Lies Women Tell

We’ve all heard them, catchphrases that we recite to ourselves and to each other to motivate, inspire, and encourage us.  These slogans seem especially helpful when we are feeling overwhelmed and filled with doubt; but, they simply aren’t true.

Let’s examine a few of these mistruths.

1) You can have it all

This is something I have struggled with for years – juggling my roles as a wife, mother, full-time physician and medical director, and budding entrepreneur. I used to believe that I could have it all if I simply outlined my goals, made lists, prioritized my tasks, and managed my time more effectively. You’ve heard it – work smarter, not harder!

Umm, well, so this has gotten me nowhere. Some days my mommy game is tight; but, on other days I forget to sign school forms and fail to put money in my children’s lunch account though I rocked my outpatient clinic. What I have learned is that I can have it all but just not all at the same time. In this season in my life with 3 young children and a new consulting business in the works, there will be times when I pour much of my focus into my children and less on providing clinical care and scheduling date nights with my hubby. At other times, I may shift my energy to my job because I have to complete continuing medical education credits or I have a big presentation coming up.  I no longer strive to give 100% to each role every day because, frankly, it’s impossible.

I am woman, hear me roar; but, hey, even superheroes can’t do it all in one day.

2) Beauty is only skin deep

In an era where a woman’s value is placed upon her youth, measurements, and physical appearance, the adage “beauty is only skin deep” is hypocrisy. Women spend billions of dollars every year on makeup, skincare regimens, Botox, body sculpting procedures, and plastic surgery to achieve what many would argue is a very narrow ideal of beauty.

Thankfully there has been a recent trend in the media in which a more inclusive view of beauty is depicted and even celebrated where Wwomen of color, older women, and women falling outside of conventional size standards are all featured.  Female celebrities post “make up free” images on their social media pages, and beauty campaigns celebrate the diversity of beauty.

Indeed, a woman’s outer appearance is no substitute for her character; but, your health is your wealth. While focusing on outer beauty so that society deems you attractive and desirable is not the primary goal, attention to your overall health and well-being should be.  That means adopting healthy eating habits, limiting your sugar and alcohol intake, engaging in regular exercise, practicing good self-care, and managing your stress in healthy ways. Outer beauty as one proxy for health and wellness is definitely not a bad thing.

3) You earn what you are worth once you find the right job

You graduated in the top of your high school class, obtained your Bachelor’s degree from a prestigious university, and just completed your doctoral program.  Your resume is on point. Your pair your navy pin stripe suit with a delicate strand of pearls and walk boldly into the board room for your interview armed with a polished resume and a warm smile that exudes confidence. This is your dream job, and landing this position represents the pinnacle of success.  Only a few days later you receive the call you’ve been waiting for.  The company has offered you the job; but, much to your dismay, the salary is lower than you expected.  So what do you do? This is your dream job, right? Just accept the offer and then ask for a raise once you have proven that you are indispensable.

Here’s the problem – you get what you negotiate, NOT what you are worth. The gender pay gap persists despite changes in educational attainment and the composition of women in the workforce. In the spring 2017 post entitled, “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” the American Association of University Women (AAUW) notes that American women were paid only 80% of what men were paid according to data from the 2015 US Census Bureau. 

With such an appalling statistic, a few statements bear repeating! Your dream job does not lead to your dream salary – you get what you negotiate, NOT what you are worth. It’s most certainly not fair or equal though it is a disheartening reflection of how society values women in this country.

Know your value, know your worth, and learn how to negotiate!

4) The best things in life are free

Big dreams, belly busting laughs, nighttime snuggles with my babies, and stolen kisses … yes some of the best things in life are free.  I also choose to  celebrate the everyday beauty in life, practice gratitude, and serve others. Each of these actions I do freely as they fill my love bucket and remind me to count my blessings daily and to never forget the fragility of life.

But some of the best things also cost money like travel and vacations, fly shoes, spa treatments, and experiences for my children. I have worked very hard and sacrificed so that I can play hard and fully enjoy all that this life has to offer.

5) Good things come to those who wait

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines wait as “to stay in a place until an expected event happens” or “to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon.”

Waiting requires patience but lacks initiative. There is no movement, no momentum. So how will good things come without action? In this day and age, I subscribe to the mindset of grabbing the bull by the horns. If I want something or desire a change in my life, waiting only leaves me stuck and in expectation.  However, if I pursue my dreams through a series of calculated steps grounded in research, discipline, commitment, and preparation then I can achieve my goals.

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