It’s International Women’s Day, and as a result, I have spent more than few minutes on the internet in dedicated fascination of Power Females like Marie Curie, Mother Teresa, Grace Hopper, Sheryl Sandberg, and Melitta Bentz (the dear lady who revolutionized the drip coffee filter system). These super humans contributed something impressive to the world we interact with each day.
I’m inspired by these women whose lists of accomplishments require me to scroll down a number of times. In a way, though, they also intimidate me, fill me with dread, and make me feel profoundly useless.
For, as the internet reminds me today, what good is a woman without her list of accolades? What worth can she acclaim without a batch of achievements, a collection of conquests, or successful breaks within a male-dominated field?
Because my achievements often take the forms of managing to exercise on a given Monday or unclogging a toilet by myself or summoning enough courage to write something that turns out to be totally useless, I cannot help call my life into question. My list of accolades is short. My connections and skills are limited. I’m a hard worker who doesn’t have paid work at the moment. Am I only as good as the cause I’m devoted to?
Or is my perspective totally wrong?
There are those who would argue that yes, since I am not contributing my considerable talents to a lofty idea of greater prosperity, my life is unproductive. Yet I believe if we actually took time to reflect on “ordinary” women, we might discover that the lives the lead are far from unspectacular.
Reflect on the women who, when opposed with anger or hatred, choose to act with kindness. Consider the women who give their time and energy selflessly to anyone who asks. Think about the women who boldly try something new, fail with everything they have, and try again anyway. Contemplate the woman who forgives herself for her own mistakes. Ponder the woman who refuses to harbor gloom about her appearances, or who defies her mood to celebrate her body. Recall an instance in your own life when you were at the end of your tether, ready to give up, but decided not to quit.
These small decisions require authentic strength and bravery- qualities that hold efficacious power but rarely go viral. The expression of love and kindness in any form repudiates our society’s adept nature of profiting from fear, competition, and narcissism.
It’s wonderful to dream big dreams or work tirelessly for a worthy cause. If you end up reinventing the use of technology or artistic expression, that’s incredible. If you’ve got the fire, let it burn. If you’re anything like me, and you’re not sure if facing the day with a positive attitude is a worthwhile goal, keep your perspective and do what you can to help others. If any of us, regardless of our gender, takes a step towards forgiveness when we would be justified to hate, to be lively when we have the right to be lazy, to be grateful when we have little to be thankful for, we are exercising our power to reform ourselves for the better. Which means that we, however insignificant we might feel, are perfectly capable of improving the world.