Countless women express feelings of shame over not meeting up with social expectations when it comes to their careers, looks, relationships, opinions — the list goes on and on. Guilt is a very human emotion that, at times, can steer you in the right direction. But it can also be extremely draining and sometimes, just straight-up unnecessary. Growing up as a woman, people-pleasing and unrealistic expectations—in all facets of life—can be deep-rooted problems that are difficult to unlearn, and ultimately leave you unsatisfied. So, while they might not all be world-changing, here is a compiled list of 10 (but important) things that you should stop feeling so guilty about!

10 Things Women Should Stop Feeling Guilty About

1. Putting Their Career First 

Women need to stop feeling ashamed or guilty about wanting to do well in life. Wanting to make money, and have a name for ourselves. For working late nights or early mornings, taking solo business trips. For having ideas and dreams, and actually putting them into action. Also, asking for a raise can be an incredibly awkward and stressful experience. But knowing your value at a company or when working with clients can free you from doing work that might be barring you from better opportunities. If there is one thing you should always remember, it is that never apologise for being a boss lady!

2. Being Outspoken About Opinions

Being able to own your feelings makes you your own person, not shrill or sharp-tongued. Young women, especially those in the media, often get targeted with accusations for being vocal. Imagine how much more we’d get done if we accepted how women are entitled to having opinions and listen to the actual content of what women are saying without getting offended! Or simply saying no can also become a problem but don’t let it. Saying no to things you don’t want to do is empowering since it frees up your time and allows you to focus on what matters most to you.

3. Not Wanting To Marry

You constantly get asked about your marriage plans, before answering or giving in to the pressure, always remember, it’s your life. And anyway you’re going to get comments if you say yes to marriage or even if you say no. Some people get shamed for marrying too young or too old, while others get shamed for not wanting to marry at all. So if you decide you want to spend your life being surrounded by people you love but not a partner, it is A-OK.

4. Not Wanting Children

Children can be a sensitive subject for women. Expressing a desire to have children can make you seem uninterested in a career, while not wanting to have children can draw accusations of weakness or selfishness. Just do what makes you the happiest version of yourself. You don’t owe anyone anything. It isn’t selfish to say no, in fact, it can often be a form of self-care. As long as you’re clear about what you want, listen to nobody else! If your parents take the news hard, it’s natural to want to console or explain your choice to them. However, nobody else is entitled to question your decision or make you feel bad about your choice.

5. Being Emotional

Emotional control can leave you with more inner peace, but it’s OK to express strong feelings. There’s an ugly stereotype that women who show their frustrations or sadness are hysterical or needy. For so long, women have been trying to debunk the stereotype that they are overly sensitive, but with this, they’ve also been made to feel ashamed of our emotions. The ups and down of our emotions are a part of everyday life, and expressing our thoughts and feelings are the key to living a happy life. So to anyone who thinks women are too emotional—we say yes, we are, but just the right amount to get everything done and remain in tune with our wants and needs.

6. Choosing Themselves Over Others

You should always keep yourself the priority! It should be a given that you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time for self-care, but there are contrarians out there who may call you selfish or narcissistic for embracing wellness. When you take care of yourself, you won’t be in the mindset to feel guilty about what other people have to say about you. Plus, taking care of yourself means you’ll have enough energy to take care of those around you! As 21st-century dwellers, our lives are dominated by the looming expectation of immediate responses. To maintain your sanity, you can turn off push notifications and take your time when answering people. Be a firm believer in putting yourself first!

The ultimate goal to attain happiness is to be your own ‘Sunshine’, so watch this video and learn 4 ways to create your own happiness!

7. Not Shaving

To shave, or not to shave? It’s up to you. Hair removal has long shaped gender dynamics, served as a signifier of class and defined notions of femininity and the “ideal body.” However, in its most recent evolution, body hair is being embraced by a growing number of young women who are turning a source of societal shame and turning it into a sign of personal strength. You do not need to fit in the conventional standards of femininity. No matter what your choices are about your body, you should be allowed to feel comfortable enough to assert your presence. Your body, your hair. You are not answerable to anyone about why you didn’t shave or why you haven’t done your eyebrows.

8. Choosing To Have Pre-marital Sex

Don’t feel guilty about indulging in premarital sex. It is not a mistake but a choice that you made for yourself and your body. It is an experience as important as other events of life that you have gained to appreciate your body. It is high time now to accept that sex and sexuality are an integral part of our lives as a human. Whether it is premarital or not, sex is not only a means of progeny but a space where people know about their bodies and desires. And knowing about one’s own body is imperative for self-love and owning the body and its choices.

9. Being A Stay-At-Home Mom

Being a woman, you’re expected to have it all. You should have a work-life balance, but that’s not true. You’ve decided that you would prefer to be at home with your children than go back to work and that is your right. It doesn’t make you any less of a working woman and the people that matter will understand that. Even after you’ve embraced being a stay-at-home mom, you are made to feel guilty whether it’s about taking a break from kids or your house being messy or not cooking everything your child wants and whatnot. You should always remember, being a mom is not an easy task and you’re doing all you can, so don’t let anyone’s opinion hamper your well being. 

10. Not Fulfilling Society’s Expectations

It is expected from 21st-century women to have a perfect career, big retirement account, and home in the immediate future with a great family. But it’s OK to embrace the uncertainties of life and to ask for help when you need it. When it comes to marriage, kids, and owning a house, society seems to have a weirdly strict timeline. We’re here to remind you that it doesn’t matter what age you do any of these things because it is your life and you deserve to live it on the schedule that works for you. At the end of the day, what matters most is that you fulfil your own expectations!

For the longest time women have been made to feel guilty or shameful in everyday situations. Women are made to overthink and underplay almost every aspect of the way they live. From being too assertive to being too nice, society has a way of making them feel like everything they do is wrong. The fight against these notions will go on but meanwhile, women must learn to stand up for themselves and do whatever makes them happy!

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