Age and wisdom is relative so I’m definitely old and wise compared to the little bunny eared Spus. I want to tell her “You’ll be faced with challenges and obstacles and Mr. Bunny won’t always be there." If you ever feel lost, confused, or alone, here are six mantras to channel your inner Hillary Clinton*.
While I don’t know if it would’ve made me more successful, these mantras save me from a lot of angst and anxiety! Use these six mantras in your quest to become your own power woman.
*I’ve been a Hillary fangirl since I was 7. You can channel whomever is the cat’s meow for you.
1. There isn’t always an answer. Let it go and move on.
At 9-years-old I realized that my parents didn’t have all the answers. To be fair to them, my question was “What happens when I die?” They truthfully responded, “We don’t know. No one really knows.”
I couldn’t accept that my parents didn’t know the answer to such an important question: “But aren’t you scared? You are so much older than me!” So my parents now had a hysterical child reminding them of their own mortality. #SMH
They said, “We are scared, but there is no point in crying over something you don’t know and can’t change.”
Now that I’m an adult, I know that adults don’t know everything. If you keep dwelling on questions with no answers then you’ll end up hysterical & sobbing at 2:00 a.m. in the morning like 9-year-old me. Not fun.
Women struggle with accepting that often there are no answers or there are many answers or the answer changes. Our obsession with answers resulted in a New York Times bestselling novel with the non-answer title of “He’s Just Not That Into You”- he didn’t call, he’s clearly not interested, stop beleaguering yourself with “but whyyyy?”
Life is uncertain – unless you have a magical Choose-Your-Adventure book to jump ahead and see the end. Don’t get stuck with the answer to one small question that you miss the entire exam! A big part of being an adult is realizing and accepting this; being an adult is one big educated guess and a leap of faith that it will end up working out.
2. You will fuck up. Be an adult about it.
#1 being said, sometimes your leap was miscalculated, sometimes you make a mistake, etc. The ways you can screw up are infinite so I can guarantee that, no matter who you are, it’s going to happen.
Is it going be ok? Maybe, maybe not.
That’s another part of growing up, depending on how badly you messed up, it may not be ok. Luckily for us, it usually tops out at “I accidentally sent a draft email to 100+ people instead of the two people that the final, edited email should’ve been sent to.” Regardless of how bad it was, act like the adult that you’re supposed to be.
So what do adults do? Take a deep breath, recognize that you messed up, take another deep breath, think about what happened, and do the best you can to atone for it. Sometimes screw-ups are permanent and all we can do is try to make what happens afterwards better. Most times screw-ups are stressful at the time and later become a funny story.
3. You are responsible for your own life.
Like your fuck ups, you need to hold yourself responsible for your life. As women, we have many reasons why our life isn’t going the way we had envisioned: Paternalistic society, sexism, bitch bosses, asshole bosses, male dominated industry, etc. If you can’t change the barrier, you’re still in charge of your life and actions. Pivot.
When Hillary’s healthcare reform didn’t pan out, she pivoted and focused on the Children’s Health Insurance Program. She learned from her mistakes and changed her actions, helping push through the largest expansion of health insurance coverage for children since Medicaid was created. Don’t waste your effort; focus on what you can learn, what you can change, and your actions. The things you do with your life are completely up to you.
4. You are unique and special…and so is everyone else.
Every woman is a unique, special butterfly snowflake resting delicately on the tip of a unicorn’s horn. Maybe all that Disney princess stuff engrains us with the “special syndrome”. The drawing above is one of my favorite xkcds because it is so true. Your life experiences may be different from someone else’s, but don’t suffer from an illusory superiority complex.
Wow, you spent six months studying abroad? You’re so special so you MUST grace all the unenlightened people with your tremendous insight. Please don’t. If you buy into your bullshit too much, you’ll get stuck in crap and not be able to appreciate all the opportunities and cool people you meet.
5. Everyone feels awkward.
Everyone is unique and everyone feels awkward at some point. The awkwardness comes from the feeling that no one at the party, work, their dorm, [insert scenario] understands your uniqueness and specialness. Very few people will announce out loud when they feel awkward, so you’re going to have to trust me on this one. I tell myself that Hillary feels awkward at times, too.
Don’t let your feelings of awkwardness prevent you from doing something fun. Find someone standing by themselves or a small group that seems more welcoming and introduce yourself! Remind yourself that you might also be relieving someone else of their awkward feeling – win win!
6. Your plans are your own. Plans can change or not go as planned, it’s okay.
As a young girl Hillary wrote a letter to NASA asking how she could become an astronaut. They wrote back saying women couldn’t be astronauts. Her original plans didn’t work out so she ended up breaking down barriers in the equally male-dominated industries of law and politics. Instead of being an astronaut, she became a lawyer, First Lady, senator, presidential candidate, and Secretary of State.
The above SMBC comic shows why plans are awesome. If you’re living life to its fullest and learning from mistakes and other people, your plans should change with time. It’s okay if your original plan doesn’t end up happening because plans are fluid. So stop worrying! Get out there and kick some ass!