March 31st marked the end of women’s history month, a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society throughout the history of our nation. Trailblazers like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan who helped redefine the role of a woman in America come to mind. Perhaps one of the most transformative messages born from the women’s movement was the concept that a woman can “have it all.”
I just returned from my last series of speeches to female collegians across the country in honor of Women’s History month on the topic, “The Myth of Having it All.” I am always amazed (and quite concerned) about the stress and anxiety young women subject themselves to by trying to do it all in order to have it all. What I reminded them and what I am inspired to remind you of today is that Feminism is not about having it all or doing it all. Feminism is about the freedom to choose what we want. I think somewhere along the path of the women’s liberation movement, we began to buy into the belief that to be an empowered women means we have to do everything that both men and women do. So instead of making choices, we have tried to fulfill both gender roles at the same time. And from my perspective, it’s not working. Instead of giving us a tremendous amount of freedom and opportunity, this concept of having it all has morphed into something that excuses putting so much on our plates that we are stressed out, burned out and running out of time for ourselves (and our loved ones) every single day.
So today I invite you to UPdate your belief of what having it all means. How can you shift from this externally referenced concept of HAVING it all to a more internally referenced idea of fulfillment by BEING your all? What choices can you make to take some things off your plate so you actually have the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy to truly be your all? An empowered woman is not burnt out, stressed out, and freaking out over accomplishing a million things on her to-do list. An empowered woman knows how to conserve her power by not chasing after external validation or obligations.
As the month of celebrating women comes to a close, I feel grateful to be a woman in the world today as it’s an exciting and important time for our gender. As we move away from the pressure cooker of having it all and gracefully slip back into our natural nature of being creative, nurturing, compassionate and receptive, we are beginning to shift the impact that women are making. The past has been about participating more fully and equally in the world. The future will be about changing the world. Hear us roar!
Christine Hassler , best-selling author of 'Twenty-something, Twenty-everything,' supports individuals in discovering the answers to the questions: "Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?" She is a Life Coach with a counseling emphasis specializing in relationships, career, money, personal development and spiritual growth. She will be presenting on 'The Myth of Having it All' at the Forté women's MBA conference on Friday, June 29.