I was a very shy child. I rarely spoke up for myself and going along with the flow was the norm.
Truthfully, this shyness during the time I was a child was thought of as being rather cute but after the women’s rights explosion – beginning in the late 1960s and continuing for most of the later part of the twentieth century – which brought about a strong change of attitude among young women being ‘shy’ wasn’t so ‘cute’ any longer. Suddenly, we mothers, of which I was one by this time, were encouraging our daughters to – metaphorically – wear mens clothing. Although I never wore a man’s suit like Gertrude Stein or Diane Keaton, I was, nonetheless, learnered in how to behave as a man in certain situations which did serve me especially well in a professional setting.
It did not serve me well in the home, however. In the home the old saying “like a lamb in the kitchen but like a tiger in the bedroom” still was the smart choice to make. Unfortunately, it took the majority of young women years to learn the important difference between what should be done in the ‘home’ and what needs to be done ‘the board room’. And to realize the twain shall not meet!
Admittedly, at times I was sore with myself for needing to be so manly. But then it did make me tough and like a duck, water simply ran off my back instead of drowning me in a sea of back-slapping and cigar smoking men who had as yet to learn their place in the new society which was, in most mens opinions, unfolding too quickly before them. It was an adjustment on both sides of the sexual revolution debate at hand.
Today, things have swung back in the other direction a bit, i.e. being more feminine while holding your own in the board room. I read articles about proper dress codes which include the naughty little camisole supposedly used to indicate you are, among other things, still a woman. I hear women talking during lunches about being nicer while possessing a firmness when presenting their point of view. I am ecstatically happy to witness this nuance in progress between the sexes, at least, professionally if not in other areas.
This brings me to the three gifts: and, in my humble opinion, a woman is smart to gift herself all three.
Gift One – Being kind to yourself: being kind to yourself is in essence taking care of yourself and it is the kindest gift you can receive, and it is the one gift you are totally responsible for giving to yourself.
Gift Two – Strength in the face of adversity: knowing when to say no thank you and move on, either in a relationship or in a career, in an adult manner without tears and without spite grants a woman the positive change needed to move forward – to greener pastures – to better times – to a healthier disposition.
Gift Three – Joyfulness: and, acting like an adult when faced with any situation, instead of acting like hurt, even shy, children we grant ourselves the joys that lay ahead of us. And – joyfulness – is the best gift of all.