What does it mean to be ‘Strong’ and ‘Independent’?

I recently read an inspiring blog written by none other than one of my closest friends Gowri, which addresses something which I never thought to pay that much attention to – the notion of a ‘strong, independent woman.’

I am not here to summarise what she wrote because honestly I want each and every one of you to take your time to read her blog yourself, so below is the link (please do read her blog before you carry on to read mine):

https://gowrispage.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/on-the-strong-independent-woman/

This piece I write is one in which I would like to demonstrate my own opinions regarding this topic.

Firstly, I completely agree with what Gowri discusses in her blog. I would also like to put my hands up and say that I have fallen victim of seeking mythical validation through this notion as well.

Men do not validate themselves by calling themselves ‘strong’ or ‘independent’. If we are living in a gender-equal society, then women should not need to seek such validation either; yet the issue here is that there are still several women who are doing so.

The number of girls and women I have seen who keep posting on social media that they are ‘strong’ and ‘independent’. Why? This is my burning question. Why are you seeking for constant validation or needing to prove your worth to people you hardly know? By doing so, you are merely making several people question whether you are actually ‘strong’ or ‘independent’.

Secondly, towards the end of Gowri’s blog she opens it to the floor to define what ‘strong’ and ‘independent’ means for them. Therefore, that is what I am going to do.

I have come to realise that I am truly strong when I come to terms with myself that I do have weaknesses and flaws. I never try to paint a picture that I am perfect, because I definitely am not. My strength, however, comes from addressing my imperfections. It gives me total control over myself and this is why I really value ‘me-time’. I spend a good few hours a week just on my own, in my own little bubble. I am not ashamed of it at all. This is my time to look at my life and grow; work on myself and find ways of becoming a better person whom I can respect and love day by day.

In my opinion, independence is nothing more than a myth. Whilst many think that to be independent and successful is a one-man/woman job, I think the complete opposite. I am truly independent when I have identified that to grow I need to identify when I need help, and hence seek for it. I very much rely on a good team who support and advise me, yet give me space to work on it on my own as well. My team is why I am able to grow day by day, understand my own potentials and push myself further and further.

I am truly strong and independent when I am not defensive when people turn around to me and say that I am wrong. I am truly strong and independent when I sit down with these people and work through their mind-set. I am truly strong and independent when I explain my standpoint and we, as a team, find solutions where the final outcome is nothing less than something positive.

I believe that regardless of whether you are a man or woman, you do not need to constantly seek for validation from people you hardly know, especially through social media, in addition to other mediums as well.

One’s actions should speak a lot louder that their words. Do not keep saying out loud that you are strong and independent, instead prove it through your actions to an extent that you do not need to constantly validate yourself.

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