In times such as these, where women are still fighting for it all — to earn equal pay, to have appropriate family leave, to find a work-life-personal balance, to keep it together. Oftentimes, women find themselves in a place where they settle for another person’s agenda.
Of course, compromising is key in a relationship, but we do not want to get into a situation where we find someone who dictates our lives. After all, we’re adults. We’ve had 18 years (or more) with our parents telling us when, where, and what to do (usually for good reason).
Plus, strong women don't let controlling men dictate their lives. So, read on, because when you know how to be confident, you'll understand that these are the five signs you’re the type of woman who’d never let a man control her.
1. You refuse to settle.
As a marriage and family therapist who also happens to be married herself, I have counseled thousands of single young adults hoping to find a good compatible match.
It's been an observable pattern to see that once a woman refuses to completely do a 180 in order to please others, or is dating someone who has nothing to offer (the person is married or otherwise unavailable), she is able to find a match who will let her live the way she wants to.
2. You accept yourself.
Yes, the good, bad, and the ugly. We are all a work-in-progress. That’s why it’s called the journey of life — and not the destination. How do you talk to yourself when no one’s around? Do you think, "Wow, this dress really looks good on me!" or "I can never look good, no matter how I try"?
We eventually become what we tell ourselves, and an extension of that is we become who we most often spend time with. If you’re telling yourself that you deserve that promotion, that you should be happy, or that you are worth the good friends you have in life, no way are you going to let someone you’re with tell you any differently.
3. You value yourself and set appropriate limits.
Kind of goes with the previous quality, but this is important in terms of how you deem your worth. I’m not talking about being a total narcissist but just respecting yourself.
What do I mean? You listen to your needs and wants, and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. If you’ve had a hard day at work and your date is trying to get you to go to a bar when all you want to do is stay in and take a hot bath, they should respect that.
You have enough self-worth to not have the need to convince others that you should be validated — it comes from within.
4. You trust and stick to your intuition.
When something or someone doesn’t feel right, you listen to your gut. You pay attention to the little voice in the back of your head that says, "Caution: Watch out. He’s had way too much to drink. Don’t go home with him; just call your friend to come get you."
5. You know what you want and aren’t afraid to go after it.
You have goals and dreams and are on the path to achieving them. These goals don’t have to be scholastic; they can be about anything — from starting an online business to spending more days at the gym.
You know who you are and are busy chasing and planning your endeavors. You have a life and aren’t waiting around for other people (or a love interest) to jumpstart or initiate your next steps.
These aforementioned five qualities are inherent in strong women who understand the concept that a relationship is not a way to compensate for a hole somewhere in their lives. With support, more strong women role models for young girls, and more hard work in our society, hopefully women can come to the understanding that they, rather than any man, have the true control in creating their own destiny.
Dr. Maxine Langdon Starr is a marriage and family therapist specializing in adolescents and young adults.