Nothing I say in this post is new, but sometimes we forget and we need to be reminded. As women, we go through different stages in life that change and shape us on a daily basis. Whether you just had a baby, work 12 hours a day, run your own business or just went through a difficult breakup, time doesn’t stop and life doesn’t press the “Pause” button for you. But here’s the thing: when you don’t have the necessary amount of life experiences and human interactions, your mind starts to fall asleep. You begin to slowly lose interest in things that make you the unique person that you are. You can get complacent and not even know it. A friend of mine came over a few days ago and we got talking about how the end of my days of working from home is long overdue lol. After she left, I got thinking about all the things that women forego when we are in certain stages of life. Here’s a quick reminder of five things that every woman should aspire to have regardless of where you currently are:
Your Own Walk With God: No one can know God for you. No one will pray for you as hard as you will pray for yourself. When you seek to consistently pursue God for yourself, it becomes difficult for you to be drawn into any kind of false doctrine. It also gives you a confidence that nothing else can give you. I’ve heard someone call it “God-fidence”; nothing shakes you because you know where your foundation lies. Knowing God for yourself gets you through tough times and reminds you that there is a plan for your life that no one can alter. God is able to direct your decisions and actions on a daily basis. Whether it’s waking up ten minutes earlier to pray in the morning or downloading and using a free devotional (if you have YouVersion Bible, there are a ton of free devotionals there) or finding a bible-believing church to join, never stop trying to get closer to God. It is a necessity!
Your Own Money: The importance of being financially independent cannot be overemphasized. The goal of every woman should be to be able to support herself by having a source of income (these days, having multiple sources of income is the goal). For a long time, financial education for African women could be summed up in one sentence: go to school, graduate, and get married so that your husband can take care of you. Thankfully, that mentality is fading. The progress is slow, but it is there. With the rise of women like Arese Ugwu who are dedicated to educating African women on money management and income generation, millennials are beginning to shift their way of thinking. If finding a job is what you need to do, get up and start working on that resume. If you need a better job to balance your income and expenses, dust your resume today, get on LinkedIn, and start working on your brand. If you’re not about that 9-5 life, figure out what business you can start. Do your research and find resources; you’d be surprised how much honest money you can make. Also, find out how to invest the money you make so that your money can go to work for you.
Your Own Goals & Ambitions: Earlier this year, I wrote about setting your goals for the year. This is NOT the same as making a new year resolution to go to the gym five times this year. This is more like telling yourself what you want to achieve and having an action plan to make it happen. I will go a step further and say that a goal is a statement of faith. Believe it or not, if it honors God’s will for your life, He will make it happen as long as you keep your own end of the bargain by working hard. Set goals for yourself, be an ambitious woman. These days, when a woman says she’s ambitious, it’s interpreted negatively when in fact, an ambitious woman is a force to be reckoned with. Aim for that promotion, earn that degree, take that trip, finish that project, lose the weight, give back. Make sure that you have goals that make you want to get out of bed in the morning. That’s the best way to live.
Your Own Friends: Having girlfriends with whom you have solid, healthy relationships is a blessing. Sister-friends have proven to be a safe and helpful support system in tough times; in good times, they celebrate you like no other. It’s hard to find that these days because some women have taken it upon ourselves to be disloyal and petty. Every woman deserves to have her own tribe of supportive women cheering her on. Your circle doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be right. Maintain a philosophy of ‘quality over quantity’ when it comes to friends. Have women in your circle that you can learn from, who inspire you to be better. When I first got to my church in Baltimore, my pastor gave me the best advice I could have gotten at the time: “if you want to make friends, show yourself friendly”. As much as you want to make sure that you surround yourself with good friends, make sure that you are also being a good friend to these women. Resist the urge to say something about another woman in her absence that you cannot utter in her presence; you never know what she’s going through.
Your Own Interests: I like to eat, this is a well-known fact by my friends and family. I like to try different types of food, so sometimes, I get dolled-up, get in my car, and go to a restaurant alone. I know some might find this strange, but I try my best to dine solo at least twice a month and I love it! Why? Because it’s how I recharge and that’s when I get spend time with me. What makes makes YOU happy? Travel, reading, skateboarding, volunteering, cooking, sewing? Plan dates for yourself and have fun alone. If you enjoy your own company, it’s easy to not depend on others for your happiness. Having and maintaining your own interests helps you recharge and keeps you sane on your journey. No one can make you happy, your happiness should always come from within. Have your own interests, it makes you more interesting and keeps you excited about life.
In the end, there are circumstances that may cause a woman to live below her own expectations of herself, but don’t let anything keep you down for too long. You are a shining light that is not destined to ever grow dim. The grace a woman carries is beyond even her own understanding. Let this knowledge guide you!