All my life I have been defined by others to my detriment, being seen as ‘just a girl’, ‘not worth educating’ and ‘not worth anything because I didn’t have an education’. I worked so hard to get the education I was denied as a child, only to be lied about and slandered, with my own mother and other people being told I had bought a fake Masters degree online by the ‘Mr Magnanimous’ of an earlier blog post, so that they would treat me with contempt instead of pride. Over the years I’ve been told on various occasions by different people that I’m ‘not worth anything because I am a woman’, ‘not worth being given a job because I have a chronic illness’, I’ve been treated like I had no right to my own body, my own opinions, my own thoughts, I’ve had my autonomy taken away, been told I’m unlikeable and there’s nothing I can do that would make anyone like me, told I’m unlovable because I’m me and variety and youth are necessary to be loved. My face is not symmetrical enough to be considered pretty, my body is sick and out of shape, everything is saggy and that is unacceptable and unlovable. I’ve been violated and disrespected and have been consistently taught that others have a right to do this to me and it’s my fault. I lost the ability to set boundaries. I tried to set them and the anger this created in those who were used to violating me was fierce as they tried to put me back in ‘my place’. I am 60 now and realise that I have been sold a lie. The happiest women are not the ones who have allowed others to define their value and what they are allowed to do with their lives. It’s a lie that if you lay down your life for the good of others that you will be loved and valued for that. The opposite is true. You get taken for granted, they assume you do this stuff, not out of love for them, but because it is your place to be inferior to them. I kept giving when my cup was almost empty rather than only letting others have the overflow from my full cup. My bad.
We all come up with our own definitions of people, and those judgements are often made during our initial experience with them. These judgements rarely tell a true picture of a person. The person might just have been having a bad day and is not in reality the total bitch we first assumed they were. Or they might be wearing a mask of affability which in reality hides malicious intent and a complete lack of integrity. We can be sure that some people hold definitions of us that bear no relation to who we really are and I’ve learned the importance of not allowing those definitions to affect how we are in this world.
Because of this I decided to define myself. I have lived with so many false versions of me, imposed on me by others I might as well decide what I want to be and go with that. It’ll be truer than any previous version of me that others see in their mind’s eye. So I choose to define myself as Wonder Woman. This is tongue in cheek, but I like what her character represents and choose not only to define myself according to her character attributes, but aim to live up to them. The attributes I’m choosing to define myself by and live up to are:
- strength, both inner and outer
- belief in own power and purpose
- able to have good relationships without ‘needing’ anyone
- dedicated to getting the job done
- listens to counsel but then acts in accordance with own beliefs of what is right
- not limited by the beliefs of others
- commands respect and even though she does not get it from many, she does not allow that to effect her
- never troubled by the opinions of others
- gives from the overflow of her resources
Coming next: Don’t let in the clowns