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What does it mean to be a powerful woman?
I’m not talking about those top-level executives in some high-rise building. I mean, they’re powerful, no doubt, and they made their way to the top, so there’s some validity there about determination. But what I’m really talking about is what makes us feel empowered as women.
I’ve thought about this a lot lately, and I’ve had this writing prompt on my list of blog ideas for a long, long time. I think it’s true that each of us has our own definition of what it means to be a powerful woman, but I’ve been thinking hard about this over the last few weeks in an effort to find the answers. These are the some of the qualities that I believe a powerful woman embodies.
1. She knows the subtle difference between authentic and counterfeit.
Now, I’m not talking about handbags here, y’all. I’m talking about the discernment a woman has that allows her to read people well. I’m a big believer that others show us who they are and give us glimpses of their true character. A powerful woman walks away from counterfeit people.
2. She has a presence about her that’s unmistakable.
Have you ever been to a dinner party where a few people who are invited aren’t ones you’ve ever met? A powerful woman walks into a room and energetically, we all feel it. There’s just something about a woman with a presence like that because people will instantly feel connected to her. It doesn’t necessarily mean she’s overconfident either—she just inadvertently commands a room when she enters it.
3. She chooses her friends wisely.
I’m not talking about Facebook friends because we all have those who are the friend of a friend of a friend. I’m speaking of the friends that we know without a doubt have our back no matter what. A powerful woman chooses to surround herself with trustworthy friends who would never speak ill of her, kick her when she’s down, or disrespect her loyalty.
4. She knows who she is.
People may be able to negotiate on anything in the world with her, but she will never, ever negotiate on who she is as a woman. A powerful woman knows what her deal breakers are and lets go of the people or things that don’t resonate with her core values.
5. She is assertive about what she needs.
This can be related to friendships, relationships, jobs, what have you. A powerful woman instinctively knows what fits her and she doesn’t bend on that. Being assertive doesn’t mean that she always has to be right, either. It just means that she’s not afraid to ask for what she needs and isn’t afraid to see what’s under the next rock if she’s not getting it.
6. She is fiercely loyal, but she’s not a doormat.
That’s not to say that we all haven’t been in that place where we’ve let others dictate our every move. It merely means that she doesn’t continually allow someone to step on her and wipe their feet while they’re at it. A powerful woman senses when boundaries are being crossed and sets new rules.
7. She forgives but doesn’t necessarily forget.
Let’s face it: that whole forgive and forget thing just isn’t realistic. The truth of the matter is, people will hurt her. A powerful woman extends forgiveness but doesn’t allow herself to continue fostering relationships that may not be healthy for her. It’s that once bitten twice shy thing. Even the family dog runs away when it’s been kicked too much.
8. She knows what she has to offer.
This can also relate to friendships, relationships, jobs, etc. A powerful woman knows what she brings to the table and she’s not afraid to lay it all out. Not only that, she isn’t reluctant to release the things that don’t live up to her expectations. She doesn’t sacrifice herself for the selfish needs of others nor does she accept anything less than she gives.
9. She cares about what you have to say.
There’s a difference between listening and hearing. If she’s invested in you in any way, shape or form, there will be no doubt that she’s hearing you when you’re speaking to her. A powerful woman makes good eye contact and recognizes that in order to be invested, there’s going to be a lot of give-and-take.
10. She has a quiet determination about her that is unyielding.
She knows that there will be times when life will knock her off her feet. A powerful woman steps back, re-assesses situations, and does whatever she needs to in order to dust herself off and keep going. That might mean hibernating, isolating herself from the everyday world, or eating a half-gallon of her favorite ice cream all in one sitting. Self-care is of the utmost importance and she recognizes that.
11. She speaks her truth, whether it’s the popular opinion or not.
She knows how her experiences have made her the woman she is. A powerful woman isn’t swayed by her story even when someone tries to manipulate her or guilt her into remaining silent so that others won’t have to be uncomfortable.
I don’t think powerful women are just born being powerful.
I truly believe self-empowerment comes from the experiences we have in this crazy thing called life. Every one of us has been wounded in a battle of some sort and the scars we’ve acquired have made us who we are today. I think that most of us can agree that we can always become better versions of ourselves, it just takes some time to navigate those paths. If you aren’t feeling empowered, maybe it’s time to do some self-inventory and see what areas of your life are lacking the things you need in order to be fulfilled. It’s not an easy task, but I’m confident that you can do it.
Til next time, stay sassy!
What qualities do you think a powerful woman has in her arsenal?