People look at you and see a strong woman. They see you mothering and wifeing and friending and they think, "She's superwoman," but they don't say it. They assume you know how amazing you are. They have no idea what emotions are lying just under your skin. That feeling like you aren't good enough, like you aren't capable enough, like you aren't enough. Still, you try with every piece of you to be enough, but you never reach it.
You have a vision of what it looks like to be enough. Your vision is a woman who is unfailingly kind. She cares for the people in her life with detail and ease; No child, husband or friend is left without the care and attention they need. She takes care of her physical and mental health. She cares for her world by participation in civic and volunteer activities. She plans fun events to keep her life rich and to delight her loved ones. She has time for her responsibilities and time for herself. She is inexhaustibly happy and satisfied with her life.
And when you put your vision on paper like that, sure, you can admit that it seems like a lot. But from day to day, that vision keeps you going. You believe that one day that vision will become your reality. You will be her.
But you're human. And you sit your kids in front of Netflix for a few hours. You eat two (or three) doughnuts in one sitting. You vent about your work woes. You forget that those things are OK. It's OK to be human. It's OK to not be the superwoman vision you hope to be.
Strong women have a tendency to forget all their strengths and look at all their weaknesses. That's why strong women feel secretly insecure. It's a human problem, picking the negatives out of a day of positives. It's something we need to stop doing. When one thing is going wrong, why can't we see all the things that are going right?
And strong women don't just do this human thing of focusing on the problems, they do it to their person. After all, that's largely why they're strong. Their ability to see problems is a strength because not only are they great at identifying issues, they are amazing at turning those problems into solutions. You've become strong because you are constantly finding your weakest pieces and exercising them and working at them until they become strong.
But while it's a strength to be able to identify weakness, it's also a weakness; it makes you insecure. Because sometimes when you see your weaknesses they become the only thing you see. You are constantly looking forward. You don't look back and see the mountains you've climbed. You only see is the mountains you've yet to conquer.
But hear this: You can still live your best life if not every second lives up to your vision. There's joy in mess. There's peace in chaos. There's beauty in broken things.
And you're right, it's great to strive for the ideal and improve every day. In fact, the fact that you get to strive toward your vision is the most beautiful part of it all. If there was no progress to be made, you'd be stuck. The wonderful thing about being imperfect is that you get to strive and change and become. Nothing is more glorious than that.
But in all that improving, don't forget that you are amazing today, not just at some future date when you reach your goal. (And no amount of Netflix or doughnuts or misspoken words changes that fact.)
Vote for the women you think are doing amazing things to solve issues affecting girls and women in the Women's Choice Awards.