As women, we have been raised in a society that often asks us to show up small, quiet and unnoticed. We have been told to sit still and look pretty, and not push ourselves too much. We have been judged and rejected for being too loud, too ambitious, too assertive, and too confident. Yet, no matter how much we’ve been hurt, we keep showing up small. Why is that? This blog explores this phenomenon and offers insights into how we can show up and be seen as the powerful, inspiring, and capable women that we are.
First, it’s important to recognize that the fear of rejection and judgment runs deep within us. Growing up, we may have experienced being criticized or dismissed for expressing ourselves and standing up for what we believe in. The message we receive is that we are not good enough, and that our worth is somehow determined by how others view us. This can create an inner voice that tells us to stay small and invisible.
Second, social conditioning plays a role in how we show up as women. From a young age, we are trained to conform to gender roles and stereotypes that limit our potential. We are taught to be caretakers, nurturers, and pleasers, rather than leaders, innovators, and change-makers. The media, advertising, and popular culture often reinforce these stereotypes by portraying women as weak, passive, and dependent on men.
Third, we may also struggle with imposter syndrome, which is a feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy despite success and accomplishments. This can lead us to downplay our achievements and shy away from opportunities that would push us out of our comfort zone. We may feel like frauds, and worry that we will be “found out” if we take on bigger roles and responsibilities.
Fourth, there can be a real fear of retaliation or backlash if we show up too boldly, especially in male-dominated spaces. We may worry that we will be ostracized, bullied, or even fired if we speak up, challenge the status quo, and assert ourselves. This is a legitimate concern, as women and marginalized groups often face discrimination and hostility in the workplace and beyond.
The struggle for women to show up and be seen is multifaceted and complex. It involves our personal history, societal norms and expectations, our self-perception, and our social and cultural context. Yet, it’s essential that we challenge the status quo, break through our limiting beliefs and fears, and claim our space and voice. We must cultivate a sense of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-worth through practices such as meditation, therapy, and self-care. We must also surround ourselves with supportive and empowering communities that uplift and validate us. Most importantly, we must believe in ourselves and our potential to make a positive impact in the world. By showing up and being seen, we can inspire others to do the same and create a world that celebrates and honors the unique gifts and talents of all individuals regardless of gender.