One of the things that I’m grateful for is to be surrounded by inspiring women. A friend at work, managers and director in the company I work for, good friends of mine, people I follow in social media, family members, and of course my own mother. What makes it interesting is that all of those women live a different path of life. They are inspiring and successful in their own way.
That makes me realize that there’s no single ‘right path’ for women to follow in this world. But, there are some paths that are accepted by the society (and maybe the norms of a culture). As consequences, there are paths that aren’t.
Men also make choices, just like women. However, they rarely get questioned by their choices. Unlike women. Women and their choices are often (if not always) questioned. As if there’s a rigid rule that women should life this way and not the other way.
In fact, there’s none. Some women choose to get married young, some choose later. Some women choose to have kids now, some choose later or even not at all. There are women who work, some others don’t. And the list goes on.
I know we can’t shut everybody’s opinion. There’s always someone who doesn’t have the same perspective, who see things differently. It doesn’t mean that they’re right and we’re wrong or vice versa. Just because something works best for them, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best thing for everybody.
What we all can do, just like what we all do to deal with differences, is to respect each other’s choices. Don’t judge. Don’t stereotype. Don’t measure success only from one perspective. Always try to look for the best thing in a person and respect her. Appreciate her. Compliment her for her ability to reach the position she has now. Congratulate her for getting a PhD. Compliment her for raising a brilliant kids.
There’s a reason why a woman chooses particular path, and who are we to judge if we haven’t been on her shoes? Women who don’t get married, maybe they really want to but there’s just seems to be no man that fit to their criteria. Mothers who work, maybe they want to give all her time for their kids but they must support the family. Wives who haven’t got kids, maybe they have tried all their best to be a mother. Those awesome women who pursue high education, they just love learning and in the future their knowledge maybe very useful for the next generation.
Seek for a good thing and say only kind words (and we can give constructive advice and feedback, too. Constructive, not destructive). Because for a woman, to live a life with their choices is hard already. Thus, to be able to live a life she’s chosen is actually an achievement. Respect her.
All women are struggling hard to make a life worth living, to contribute as much as they could to the world (just like normal human being). Insights that I got from reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is that no woman is living an ideal life. We all are juggling all our responsibilities, trying to maintain the expectation of the societies. And for that simple reason, it’s clear enough that we all should be considerate of each other instead of destroying each other’s choices and values.
❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia