates well with the professional and personal satisfaction of the individual. Claiming that women have reached the success ladder professionally and are working and moving towards independence which earlier was taken away from them but what is really still making them so unhappy and discontented? Some might say that every woman is fighting a battle some are fighting battles at home, some are fighting battles at workplace, while some are fighting even tougher battles but aren’t men fighting the same battles is the real question. If we were to look at the proportionality of the battles men fight which may or may not be as aggravated as women’s especially considering the previous centuries in mind but men have their own battles like earning good, supporting the old parents, unrealistic portrayals of men by media etc now these battles are often overlooked since the world is attuned to look at the problems of women. Thanks to movement for men which recognizes the battles men faces too. Paying little or less heed to the existing congruence of the problem which men and women almost face parallel, what really needs to be stressed upon is who has better adaptability to cope with stress? Who is weak emotionally? Who has been trained to be independent? Who is not able to deal with daily life stressors and subjecting oneself to conditions because of not being able to cope with it?

There is one unidentified element that has inevitably skipped generations and till date plays vital role in the changing stature of women centuries by centuries- “The unrealistic expectation and fear of independence” which was highlighted by Collette Dowling, New York psychotherapist in her book called “Cinderella Complex”- derived for fairytale version, highlighting the psychological dependency issues in females. The commonality between the previous centuries or centuries today is how women is guided on what to do, how to do making them unconsciously assured that even if they go wrong someone will fix it up for them. Hence giving rise to dependability issues, mostly psychological which then takes many forms from emotional to financial to male oriented to society stimulated. Now this can further be acclaimed from the reports presented by psychologists and psychiatrists who have worked closely with women suffering from stress or are domestically abused. Few researchers tried to claim it through their researchers how women are never trained to be dependent (Wilson (1978), Wang (2007), Saha (2016) and Chastine (2019) and all they are looking for is a ‘knight in shining Armour’. Furthermore adding to the commonality, women in both the centuries strives to achieve independence which women in today’s world have achieved but what has got unnoticed is despite of being independent professionally women are not able to achieve emotional and psychological independence. It is the need of the hour to understand how women can be free emotionally and psychologically so as to achieve and fight in the real world and win the real battles. It goes unsaid that the nature of women’s status is subject to change depending on their social roles and the way they are brought up. Despite of some women being lone survivors or pretending to be one still seeks dependence in day to day lives being constantly assured that they have someone to look after and to fix everything which later manifests real life problems like marital conflicts, domestic violence, divorces, increased number of stress and anxiety issues because woman have been trained to listen and not speak up.

While it is hard for any women to accept that they are seeking dependence it is important for any women to first understand and connect with oneself and the challenges they face-

  • Esteem issues
  • Questioning self
  • Seeking constant support and approval
  • Incapable of facing life challenges and solving problems
  • Need for reassurance and validation
  • Interpersonal difficulties

Despite of being able to closely relate to it some women unwavering reject the idea of seeking dependence and might openly propagate the Independence they have earned professionally being naive to understand that being Independent professionally doesn’t mean being independent from Mind.

 

References

Chastine, V., & Darmasetiawan, N. K. (2019, March). Cinderella complex on working women. In 16th International Symposium on Management (INSYMA 2019).Atlantis Press.

Dowling, C., & Dowling, C. (1990). Cinderella complex. New York: Pocket Books.

Howell, H. B., Brawman-Mintzer, O., Monnier, J., & Yonkers, K. A. (2001). Generalized anxiety disorder in women. Psychiatric Clinics of North America24(1), 165-178.

McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. Journal of psychiatric research45(8), 1027-1035.

Saha, S., & Safri, T. S. (2016). Cinderella Complex: Theoretical Roots to Psychological Dependency Syndrome in Women. The International Journal of Indian Psychology ISSN, 2348-5396.

Wang, Y. H., & Liao, H. C. (2007).The Psychological Dependency Syndrome in Women of Taiwan-An Exploration of Cinderella Complex. 台灣醫學人文學刊8(1&2), 25-36.

Wilson, M. L. (1978). College women and the Cinderella complex. Educational Horizons56(3), 137-139.

 

 

Understanding the real power of the phrase –“Know Thyself”

Second,

Everything that YOU are doing right now

Everything that YOU are thinking right now

And everything that is going on around YOU

Leave everything and everyone aside,

Pause!

