As I often mock complain to my lovely partner: “Sometimes, it's hard to be a woman. You can't argue with Tammi Wnyette.” (He's wise enough to simply nod in agreement.)
“Giving all your love to just one man” can be hard work - if he's one of those tiresome men who:either don't deserve it, or don't reciprocate.
Unfortunately, there are other reasons, too, why it's hard to be a woman. It has a lot to do with the relationship we women have with ourselves. To say that the milk of human kindness doesn't run through our veins when we're deep in our own internal dialogue is putting it mildly.
Most women are caring, compassionate, and empathetic – except when it comes to themselves. When it comes to them, they rarely miss a chance to remind themselves of everything that's wrong with them; as in, they don't have the body of Elle Macpherson, the youth of Jennifer Lawrence, the looks of Angelina Jolie, or the brains of Carol Vorderman.
Do we women spend a lot of time comparing ourselves negatively to other women?
The worst thing is, that most women don't have a clue how negative they are being: it just feels “natural”. It wouldn't feel natural to put friends, or children down, in that way. (The one person I cheerfully put down is my little dog Basil – who I often refer to as "The Snuggly Ugly". I can do this not just because he really is drop-dead gorgeous, but because he truly couldn't care less. He doesn't have have an issues with being lovable: he's perfectly comfortable with who and what he is.)
Wouldn't it be nice to have Basil's deep sense of self-worth? To have his strong belief in being great exactly as you are?
So, how do you do it?
It has a lot to do with NOT taking 'thoughts' too seriously.
There is Thought, that it is to say the capacity for high-level abstract thinking – which is one of the glories of the human brain. And then there are the 'thoughts' that knock around most people's heads, most of the time. These 'thoughts' are little better than detritus, left over from popular culture.
A cursory reading of the papers over the past few days tells me I should definitely be adding:
- bingo wings
- back fat
- liver stains on my hands, and
- ageing vocal chords
to the - almost infinite - list of imperfections I could be agonizing over.
Does one woman even have enough time in her busy day to agonize over all her alleged physical, and emotional imperfections?
More to the point, why bother?
Is it not a waste of our brain-power, and our quality of life?
When you get caught up in this mental detritus it doesn't make you feel good, at all.
Michael Neill speaks about how we 'get caught in the feeling of our thinking'. That may sound complicated. It isn't. It simply means that our negative thoughts feel awful, so that when we pay attention to them we end up feeling awful.
What to do instead?
Acknowledge that your 'thoughts' are all over the place – that's their job description - and remind yourself that you, and your quality of life, are more important than the burning issue of being humanly imperfect.
Even when your thinking may feel disastrous, it's just what's going through your head at a given moment. Past experience tells you that those feelings can disappear. Since they can disappear, it just goes to show that they don't have to be fixtures. Which means you don't have to put yourself through the misery of letting them run the show.
When we let our 'thoughts' run away with us, it's harder to be a woman than it needs to be. There are better anthems around than “Sometimes it's hard to be woman”. What anthem chimes best with you?