Why Not Having it All is Okay

This is a sequel to my previous post “Can a Woman Ever Have it All?” in which I wrote “what matters more is not having it all, but the striving that a woman does…”

I came along this article by Anne-Marie Slaughter, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” An academician in the fields of politics and international affairs, a woman who once held a high-level government post (which she left in order to have more time for family and teaching), and currently President and CEO of the New America Foundation, wrote that though she believed women, as well as men, can indeed have it all, even have it all at the same time, yet she stresses

“but not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured. My experiences over the past three years have forced me to confront a number of uncomfortable facts…”

What struck me was her assertion:

“Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation. But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.”

Another article, The Only Definition of Success That Matters”  likewise explains what matters most is whether you are happy! The author, Jeff Haden wrote, and I quote: “Defining success is important, but taking a clear-eyed look at the impact of your definition matters even more. As in most things, your intention is important, but the results provide the real answer.

In other words, whatever you choose to do, if it brings you happiness, you are satisfied, then you are successful in that area. He also stresses, like I do, something else has to give. You cannot have everything, for as he says, “tradeoffs are unavoidable […]  Other things are clearly more important than making money, and that’s okay.”

I most agree with him that there are more important things in life than making money (more than we actually need for ourselves and our families and the good works we do for others), and reaching for the top. These are good goals, but they should not take precedence over our time spent with family and loved ones, maintaining good health and inner balance. I again stress that instead of focusing our energies on having it all, we should strive to do our best in anything we do for the betterment of ourselves, our families, our communities. Let us strive to leave a good mark and make our world a better place each day.

 

The Pavement: 3 Perfect Shots

Afternoon Scene — I took this photo of a pavement inside a mall…

Same pavement, another shot…

A different angle shot of the same pavement
Interesting play of light and shadow on the pavement…

Overall, I wanted to capture a sense of motion when I took these shots one after the other. One pavement, three perfect shots, I hope.

Can A Woman Ever Have it All?

My Personal Thoughts on Having It All

Having it all, for most people, carries the connotation of having reached the level of success an individual has envisioned for oneself.

Often too, success for many women is measured up against what the society/culture/organization/ dictates upon them. In today’s world, usually having it all is tied to material as well as social expectations.

And if a woman tends to conform to those dictates, she may feel a sense of failure, or a sense of not yet being accomplished – thus, having it all will still be an elusive dream for her.

I’d rather define my personal success, as a woman, as having attained my dreams or accomplished my goals, short-term or long-ranged.

Yet, it also depends on how a woman defines “having it all” based on her values, principles and aspirations in life. Thus, if I were talking about my values, especially in terms of family, love, happiness, health – I must say I have it all. These are the intangibles in my life I cherish most.

On the other hand, it can be said that having it all is dependent on the attainment of material goals, and I guess this is easier to evaluate or quantify.

Still, on deeper reflection, since life is not perfect, I wonder how one can truly “have it all,” but this is me – my own understanding of that expression. I do not believe that any woman can realistically have it all at the same given time, no matter how one tries to: fame, wealth, love, good health, family, career, having a successful business — the list goes on.

Somehow, something has to give, one way or the other, no matter how one does her best to achieve work-life balance.  Besides, there are circumstances beyond the control of the individual that may affect her attainment of all her hopes and dreams.

Thus, I consider myself a work in progress; each day, presents new challenges. Somehow, there are things that I wish I had but still don’t, or there are tasks/goals I still yet have to meet. There are aspects of myself I know I must harness or improve to be the best person I can ever be – for myself, for my loved ones, for God.

Despite these “imperfections” or “lack of something” or “small failures,” in my life, am I happy? YES – and that is what matters for me because all these are measured up against MY OWN values, beliefs, life principles grounded on my personal faith in God, most of all. I have learned to be content with what I have for now, but I still strive to the best I can.

I do believe what matters more is not having it all, but the striving that a woman does in order to achieve, to grow, to contribute in whatever way she can – time, talent, resources, her heart, her love, for the betterment of the world around her.

My dear readers, do you think a woman can ever have it all? Share your thoughts with me.

Photo Collage: My Yellow Hibiscus

Yellow Hibiscus In My Garden

In my tiny garden stands a small bush abloom with yellow hibiscus warming up to the first rays of the morning sun…

My Yellow Hibiscus

Such refreshing sight greeting me each day lends a cozier ambience to my simple sacred space…

Befriending Oneself

Are you your own best friend?

Sometime lately, I wasn’t feeling good about myself due to not having been able to meet some of the goals I set to accomplish – for my work and my personal tasks. As if I’d been treading on parched grounds or caught up in a swirl or lost in a maze, leaving me utterly restless, unproductive. Things like this makes me irritated – annoyed at myself.

Now recently, I’ve come across one   interesting article, “The Kindest Thing You Can Do for Yourself in 2015” by Martha Beck. According to her, most of us are more than one person. As we figure out how we fit in socially and learn how to tailor our behavior to various situations, we end up with several—often wildly dissimilar—versions of ourselves.

And these different ‘selves’ form a bustling community of judges, critics and doomsday prophets who conspired to put me through hell. So follow the drift? In other words, it is why you easily fall into the trap of disliking or even hating yourself.

Thus, she suggests a method of befriending oneself — one that’s centered on empathic listening. Paradoxically, this process begins with exaggerating the divisions between yourselves, she writes. Part of that process is a conversation with yourselves: with your Best Friend Self, or BFS, and your Train Wreck Self (TWS). The point is if you are able to recognize both the positive and negative aspects of yourself, you can let your BFS become truly like a best friend to your TWS, and help that aspect of yours to grow. But the real challenge here is to listen to your TWS — do not negate it nor suppress. As Martha Beck says, friends do things for each other. Read more about it here:

However, the one thing I’ve found best in dealing with my negative self is…prayer. In prayer, I can lift all my burden, my cares to God without hesitation. Through prayer, I acknowledge God as the Source of my being — the God of Love is in the deepest core of my being, and God loves me totally, unconditionally, no matter how sinful I am. Thus, if God can love me so much as to send His Son as a ransom for my sins, who am I to despise myself?

Photo by Sarah Bürvenich on Unsplash

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. – John 3.16

 

Watch this video for the song “Through My Father’s Eyes” – one song that aptly describes how God is the Greatest Friend we can ever have.