Genuinely strong women aren’t easy to define, and if you’ve ever met one, you might have wondered… Are they truly strong, or were they just pretending?
And most importantly, how does one become a strong woman?
Here are 10 things that may be hard to do (especially at the start) that strong women always choose to do happily.
1) They rise up to meet their fears
Strong women happily go outside the easy and familiar because they know that growth and expansion only happens when we go outside the comfort zone.
So as long as something aligns with their values and goals, they’ll give it a fair shot even if it’s not something they’re familiar with.
In fact, not only do they set aside any apprehensions they might feel, but will also strive to enjoy the process.
Safety is nice to have, surely. But strong women are more than willing to brave uncertainty when the opportunity presents itself.
They are happy to go to the edges of their potential by challenging themselves to go where they haven’t been before or do things differently than the last time.
2) They don’t compete with others
Let’s be honest. It’s kinda hard to find and then pursue one’s goals without getting distracted by other people’s successes.
Strong women avoid comparing and competing with others so that they can stay focused on themselves and what they have set out to do—be it their looks, the progress they have made in their careers, or how good they have become at a certain skill.
They know it’s a waste of time and energy trying to compare themselves with others, even in those circumstances where there’s actual competition involved (like a contest).
They’d rather focus on clarifying their own goals and breaking down the steps to meet it.
Truth be told, strong women would love it if everyone managed to achieve their goals anyways, so they’d rather congratulate those who succeed rather than be bitter at their success.
3) They create their own definition of success
Strong women don’t just follow the flow. They’re happily crafting, discovering, and making the measures of success that they have decided for themselves.
Others might follow the usual path of climbing the corporate ladder and getting rich, or putting on stilettos and touting luxury bags, but not strong women…unless it’s what they truly want, of course!
But if they decide they’d rather retire to reading books all day in a library or running a cozy café that doesn’t earn millions, then they’ll go do just that.
This doesn’t mean that other people’s ideas of what it takes to be a “strong” woman are wrong.
It’s more that every individual woman has her own aspirations, and ultimately what makes a woman strong is her ability to follow those aspirations.
They’re willing to create their own path despite all the pressure and judgment they might receive for not fitting the common ideal for “success”, much less what they must BE as a woman.
4) They say “no” without feeling any guilt
“No” is such a simple word. And yet in a society that teaches women to submit and be agreeable—especially if they are to be liked—it’s one of the hardest things a woman can say.
Unless someone is going to die or suffer tremendously if they say “no”, strong women do not give a damn. If it doesn’t align with their goals, empower them, or agree with their morals, they are going to say “no” regardless of how disappointed others get at them for it.
They do this because they know they only have so much time and energy to spare, and saying “no” frees them up to genuinely say ‘yes’ to what they actually want in their lives.
This means setting clear boundaries around family, friends, colleagues, and even their own children.
Strong women have the wisdom to know that a life of people-pleasing is only easy at the start and gets harder as other people want more and more from you.
5) They are willing to fail and make mistakes
Strong women happily go even when success isn’t assured because they know that even if they fail, the things they learn will be worth the journey.
Besides, nothing is certain but death and taxes. So rather than letting the threat of failure hold them back, they instead embrace it with open arms.
They know that a mistake or a failure isn’t the end of their dreams. In fact, only when they give up will their dreams truly end—and they refuse to let that happen.
So they jump in and give it their best shot—whether it’s a bowling tournament or a business venture.
And when things don’t work out, they dust themselves clean, rest, learn what they can from their failure, and then get back in again when they’re ready for another shot.
6) They’re willing to have difficult conversations
Playing nice and avoiding difficult conversations is an easy road. But strong women aren’t who they are because they choose the easy options in life—especially if it involves their relationships.
Strong women know that for relationships to have depth and meaning, they need to face and deal with a lot of heavy, difficult topics like money and insecurities.
This applies not just to romantic relationships, but even platonic and professional ones.
It isn’t the easiest thing to deal with conflict and yet, they make a consistent effort to do just that because they know it’s what must be done.
In the process, they polish their character as well as their ability to handle such scenarios in the future.
As easy as it might be to just tiptoe around and pretend everything’s fine, doing so will only cause harm in the long run…and they don’t want that.
7) They aren’t afraid to shine
People are threatened by powerful women. They see a woman being successful at work or being unafraid to talk about her achievements as someone “cocky”.
They would call her things like “know-it-all” or “attention-seeking”.
It’s all double standards of course—were she a man, they would praise her!—but it is indeed a fact that standing out like that makes one an easy target.
But strong women are comfortable being seen—even in a bad way by others. To them, it’s just part of the package for being ambitious and passionate at what they do.
They say thank you when their accomplishments are complimented, and accept recognition with grace.
They don’t find it necessary to act “humble” when they’re beaming with pride and happiness.
In other words, they don’t act small just to avoid making other people feel threatened.
8) They support the growth of others
As focused as they are on their goals, strong women create a supportive and empowering space around them where everyone is motivated to realize their highest potential.
While normal people are more than happy to keep people around them from rising up, and at worst even insist on putting them in their place, strong women refuse to do that.
They find joy in lifting others up around them, and would rather be surrounded by happy, fulfilled equals rather than stand on top of a bunch of unhappy misfits.
So they take on the extra effort to mentor, advocate, support and teach the people who look up to them— from subordinates to family, to even their friends.
This helps them too. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn, and by teaching others, they also teach themselves to be better.
9) They aren’t afraid to break the rules
Societal norms and rules can’t shackle women who know what they want out of life and are more than eager to follow their calling.
It’s not like their main goal is to be a rebel and rulebreaker, per se. Rather, it’s simply inevitable that with all the rules—formal or otherwise—disempowering women, they have no choice but to defy them.
This often means going places and doing things without a well-defined road to success that they can rely on.
It’s hard and confusing. And yet, they happily do it anyway rather than live a narrow life defined by rules intended to keep her bound “in her place.”
Society has progressed a lot, but they don’t fool themselves into thinking that the fight is over yet.
There’s a lot they need to see fixed, not just for themselves but also for the sake of those women who will come after them.
10) They rest and enjoy life
“Sleep is for the weak,” is a phrase often said half as a jest and half with all due seriousness.
This is the effect of hustle culture…and strong women, no matter how ambitious they are, don’t subscribe to this kind of lifestyle. In fact, they scoff at this. They know that without healthy bodies, their mental and emotional strength are diminished…so they rest and boy, do they rest well.
They pause to nap or knit or play a bit of video game even when they’re burdened by heaps of work that need to be done.
They do this despite the risk of being judged by their peers as “lazy” or “selfish.”
In a world where hustling and being a workaholic is the norm, they pursue balance in their lifestyles by eating well, taking breaks, giving sufficient time for sleep and vacations.
They are okay with others seeing that they are in need of rest. They’re human beings, after all—not machines! They need their rest if they must perform acceptably.
What it means to be a strong woman, in the end, is to be a woman who thinks for herself and refuses to conform to anyone telling her who she should be.
Sometimes, this can mean living a life close to what people would normally expect of her, and sometimes it can even be the exact opposite.
Every woman is unique, and every single one represents a different way to be a strong woman.
It might not be easy to be a strong woman, but that only makes them even more admirable.