Have you ever very nearly tipped over your coffee mug with your blanket, only to pick it up to take a regular sip and proceed to spill it down the front of your shirt? Because that is what inspired me to tell you what I tell myself every day: You don’t have it all together, and that’s okay. You might be thinking that you’re a one badass lady, and I would agree. Personally, however, I find it exhausting having to constantly hold myself to this “#GirlBoss” standard. Is anyone with me?
With amazing, empowering movements including the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement sweeping the nation and world at large, women are being more encouraged to speak up than ever, it seems. What an age to live and grow within! I have never felt more proud to be a woman, holding my head high and looking for every #GirlBoss quote I can find on Pinterest. So why does this stress me out sometimes?
I am also a human being.
Perhaps I have always held myself to a high standard, but it seems that there is a call for a kind of put-together, go-getting, well-read, intelligent, loud, professionalized woman that I cannot meet 24/7. And that’s the thing. Girl power forever, ladies, but you are also allowed to not be picture perfect every second of your life. You are allowed to be imperfect, unproductive, unmotivated, messy, and not Insta-worthy all day, every day, which I think is even more girl power.
We have all heard the ‘social media leads to comparison’ lecture at some point, but the bottom line is essentially true. According to a 2014 study done by the University of Toledo, “Indeed, [social networking sites] provide the perfect platform for meticulous self-presentation. Users can selectively allow content onto their proﬁles, post pictures, and describe themselves in ways that best represent their ideal self-views” (Ekles et. al, 2014, pg. 207). The study found that people who use Facebook often experience more upward comparison, or when one compares ‘up’ in terms of socioeconomic class or perceived socioeconomic class, generally decreasing self-esteem.
The important takeaway is what you see on social media is the airbrushed version of someone’s life, the modern-day version of perfect bodies on magazine covers, something no one can attain because it does not exist. No one does this on purpose. In fact, I would argue that it’s a good thing that people tend to put their best foot forward. However, my point is that no one posts a picture of themselves laying in bed all day, eating Cheetos and watching Netflix, but that’s probably a more accurate depiction than that tidy office photo.
It may seem like this is encouraging women to be less productive, not pushing them hard enough. In my view, it’s hard enough to be a woman, why should we add extra stress that no man ever even thinks about? This doesn’t kill my drive, but it takes away the guilt I feel on days when I just need to give myself a break.
Work your hardest and give it your best, but, just like everybody else, us girl bosses aren’t always at 100%. I came across an extremely profound quote the other day, which I believe sums up the message I am attempting to portray: “Your worth is not measured by your productivity.” At times, it can feel like if you don’t check off every box on your “to-do” list, you aren’t even worthy enough to drink out of the Girl Boss mug you have sitting at the corner of your desk. But guess what? You are a human being and don’t have to have it all together, and that doesn’t make you any less of a #GirlBoss.