A woman’s confidence and self-assertion are often mislabelled as being bossy or difficult to deal with.
And yet, we praise and acclaim men with similar attributes as being admirable and decisive.
It’s difficult for women.
It always will be, particularly when she is actively striving to be self-assured and strong.
In many cases, she will have to work twice as hard to receive twice as little the respect from others.
Yet, she perseveres.
But even the strongest of women need reminders of that inner strength.
These 10 points will serve useful if you do need a reminder of how to command respect and assert yourself, as you absolutely should:
1) She’s not afraid to speak her mind
Best seen, but not heard.
Or even better…in the kitchen!
These dreadful stereotypes still tail us from years past, yet still manage to pop up in conversation or jokes.
But a strong and confident woman knows that smiling politely and nodding when really, she has something to say, is not the right way forward.
Even knowing the consequences of that ‘bossy’ or ‘overbearing’ label hanging over her head, she’ll still speak up.
She’ll assert herself in a calm and composed manner and articulate what she wants.
Not demand it, but make it well known that certain actions are expected and that she won’t waste her time with people unable to respect nor meet those requests.
2) She has strong boundaries
And she will not let you traipse over them, trust me.
There’s no cooing and fawning when someone asks for just a little more than what she considers respectful.
Strong women simply don’t tolerate those who don’t respect their boundaries.
They have no issue communicating when a boundary has been pushed or disrespected, and will walk away should this continue to happen.
3) She looks after herself
Whilst dressing to impress in no way commands respect, strong women do make time for self-care.
They know the importance of looking after the mind and body, and use their free time to exercise – be it in a formal manner or by more enjoyable activities such as dance classes or yoga.
The age-old contradiction of having to dress nicely and look appealing, yet never to dress too nicely or spend too much time on makeup as god forbid you get labelled vain makes this very difficult.
Yet, she doesn’t feel guilt for this self-care. She prioritizes looking after herself and knows how that carries into other areas of her life.
4) She supports other women
It’s all good and fair being a strong and respected boss woman, but it does little for the rest of society if you’ve climbed the ladder by stomping on all other women on your way up to the top.
Strong and confident women support not only themselves but also others.
They understand that it is through lifting each other up and commanding respect not only for themselves but for other women, that real change happens.
The petty idea of catfights and bitching isn’t something that these women dabble in.
Nor do they see others as a threat or a tool to throw under the bus in their own journey to success.
5) She’s intelligent and educated
Commanding respect requires knowing the facts.
I’m sure you’ve heard of mansplaining.
The canon experience where a man will try and explain something that you personally are an expert in a extraordinarily condescending manner. Whilst nothing absolutely zilch on the topic himself.
He’s convinced she surely she can’t know anything on the topic…she’s a woman!
Thus strong women have to educate themselves and stay open-minded and on top of recent trends to be able to command that respect in conversations.
She will often have to work twice as hard to gather this knowledge, yet will face doubt and criticism even with the most exemplary and intelligent understanding.
Imagine a room.
In it sits an old businessman who barely made it through secondary education, riding only on daddy’s tailcoats.
On the other side of the table is a woman who has worked day and night to educate herself and fund her studies and get to where she is now.
Guess who will naturally command the most respect?
Yet, she endures this and works tirelessly to maintain her composure against all odds, having to prove herself despite the ridiculous and unreasonable double standards she faces.
6) She’s a hard worker
And all that learning, all that resilience, all that self-development, it’s tough work.
But she doesn’t shy away from it.
Strong women who command respect have an incredible work ethic and drive.
Faced with all these setbacks and rejections and plain old sexism, they still get up and continue to stand up for themselves and strive for those goals.
7) She maintains her composure, even when tested
It’s unfortunate that strong and respected women have little scope to show their true feelings.
And yes, whilst getting irate and shouting at someone is never conducive to healthy communication, strong women must often repress almost all signs of anger or irritation.
They possess an excellent level of emotional regulation and have the ability to think before they speak or act.
This ability to maintain composure – even in the most heated of arguments – does command respect from observers.
Communicating their emotions clearly and maintaining a cool and steady demeanour solidifies this position as an immovable force to be reckoned with.
8) She doesn’t back down in an argument
Strong and respected women aren’t out there trying to pick fights.
But when disagreements or conflict does arise, she won’t go down without holding her own.
She’ll have her points thought out, structured, and ready.
There will be no low blows or nasty attacks.
Strong women fight fair and keep any conflict courteous and civil.
And if you are the one in the right, she will readily listen to your points, consider them, and accept fault for any wrongdoing on her part.
She’s not going down on a sinking ship clinging to false beliefs just for the sake of saving face.
9) She keeps out of the tea
The tea being gossip, in this case.
Strong and confident women have no need to involve themselves in petty gossip.
She knows that only small minds discuss other people; big minds discuss ideas.
Nor has she any interest in bad mouthing others behind their backs or trading snide remarks just to win someone else’s favor.
Real and honest relationships are built on truth and loyalty, which is exactly the type of people strong and confident women surround themselves with.
10) She knows when to walk away
And lastly, women capable of knowing when it is time to let things go and walk away are incredibly powerful.
Many of us stay in relationships with people who do us no good, or stay in jobs where we’re stagnating purely out of a fear of change or a fear of being alone.
But a strong and confident woman knows when enough is enough.
She knows that toxic relationships detract from her own self-worth, and has the confidence to walk away and go where she is wanted.
Or rather, where she wants to go.
Commanding respect as a woman is challenging.
In a world where women still largely have to work twice as hard to get even close to where men stand – particularly in the professional world – having also to think about how others perceive you and garner their respect is a lot to take on.
If you think yourself not yet worthy of that respect, don’t worry.
We all have a lot still to learn – myself included.
But hopefully you’ve gained some insight into what attributes help to command the respect of others, and can begin incorporating these into your own life.