Now take a moment and sit in seclusion and for once enjoy the peace in solitude,

Try to close your eyes and Take a long deep breathe in and out slowly, recognizing the constriction and tension you feel in your lungs as you breathe in and out

Slowly draw your attention towards everything that surrounds you, choose a perfect spot! Look closely to the space you have occupied consciously to sit in seclusion, think about whether or not the space you have selected would give you peace, if you think it does then contemplate the reason for the same; if it doesn’t then change the space.  Turn your attention towards every object in the room and the memories you have made. Activate all your senses and feel the environment – look closely, feel closely, smell closely, hear closely and touch closely everything around you. Cease the moment try to conquer the situation. How often do we do that?

With each deep long breathe you take while sitting in one corner, try to erase everything out of the mind, Tensions, Stressors, and Anxieties of your present human existence; brush it off aside.

As you slowly empty your head with all the negativity of life that pulls you down try to only think about WHO AM I? And WHAT DO I WANT?

Most would struggle answering the two questions. While it is easy to define the “Problem part of the life” or “things that one struggles with” or “other people we are surrounded with” but what is particularly difficult for many is to understand one’s own virtue of existence. Our Mind is filled with thoughts, both positive and negative. The beauty of human mind is sketched in a way that it is very easy to think about negatives in one’s life than positives. The confounded part of human mind is how quickly it tends to multiply the negative cycle of thoughts that inevitably interrupts tranquility. The positives however require a lot of head scratching. While we turn to others to help us identify the goodness in us, look for constant validation and criticism to work upon our weaknesses. But what’s truly astonishing is how we aren’t able to see “Self” from our own eyes but relentlessly believes in “Self” defined by others. Our mind constantly reassures that the hindrance stays activated.

One of the essential needs of human existence is the “Need for Self Actualization”- a higher order need towards “Enlightenment”, “Wisdom”. “Nobility” and “True knowledge of one’s Existence” and that only comes when we truly have a self control over ourselves and our mind.  The ladder to the path of Self Actualization is not easy and the path that helps one to attain it comes with a lot of emotional battles, conflicts, insecurities, frustration, mental blocks and distortions. It is only when one tries to put an end to all the negativity constructed within, does one taste victory and drift towards higher sense of being. But how does one reach on to the road of achieving a higher order need like this? Here’s how.

“Know thyself”- is a common phrase. Despite of its existence, it is repeatedly being confused with a lot of definitions that colors the essence of it. As easy as it might sound, not everyone is able to reach to the independent state of knowing self completely.  I am who I am and there is nothing outside of me that defines me. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses. I know my responsibilities and I know my duties. There is nothing outside of me that controls me and there is no one outside of me that shapes me. “The story of ancient Greeks who traveled miles to the Oracle at Delphi is quite famous especially to catch the very own beauty of the phrase. The move afar by the Greeks was just to attain knowledge and wisdom. As they entered, the entrance denoted “Gnothi Seauton” or “Know Thyself” which was intentionally placed at the entrance with a prominent statement, that everyone who comes to seek knowledge and wisdom must first be fully aware of who they really are before they think about obtaining enlightenment from the forces outside their true self. Miletus, sage of Greece, was once asked, “What is difficult?” to this he explicitly replied, “To know yourself.” Though the value of “Know thyself” is undermined, it is essential that we realize the importance and power it holds. If we only know ourselves shall we realize that everything that we are looking for around us is what lies within us. It is pointless to look for answers on the surface when everything is possessed beneath. It is vital for one to understand that we control our own life and nothing or nobody external to one’s being has any dictation on who we are and what decisions we take and how do we go about our life. When one realizes this, the life becomes very simple and the destiny thereafter is under one’s control. It is not wrong to say that once we get to know ourselves shall we get to know the world around us, the people around us. To know oneself is to be able to regulate oneself, to be fully aware, to practice self reflection and to be able to fully be in touch with one’s own emotions, perceptions, thinking pattern and behavior. It allows one to examine closely the way we think, react and act. Hence knowing thyself is world’s greatest weapon that can help one reach to his own true potential. Hence the road map to a man’s success is to know thyself. Modern day humans live in a world where there is a lot of potential stressors around, it is only when we take charge of everything that happens around us including our own mind can we really conquer the world and its manifested problem situations.

 

Warren Bennis, once said- “the most difficult task any of us faces is to know ourselves”. Hence until you know yourselves, strengths and weaknesses, you cannot succeed in the most superficial sense of the word.”

But the real question is how much do we know ourselves to reach where we wish to be?