What every young woman needs to know!

As we continue to make progress with a lot of social issues such as women’s issues, I can’t help but notice that while some progress has been made, many young women do not understand the true meaning of a lot of the movements centered around us. It is becoming more common to see young women mistakenly believe that being an independent and strong woman simply means to be aggressive in their professional goals but they neglect the personal side. We are capable of so much more and deserve to be viewed as much more than shrewd professionals, loving homemakers, or unfortunately opportunists. Sadly, this last category seems to be quickly overpowering the former two as our society becomes more exposed to various reality shows. Our youth today believes so much in instant gratification that everyone now looks for the fastest way to success ignoring that many times, the faster you reach success, the harder you crash. In our quest to become rich, famous, or successful, many of us women have forgotten that being a well rounded woman should be what we aspire to become. Growing up my parents instilled a few principles in my sister and I and I truly believe that they are still valuable today:

  1. Every woman should get an education – whether you choose to be a stay at home mom/wife or you want to be in the workforce, you should at least get a certificate, license, or a degree. Even if you don’t make use of it for a while, having a degree not only gives you something to fall back on always, but you earn respect. Too many women feel trapped in relationships because they are unable to provide for themselves and/or their children because they do not have an education. Whatever your passion may be, get that degree!
  2. Learn the basic culinary skills – you do not need to be a great chef or be able to cook like your mom or grandmother but you should at least have five great dishes that you are able to make. Learning your way around the kitchen does not mean you need to be in there every day. You simply need to learn how to make decent meals. No matter what you hear, there is nothing cute about a girl that only knows how to make reservations.
  3. Be able to properly manage a home – this goes for any adult out of college or that has passed college age! However, in keeping with a theme for the ladies, this is one of my biggest pet peeves! Get decent coordinating furniture, have a set of matching plates, replace your plastic cups with some real drink ware and learn how to pick up a broom and dusting cloth every once in a while. Everyone over 25 should be able to properly maintain a home (regardless of your living situations).
  4. Learn to balance a budget – it is no longer cute once you pass 21, no self-respecting lady  (strenuous situations aside) should have to be going to mom or dad or worst significant other to pay your bills. You should have your priorities straight! If you are fortunate enough to have a good job, learn how to invest your money, start saving, open a retirement fund. If you are currently dodging unidentified phone numbers (debt collectors), you have no business being in the mall trying to add to your credit card bills just to get the latest fashion trend or worse, you have no business making it rain at any club. Financial irresponsibility will follow you years after the hottest spot in town closes and surely longer than the latest hot fashions.
  5. Get some hardware and auto mechanic knowledge – you don’t have to be the one who does your own plumbing but be sure to know what the difference between a hammer and a wrench is. You should also have the basic knowledge of how your car functions so you can ensure that you are not being taken advantage of every time you go to the mechanic. Plus knowing how to read the messages from your dashboard and having some knowledge of how to do some maintenance check can help save you hundreds!

I share these tips because I believe that women are fully capable of being well rounded. We are able to succeed in a profession while being able to take care of ourselves. No able woman should ever feel like she needs to be with someone because she is unable to do certain things for herself. This will keep you feeling inferior and this person may use that knowledge as a way to try to control you. As young women, we should strive to be self-sufficient rather than focusing on how to get rich quick using any means necessary. Self-sufficiency helps increase self-worth and help us earn the respect of others.

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Know Your Worth!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, an oldie R&B song by Otis Redding made famous by Aretha Franklin in 1967 is probably one of our go to music when we feel disrespected or whenever we are want to heighten our confidence. However, how many of us once the tune has stopped can truly say that we truly understand our self-worth? While it is easy for us to simply say that we know we are valuable or priceless, do we truly know what it means to actually know our worth?
To start to decipher this concept of self-worth, I think it is important to break it into two categories: personal and professional. This separation is only done to help establish the definitions but in no way does it separate one from the other. While both the personal and professional make up our overall self-worth, many of us have only been able to master one aspect and few are those who have mastered both.
Personal self-worth can be identified as the knowledge of what we bring to the table as individuals. Whether it is your reliability, honesty, intelligence, caring nature, or your ability to put a smile on others’ faces; these aspects of your character help you embrace and understand your contribution to those around you. While personal self-worth can affect one’s self-esteem, it is not necessarily a great indicator of how one views himself/herself. However with most of us, the more valued we feel by those around us, the more positive effect it will have on our self-esteem.
Professional self-worth is easier to describe and is the value that you hold as a professional. This is closely related to your education, training, and most of all experience. It grows over time but unfortunately, some of us never realize our contribution to the workplace until we receive recognition or simply realize that we have a lot more knowledge (and sometimes education) than members of the leadership team.
Overall, whether it is in our personal or professional life, we must learn to acknowledge our worth. There is nothing worse than witnessing someone get taken advantage of. Whether at work or in a personal relationship, it is imperative that we constantly reevaluate whether we are currently as happy as we would like to be and to be honest with ourselves and admit when we deserve better and work towards obtaining better. Knowing your worth leads to higher confidence and self-esteem. When you recognize your self-worth, you must also act accordingly in order to uphold a higher standard which will dictate how others will view and treat you. After all, whether we recognize it or not, people are only able to treat us as good/bad as we are allowing them to.
I hope this article will help motivate you to want to reach a higher level of happiness in life and discover yourself and establish your own self-worth. When you do, be sure to never forget it!

Reese