Confidence / Speak Up / Speaking Out

Can women have it all? - Breaking 3 myths & beliefs that women have grown up with

. 5 min read . Written by Roopal Kewalya
Can women have it all? - Breaking 3 myths & beliefs that women have grown up with

When we hear countless stories of knights in shining armour rescuing damsels in distress, we start believing in the myth that women need rescuing. By telling these stories, we do not give men the space of wanting to be rescued and we do not let women believe that they can sometimes be the rescuers too.

Stories, narratives, popular culture and social conditioning create myths that are widely acceptable and lead to deeply entrenched beliefs about how people in a society should behave. But as is known about myths, they are not always true.

This article is an attempt to debunk at least 3 myths that women have grown up with:

Myth no. 1: Agreeing with everyone around will ensure peace

Understanding what conflict is and dealing with it, is part of life. If you are the kind of person who has grown up believing that there should be ‘peace at all cost’, chances are, this causes a huge war inside your own head.

People who want to have peace at all cost usually become pushovers because they won’t stand up for or against anyone or anything. While you may be thinking it is in the best interest of everyone, remember the martyr complex – I am not like the others; if they want an argument, then I will show peace. It’s a great strategy to have except at the time when your boundaries have been crossed.

  • Someone bullies you at your workplace, gently, harshly, with laughter or otherwise but you remain quiet, thinking the situation will pass on or the colleague will go away. It won’t. The same kind of people and situations will keep coming back into your life until you learn to stand up to them.
  • Learning to say ‘NO’ to more work than you can handle. No one else will value your time if you don’t.
  • Calling out people or situations when they cross the boundaries of what you believe and stand for. A close friend who thinks it’s okay to laugh at sexist jokes even if it makes you uncomfortable, should be made to understand your discomfort. Or a snide remark aimed at you for giving priority to your career over children or vice versa should not be passed over for fear of upsetting relationships.

Also, observe these same patterns in your personal relationships. Do you feel people closest to you end up hurting you the most? Your personal life is mirroring your professional life even if you have been thinking they are separate. Of course, you don’t have to pick every fight and every argument. But knowing which battles to stand up for will help you in the long run.

Myth no. 2: I need to have a child because my biological clock is ticking

Yes, of course, there is a biology to producing a child. But biology cannot be the sole factor to determine when you should have a child.

  • Ask yourself if the only reason you want to bring the child in, is because you are running out of time. If that’s true, you are trapping yourself in a cycle of fear. The fear that you might want a child five years later is trapping you now into a cycle of something you do not want or do not feel ready for.
  • You might be economically ready to have a child but are you emotionally and physically ready to do the same? Social conditioning requires a woman to give up significant years of her life to have a child and raise one. Even if you have your partner’s support, are you both ready for the emotional and financial sacrifices that a child will demand? If you feel the need to nurture a child, do question where that belief is coming from?
  • Is this world safe or conducive enough to bring a child in? With most cities in the country and the world without the basics of clean water and good air quality, do I need to add another human to the bludgeoning world population? Yes, I may be able to afford it but think of the next twenty years. If this is the situation now, what would it be like then?

Myth no. 3: Women can’t have it all

The problem lies in the question itself

The ‘All’ that we all are looking for varies from woman to woman. And even if they achieve that ‘all’ would they be happy? Because the moment you achieve ‘all’, the definition of ‘all’ changes. Today I want a child. Tomorrow I want a successful career. The next year I want both to be balanced. And then some more.

Is that goal worth chasing?

This ever-evasive ‘all’ that society has made us believe will be the ultimate source of happiness. Isn’t it better to do all that we can in the moment and focus on levelling up (or not) with each step that we take?

Moreover, the moment you ask someone if they can have it all, you are focusing on the destination rather than the journey

Go back to your last holiday and the one significant event that you remember from it. Chances are, you will remember about lost keys on a train, a stolen wallet in a crowd at a tourist spot, hours spent at a police station wondering what you are doing there.

Perhaps, you’ll remember swimming in the ocean conquering your fears, or strolling about in a new town discovering a small little café that doesn’t show on Google maps or even discovering your own inner voice in the silence, away from the daily noise of your routine.

Truth is, when you arrive at the destination, the destination itself ceases to matter

The journey that led to it and the journey that will follow always weighs far more in terms of the experiences you gather and the memories you collect. Isn’t that ‘ALL’ that we look forward to? Or remember in retrospect?

And going by that, why can’t you have it all? If you commit to the journey, the destination ceases to matter.

Truth is, both men and women need to be rescued from these myths. The day we break the myth that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, that is the day we will live together to have it all, here on planet Earth.