Do you know any content, happy women?
I know…no one is happy or content all the time. But what I mean is, do you know any women you admire? Look up to? Want to emulate? Learn from? Spend the day with?
I know a few. And I’m not talking about women who just look good. The ladies I’m talking about are the ones who seem happy, content and rarely frazzled. They enjoy their children and partners (if they have them), and the other people and activities in their lives. The women I admire have very different styles, religious persuasions, socioeconomic statuses and backgrounds. Some of the women I admire are friends, others are friends of my mom’s, others I know even more distantly.
Here’s what these content women have in common:
They take time for themselves, without apology. Whether it’s taking time to read, volunteer, quilt, workout or spend time with friends – the most “perfect” women carve out time – on a regular basis – for themselves. They realize that in order to give to the people in their lives (their children, their partners, their co-workers) they need to be re-charged and filled up themselves.
They are engaged in something bigger than themselves. The world is a big place, but sometimes we forget that. By becoming involved in an organization or cause bigger than ourselves (church, environmental group, political cause, philanthropic organization) we get perspective on our own lives, problems and worries.
They limit media consumption. Television, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, glossy magazines – they can be fun. But they are sort of like donuts or whipped cream: fluffy confections meant to be consumed in small doses and only occasionally. Any more often, and they become harmful and can literally weigh you down. The women I admire recognize this. They may glance at media periodically, but realize that its potential negative effects must be carefully monitored.
They treat their bodies with respect. None of the women I admire are beauty queens, but they do care for their bodies – probably realizing that their health and well-being are big parts of what allow them to care for others. Good food, regular activity and adequate sleep are all important pieces of respecting their bodies. Regular haircuts and clothes that fit their body and style may be a part of this too.
They are picky about how they spend their time. Time is money whether you are a stay at home mom, an attorney or a taxi driver. The problem is, most of us don’t treat it as such. The women I admire are extremely frugal about how (and with whom!) they spend their time. Not that they don’t relax – they do! – but they are planful and careful about how they do it. They consider invitations before automatically saying yes (or no), are selective (but not snobby) about who they socialize with and rarely run around town (or their homes) without purpose. They realize that their time and attention is valuable and budget it just as they would their finances.
They don’t complain about other women. The idea for this article was born after reading some nasty articles – written by women – complaining about other women and how they earned their money, spent their time and raised their kids. Upon reflection, I realized that I have rarely heard the women I admire complain or gossip about other women. Whether they have these thoughts and bite their tongues, or have no critical thoughts at all, I’m not sure. But either way I admire their focus on positive things that they can actually control.