By: Emily Bihm
I’ve found lately that in times of anxiety and confusion about my current life circumstances, the best advice has come from women older, and much wiser, than I. If we have a problem at work, with friends, or in our relationships, we often turn to our moms, aunts, grandmothers, or other women in our lives that have been through the same struggles and survived. These strong women can be found all throughout history. Below are four incredible women who have lived through discrimination, persecution, and doubt, and yet they all have had a profound impact on the world. Their wise words can offer us a sense of purpose and drive us to fulfill our potential in every way.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Words hurt. We all know how it feels to be discouraged, belittled, and made to feel less than what we truly are. The only difference between these people who seek to tear us down and us, is that we can choose to be the bigger person. Only recently, I was faced with a former colleague making statements that made me feel inferior, and I let him. Instead of acknowledging that what he said had no real validity, I obsessed over it for days wondering if he was right. It was not until I re-read Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote that I realized I only felt so bad because I let his words get to me. No one can ever understand all the struggles you face both internally and externally. People will always pass judgment on what you do. Instead of letting their heartless remarks eat away at you, remember what Roosevelt said. You are the only person that controls your happiness; do not let others take that away from you.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
The best way to control our own happiness is by loving ourselves. It is said that others cannot love you until you love yourself. This is very true. We must find an appreciation and passion for ourselves before we can expect to have successful relationships, friendships, or careers. Loving ourselves produces confidence, courage, and an unshakable strength. Finding self-love is not the easiest of tasks, but it is at the core of succeeding in all aspects of life. As Ball says, loving yourself is how you accomplish things in this world. If you don’t like what you do or how you act people will not want to hire you, date you, or be around you in general. Self-love is the greatest gift we can give because we are able to present our best selves to the world.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
Many people move through day-to-day life without doing anything remarkable or interesting. Life is not a maze that we are just supposed to get through and move on to the next thing. Life is a beautiful opportunity to meet new people, eat rare foods, lose yourself in an amazing novel, laugh until you hurt, and love so deeply that the earth trembles. Angelou tells us that life is not just about surviving all the hurt and pain, but rather living each moment brilliantly. Pursue your goals with tenacity, treat others with kindness, make people smile, and make sure that people remember you. It is not cliché to say live life to the fullest. It is the theme that we should use to guide each and every day because no one is going to live our lives for us.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
Life is not just about the love we have for ourselves but also the way we treat the people we interact with. Whether these people are friends or enemies, every human being deserves kindness. Smiling at a complete stranger could change their entire outlook on life. I know that at times people have seemed unfriendly, but as soon as I smile at them, they smile right back. It isn’t often that someone will not return your smile (though it does happen) so why not? Maybe the angry looking man on the bus just got his heart broken, and your warm smile softened his pain if only for a split second. No matter what your mood, always try to smile at people; it will make you feel better, and it will make them feel better too. As Mother Theresa says, we don’t know what change our smile could instigate, so smile, laugh, and watch as the world becomes a more pleasant place.
Image courtesy anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since graduating from college two years ago, Emily has been working as a waitress at a local breakfast restaurant. She enjoys writing and reading in her free time and hopes to have her own column in the future. She loves music, watching Netflix, spending time with friends and loved ones, and walking her dog Ollie.