Are you a Superwoman? Do you do everything yourself, reject offers for help, and resist compliments?
Hah! Caught you there. I bet you thought that being a Superwoman was a good thing. And it is. But perhaps not in the way that you think it is.
For too many years, I tried to be a Superwoman—working hard to do everything myself and rejecting offers of help from others. I even rejected compliments. If someone complimented me or thanked me, I dismissed it with a “no big deal” statement. Or even worse, I didn’t believe them.
Nowadays, my definition of being a Superwoman is a woman who knows that she has limited time, energy and resources. She chooses wisely, practices self-care and respects herself enough to rest, enjoy moments in time, and take action where she can.
She receives help with grace and honesty, because with humility, she knows that being human means she can’t do it all herself. She receives gifts and compliments because she is open to being vulnerable and enjoys connection with others who are being generous with their words and care.
Now, which kind of Superwoman are you? One that does it all herself and feels drained and resentful or one who is open and receptive to help, gifts and compliments?
If receiving causes you emotional distress, it is important to question why that is. Why are you uncomfortable? Is it because you’ve decided that if someone is offering you a favor, you’ll owe her something in return? Or that she is too busy and doesn’t really mean it? Have you decided that the person complimenting you is just being nice, but her words couldn’t possibly be true?
All these reasons for rejecting or dismissing safe help or kind, sincere compliments are rooted in fear and control. As a Superwoman, you don’t need to receive from people you don’t feel safe with, nor should you receive what causes you physical or emotional distress. A Superwoman cherishes her being and uses wise discernment. But if the offer would be helpful, and you are released from the task of doing something all by yourself, can you receive that? And if someone compliments your looks or something about your personality, can you just say a plain “thank you” with a smile?
Let’s take a look at the fear and control factor. When you reject an offer for help because you think that your friend can’t afford the time, you’re trying to control her reality. You are deciding that she doesn’t know herself well enough to make healthy decisions regarding her time and energy. You are driving in her lane of life.
When you reject or dismiss a compliment, you are attempting to decide someone’s experience of you. Perhaps you fear that you can’t possibly live up to how she is experiencing you.
But can you imagine stepping into new shoes? Imagine being a woman who feels safe with her vulnerability.
A Superwoman doesn’t keep a scoreboard in her mind. She trusts others to own their own reality; if they offer help, they mean it. And if they feel taxed by their offer, then they will have learned an important lesson in self-care—the lesson being: don’t offer if you can’t—the other person just may say yes and take you up on it.
A Superwoman owns her own reality as well; she trusts herself to know when she is able to give, how much, and to whom. If she wants to do a favor, then she does. She knows her capabilities and limitations. She knows who she wants connection with and who she doesn’t.
A Superwoman receives help graciously and trusts herself to know whether she wants what the other person is offering. She also discerns who is offering. If she does not want a connection with that person or has found that person to be untrustworthy in the past, then she says, “No, thank you.”
A Superwoman receives compliments with humility and a simple “thank you” because she trusts that this is how the person experiences her. And she receives that with grace.
Each time that a woman rejects an offer from someone she does like, she is rejecting that person. And each time a woman dismisses a compliment, she is rejecting the person giving the compliment. And each of these times, she is also rejecting herself and her own humanness.
Being a Superwoman means being vulnerable. Vulnerable to connection with others and vulnerable to the reality that she is human and can’t do everything herself.
It’s a matter of choosing “to trust” rather than “to fear”.
It is a choice.
At first, you may feel a bit uncomfortable, but it does get easier with time. Just receiving and simply stating “thank you” makes a huge shift in emotional energy—a shift from fear and control to humility, grace and receptivity.
So for today, try choosing trust over fear.
Receive, Receive, Receive.
This is a Superwoman.