Strong women exude confidence. They make decisions and follow them through. And they’re known for their resilience.
But there’s one thing in particular that I’ve come to notice about these women:
They never seem to feel guilty for putting themselves first.
I admire this as someone who grew up feeling bad for every little thing. So, if you also struggle with this, read on and take note!
Here are 10 things strong women never feel guilty about:
1) Saying no
One thing that sets strong women apart from the rest is their ability to say “no” and stick to it.
They don’t feel guilty because they know they’re staying true to themselves by rejecting things that don’t serve them…Whether that’s projects, invitations, or responsibilities that don’t align with their values.
And let’s be honest, that’s pretty empowering! Especially as opposed to saying “yes” and later regretting it.
But don’t get me wrong – strong women aren’t born with magic skills. They have to learn and practice the art of saying “no” without feeling guilty afterwards.
This takes time to master, but that doesn’t scare a strong soul from taking the first step and asserting boundaries.
2) Pursuing their ambitions
From building their own business to climbing the career ladder, strong women never feel bad for pursuing their ambitions.
And they’ll be damned if they let society, family, or partners dictate what they can or can’t do!
I have a friend whose husband grumbled and groaned when she decided to go back to university to study law – a dream of hers that got put on hold when she fell pregnant in her early 20s.
But rather than let her husband put her off, she persisted. She’s now a qualified lawyer, creating a better life for herself and her family.
Ultimately, she never felt guilt because she knew her potential and what she could achieve.
3) Putting themselves first
How many times have you seen a woman put herself on the back burner to look after her husband, kids, or friend’s needs?
My guess is pretty often. Even if they do put their needs first, they feel bad about it.
It’s not their fault – many women were raised to be the “caregivers” of the family. They weren’t taught to fill their own cups before pouring into the cups of others.
But strong women work hard to overcome this guilt.
They invest in their self-care, take breaks when needed, and value and respect their needs. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about others, but they avoid neglecting themselves in the process.
4) Being direct and honest
I don’t know about you, but when I think of a strong woman, adjectives like “assertive”, “bold”, and “brutally honest” tend to come to mind…
And that’s usually the case.
Take, for example, my mom’s friend who came to my birthday party this year. She wasn’t afraid to share her opinions in a room full of people who disagreed with her.
She did so respectfully, but without fear of judgment or shame. She’s always struck me as a strong woman and this showed by how she carried herself at the party.
You see, strong women don’t beat around the bush. They don’t “umm” and “ahh”, or withhold from saying what they really mean.
They get to the point. And they don’t feel guilty for it, because…why should they?
They’re being honest. If other people can’t handle the truth, that’s not a strong woman’s problem!
5) Ending toxic relationships
And by relationships, I don’t just mean romantic. Strong women will walk away from bad friends, toxic family members, and abusive or controlling partners.
They do this with their head held high.
They don’t allow guilt to play a part in their emotions, because as we discussed earlier, they recognize the value in putting themselves first.
In other words – strong women have self-respect.
But they’re not cutthroat – strong women put boundaries in place, and they give people chances.
It’s only when someone keeps disrespecting them that they walk away and never look back.
6) Being financially independent
Ah, this one hits home. For the last year and a half, I’ve earned much more than my partner.
And I’ll admit it – I felt guilty at the start. He never said anything about it, in fact, he’s very supportive. But I could tell that it bothered him when I could afford things and he couldn’t.
But I decided to look at all the strong women around me and follow their example.
They don’t feel bad for being financially independent. I think it’s because they’ve gotten themselves out of this mindset that a man always has to be the provider.
After all, if a woman has studied and worked hard, she should be proud to take home a good salary and be able to support herself or her family.
Put simply, strong women don’t put down their achievements just to make others feel better about themselves.
7) Not conforming to societal norms
“Women should be married by the time they hit 30.”
“You don’t have kids yet? Don’t leave it too late!”
“A woman’s place is at home, supporting her husband.”
Okay, the last one might be an exaggeration, but believe it or not, there are still people who think this way. But strong women don’t feel bad for not conforming to outdated beliefs.
They choose, alongside their partners, when to have kids. They get married when THEY feel the time is right.
And yes, strong women support their husbands, but they expect the same in return, too!
They do all this without feeling guilty because they know they’re just as deserving, important, and worthy as anyone else out there.
They follow their own path and block out what the rest of the world thinks they *should* do.
8) Taking time off
Ever take a day off when you’re feeling under the weather, only to sit in bed feeling bad about it?
Strong women do the opposite.
They feel good about making time for themselves, especially when they notice their body needs time to rest and heal.
After all, how can they show up at their job or for their family if they’re run down and suffering from burnout?
That doesn’t help anyone. So women like this avoid feeling guilty by making the most of their time off – they make it count.
9) Valuing alone time
On my journey to becoming a stronger woman, I suffered particularly with this point. I used to give up my alone time to please others. I had a fear of disappointing them.
But one thing I’ve learned to do is value my alone time without feeling guilty. It was hard at the start, especially when my mother-in-law wanted to meet or my partner made plans for us.
If I was craving some “me-time” I’d battle internally over saying yes to the plans or being assertive and putting myself first.
The good news is, it does get easier with practice.
And I think that applies to everything that makes a strong woman; they continuously reinforce these habits until they become second nature.
That’s why, when their friends or family say, “Hey, we want to pop over,” a strong woman doesn’t feel bad about saying, “Sorry, I’m having a quiet day at home. Can we meet tomorrow instead?”
10) Making mistakes
Let’s imagine for a moment that a strong woman makes a mistake at work, or forgets her best friend’s birthday because she’s been busy.
Of course, she’ll feel things about it. She may even feel bad for a few minutes. But rather than let the guilt consume her, she’ll do what she can to rectify the situation.
At work, she’ll fix the mistakes and take note of them, so she doesn’t repeat them in the future.
She’ll apologize sincerely to her friend, and take her for lunch to make up for it.
Rather than dwell on the negatives, she gives herself a break.
You see, strong women know that mistakes are just a part of life. You can either torture yourself with the guilt night after night or learn from it and move on!
So, there we have it, 10 things strong women never feel guilty about.
There are lessons here for all of us to learn from, but the main one is that we should never feel bad for putting our well-being first.
Not to mention – getting over guilt doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process, it takes time, but once you achieve it, it’s so worth it!