Self-esteem in women needs to be sky high. But how can women avoid poor self-esteem when they are subjected to pathetic and patronising comments if they become upset?
Is it any wonder that some of us suffer from poor self-esteem when we hear remarks such as, "What a bitch", or "You're too emotional", or "You're over sensitive" when we get upset about anything. Self-esteem in women can take a battering in the presence of such comments.
Inappropriate interpretations of our emotions can be experienced particularly when we are angry. For example, if women get angry at work, they can be subjected to comments that imply something is wrong with them and thus self-esteem in women can become deflated.
Why is it that women aren't simply allowed to be angry?" If a man is angry people say "He is angry". They don't say "Oh he is angry, his testosterone must be too high". Or, "He is angry, poor love, he can't cope with a high workload". Instead, people will just say, "He is angry". Thus he does not risk a poor self-esteem. It is not so for women.
For example, a group of women I was talking to this week reported hearing the following comments about themselves or other women in their workplace when they were angry:
- "She's a ball-buster."
- "What an aggressive bitch."
- "You're clearly not coping."
- "She can't have that much drive, she can't be a real woman, she must be a lesbian." (This is an insult to all women, lesbian and straight.)
- "She must be worried about her children."
- "Watch out, she's got PMT."
- "Oh, it's that time of month, is it?"
No wonder self-esteem in women can suffer. What are we all meant to do? Just sit around and smile meekly? We'll be producing smelling salts at meetings next.
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Irrespective of whether people have good or poor self-esteem, anger is a normal human emotion in both men and women. Being angry is a natural response in situations in which a person is thwarted or feels a sense of injustice or feels powerless to take action or be heard. It is normal for women to feel angry in such circumstances surely? Of course it is. It is a myth that women shouldn't be angry.
The problem is, if self-esteem in women suffers on hearing such stupid comments, then it is going to be hard to deflect them.
It is very important that we do not take such comments seriously, that we can laugh them off and that we avoid poor self-esteem. They are, after all, an ignorant evaluation of women's emotions.
Let me set the position straight. Being "nice" all the time is a totally distorted expectation of women. We must not expect it of ourselves nor expect it of other women. It is up to all of us to help maintain self-esteem in women. One way of doing this is by allowing all women to express a full range of emotions without punitive putdowns.
If we feel anger it is vital we accept that anger can be a normal emotion. What we do with it matters; having it is normal. It does not mean we are not coping, it means we are angry. It does not mean that we have PMT, it means we are angry. It does not mean we are bitchy, ball-busting, hard, bossy or aggressive. It means we are angry.
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Let us protect self-esteem in women by accepting that it is normal for women to feel and express anger. After all, there is so much injustice and inequality in the workplace, why wouldn't women be angry?
If we don't accept women's anger as natural and we subject them to such patronising and punitive remarks there is a danger the anger will go underground. This doesn't mean it will go away it just means it will get channelled into a different form of expression. It may turn into backstabbing, gossip, sarcasm or resentful and harmful actions. None of these is healthy for self-esteem in women. Such actions can also harm relationships at work.
Anger needs to be accepted in women and self-esteem in women protected.
What comments have you heard when you've been angry? Or do you keep your anger hidden for fear of such hurtful and pathetic comments from others?
If you hear comments like these how do you stop yourself from developing poor self-esteem?
Written by Rachel Green: Motivational Speaker | Award-winning Communication & Networking Specialist.
Rachel is the Founding Director of Confident Woman Australia and author of 17 CDs including the 2 CD set Confidence for women at work and our free Confident Woman E-Book: Boost your self-esteem: How to look good without plastic surgery.
She is available to come and talk to your group on: "Sparkling with confidence at work". Book her now: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Confident Woman Australia 2010.
NB: This article is for your information only and does not constitute individual advice. Everyone is different. It is not provided as an alternative to obtaining professional advice from an appropriately qualified practitioner. Please seek the help you need.