Thursday 8 September: Today is R U OK? Day, which is all about empowering us to connect and speak up when things maybe aren’t as okay as usual.
It’s a simple question to ask, but sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to answer. Especially if, as young women, we’re told we need to be seen as strong if we want to be taken seriously.
I’m here to tell you should always be determined and pursue your goals and keep dreaming big, but don’t be scared to be vulnerable too.
It’s something I’ve had to learn when my schedule got so busy that I forgot to factor in some much-needed me time and found myself crying in my car not knowing why (I’m convinced I need my own reality tv show).
Young women, especially ambitious gals like us, often feel like we need to prove ourselves to the boys by being strong, assertive and powerful. In academics, in business, and on the sports field.
But being vulnerable and allowing yourself to ask someone for help or advice doesn’t make you weak – It makes you human.
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami said “What happens when people open their hearts?”
“They get better”.
Don’t lose your drive or your passion, but understand that it’s okay to stop and take a breather. You need it. And it’s okay to need it.
We can be too critical on ourselves, and the words we say to ourselves are often nastier than what we would ever say to someone else.
On your journey to reaching your goals, you’re going to face challenges. Be tough, but also be ready to stop and say ‘hey, I’m okay but I’m struggling a little bit’. That’s being resilient and you will overcome this hurdle having learnt SO MUCH!
Independence is super duper important, but so is having a wonderful network of people that genuinely care about you and are prepared to help, even if you don’t ask.
Your gal pals will have your back no matter what.
You’re not letting anyone down by admitting that you’re struggling. And you will certainly feel much better by talking it out when you feel the stress levels rising, rather than bottling it up and imploding (note: you won’t actually implode but it won’t be good).
There’s still value in an optimistic outlook, trusting others, and genuinely connecting with people. You don’t need to be a lonely or emotionless or super intimidating to be a #girlboss.
I’m still working on this. It’s not the easiest thing to do. But connecting with others and admitting that you need help from time to time really, truly helps. We can try together – the first step is asking, are you okay?