Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Have you ever wondered why someone doesn't like you no matter what you do or how nice you are? Or, Have you met someone that rubs you up the wrong way, but you can't put your finger on why? Have you ever wondered why so few women put themselves forward for awards or promotions? I know that I have. Having just finished Glennon Doyle's incredible book Untamed, I now understand why. It's because of how from an early age, we are pre-conditioned.
She writes in the chapter "Comfort Zones" about how we have been conditioned to mistrust and dislike strong, confident, happy girls and women. We all have. Studies prove that the more powerful, successful, and happy a man becomes, the more people trust and like him. But the more powerful and happy a woman becomes, the less people like and trust her.
Glennon then goes onto write how we proclaim: Women are entitled to take their rightful place!, then when a woman does take her rightful place, our first reaction is: She's so entitled. We become people who say of confident women, "I can't explain it – it's just something about her. I just don't like her. I can't put my finger on why".
The reason why this happens and people think like this is because our subconscious training kicks in. Strong, happy, confident girls and women are breaking our cultures implicit rule that girls should be self-doubting, reserved, timid, and apologetic. Girls and women who are bold enough to break those rules irk us.
So if you're a strong, confident and happy woman, this may help you understand why people don't like you. It's not because you have done anything wrong; you have just been bold enough to break the rules. It certainly helped me understand some of the situations that have happened to me, in both my childhood and career.
It also helped me to understand why more women don't put themselves forward for awards or promotions, its because we sense this.
Glennon goes onto explain that women want to be liked, we want to be trusted, so we downplay our strengths to avoid threatening anyone and invoke disdain. We do not mention our accomplishments; we do not accept compliments. We temper, qualify and discount our opinions. We walk without swagger, and we apologise for…..everything. Women want to be respected, but we want to be loved and accepted even more.
Therefore, it's no wonder women don't put themselves forward for awards or promotions, because they are too concerned over what other people think of them. Pre-conditioning makes us this way. To be modest.
She then talks about a conversation she had with Oprah Winfrey, who stopped her from being modest about her achievements. Oprah said that as Dr Maya Angelou used to say, "Modesty is a learned affection. You don't want modesty, you want humility. Humility comes from inside out'". She was saying: Playing dumb, weak, and silly is a disservice to yourself and me and the world. Every time you pretend to be less than you are, you steal permission from other women to exist fully. Don't mistake modesty for humility. Modesty is a giggly lie. An act. A mask. A fake game. We have no time for it.
So if we want more women to have a seat at the table and more women putting themselves forward, we want less modesty and more humility.
Glennon finishes the chapter by saying that when she sees a joyful, confident women moving through the world with swagger, she is going to forgive herself for her first reaction because it's not her fault, its just her conditioning. First reaction: Who the hell does she think she is? Second reaction: She knows who she is and what she wants from the world – Hallelujah!!!
Through reading her book, not only do I understand the reasons why we think the way we do about strong women, but also why women are so modest, which stops them from reaching their full potential.
So if we want to see more women be successful or winning more awards, we need first to forgive ourselves for our way of thinking. Then we must re-train our thinking so we can support and encourage women to stop being modest and be proud of their accomplishments: less Modesty and More Humility.