This question tugged at the strings of my heart for weeks after I returned home from an eye-opening conference. I was privileged to be selected to attend a conference designed to empower young women who are just embarking on the inception of their careers. I may have been partly prepared for the awesome experience but I was in no way prepared for some of the horror stories that made me question what was more important. Some of the women who came to address us at the conference spoke about how they had to sacrifice something for their careers, and in most cases, that the sacrificial lamb was marriage.
I couldn’t help but wonder….how did my mom, my aunts and so many other strong, ‘career-driven yet married’ women do it? Do we have to sacrifice one thing to get the other or can we have it all? Why are women often expected to drop their dreams and aspirations and become someone else? How on earth did my mother manage her career, get to the top, yet kept the whole family happy and intact? Do women who have it all have some sort of super powers that makes everything fall into place? Hmmm…I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of this train of thought and the answer I have arrived at is “No, women who have it all do not have super powers. They do not give up anything for love”.
As women, we are emotional beings; that in itself is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because we are a pleasure to work with, we are sensitive to the feelings of others and we tend to possess higher emotional intelligence. It is a curse because based on our emotions, we are willing and ready to throw away dreams we have held dear for so many years! When we fall in love, we tend to change our dreams to fit that of the man who has managed to steal our hearts. Some of us throw away all our dreams and aspirations altogether. Afterall, according to society’s standards, if we are married, we are the epitome of success. Society says marriage is all we need to feel fulfilled….society couldn’t be more wrong!
STOP giving up your dreams for the sake of love. It is very unhealthy! If a man expects you to give up your dreams and aspirations so you can become half of him, then it is time for you to hit the curb, wave goodbye and start walking. I know… I know…marriage is based on compromise, but sacrificing your identity just so someone else can be happy is not the type of compromise you want to make. Not only does it result in a dissatisfied you, it will cause resentment to build up in your relationship over time. You are one whole individual with whole dreams and aspirations! Any compromise in your relationship should be geared towards finding middle ground so both of you can achieve the dreams you desire.
Many women eventually have to give up love because they realize sometimes a little too late that it cannot replace the feeling of pursuing and achieving their dreams. The love they abandoned everything for evolves into something else that may be sustainable but may also be a routine- a routine they didn’t plan for because they thought they’d have butterflies everyday and talk long walks in the park. Surprise surprise when the mister who did not give up on his dream has to work late, has to travel to meetings, has interesting issues to discuss at the dinner table and they have nothing to say except “Sally got 80% on her maths test”. Inevitably, such women will start to long for the dreams they abandoned, they will long for the life they desired before Mr. X came into the picture and slowly, they will start to rebel against the terms and conditions Mr X has grown very comfortable with. irreconcilable Differences becomes the term of their divorce and Mr X is angry that he was deceived. ‘She agreed we’d move to New York; I’d work and she’d stay home with the kids. She’s so selfish!’ Well…can’t blame him for something you agreed to in the first place.
Stop giving up your whole self to be half of someone else. Don’t let go of your dreams simply because you believe someone else’s dream is more important. All those women I know who have it all, stood their ground from day one! If Mr. wanted to move to Los Angeles, the question they asked was “Can I pursue my dream in Los Angeles?” Stop giving up everything for love. As a woman, your dreams are important too! Your aspirations are important too! If you make this clear from the beginning, a man who truly wants you in his life will understand he must take your dreams into consideration before he makes any life-changing decisions. However, if you give him the impression that your dreams can be swept under the carpet, well….that’s what you’ll get!
How much should you give up for love? Nothing! True love won’t make you half of who you truly are. XOXO