Aletta's blog

Life to paper: Musings to inspire (blog #2)

What does being successful mean to you?

“I had just been awarded my second Master’s degree and was all set out to step back into the professional world and take my career to new heights. Ever since I was a kid, I have always been ambitious, not only succeeding in everything I undertook, but excelling in them. I have nurtured the dream of  becoming a renowned lawyer ever since I can remember. But here I am today, a housewife with a one-year-old baby and another on its way. My dreams came to an halt even before I could begin to pursue them. Many among my family and friends express their concern for me and continue to reassure me that my kids won’t get in the way of my career and ambitions. They say I still have the potential to achieve success and I should pursue it. Me, on the other hand, I am happy where I stand. Somewhere along the way, my dreams changed. My kids bring me the satisfaction I have always craved for and the only success I would not strive to achieve, is that of motherhood.”

This was a recent conversation I had with a friend I had lost touch with over the years. I have always known Ayesha to be a high-driven girl who made sure she achieved everything she set her mind to. She was pegged to be a huge success – by friends, professors, colleagues – everyone who knew her and interacted with her on a daily basis.

‘Success’  – we attached so much weight to that word. In today’s cut throat world, we have even begun to garner a person’s worth based on that word. So what exactly does success mean? According to the dictionary, success means “the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose” – as simple as that. Why is it then that today so many women feel the pressure of this one word, forced to live their life on terms that society dictates for her?

With the fight for women’s empowerment, every woman out there suddenly feels the need to prove herself; to prove that she can walk shoulder to shoulder with a man of similar capabilities. The meaning of feminism has become distorted in this fight. What began as an appeal for equality has suddenly turned into a game of ‘proving a point’ and is crushing us, even though we may not realise it. We tend to push each other to make sure they build a name for themselves in the world and in all this pushing, we have somewhere lost sight of happiness and of the true meaning of success.

Being a mother, a home-maker or someone with ‘mediocre’ (defined by society) ambitions does not make one unsuccessful or lesser in any way. We as women need to support our loved ones and other women out there so that they have a choice to live a life they would like to live – a life that truly makes them happy.

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Kom jij als nieuw bestuurslid hét netwerk voor ambitieuze vrouwen versterken? Sinds 2011 bieden wij talentvolle, jonge vrouwen een inspirerende plek buiten studie of werk.

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