Last Saturday I went to the birthday of a friend of mine who had just turned twenty-one. In the Netherlands in some circles it is very common to celebrate your 21st birthday by hosting a large dinner at your parents’ house and inviting twenty-one of your closest friends to eat dinner with you. The thought behind this is for your parents to get to know your friends from university that they might not have met yet and vice versa. It is usually a very joyous occasion with both friends and parents giving speeches to celebrate – or poke fun at – the birthday girl.
With a group of friends, we have adopted the tradition of assembling a scrap book with photos and stories of our dearest memories with that friend and giving it as a present at the party. At the very end of the album every member of our friend group writes a personal note describing a funny memory and why they appreciate you as a friend.
Last Saturday I was flipping through this section and I recognized a red threat in most of these personal notes; I admire you because you are a strong woman. Of course my friend who turned twenty-one last Saturday is a very strong woman, but I recalled that I have written something along the same lines for all of my female friends. This may sound as if I am not very original, but I do mean it every time. All of my female friends are strong women, and I very much appreciate that.
It got me thinking. Calling someone a strong woman is one of the best compliments you can give someone, in my eyes. You can call someone beautiful or pretty, but what does that say about who that person is? You can use make-up or dress a certain way, but essentially you were born with certain characteristics and there is not much you can do to change that. Furthermore, beauty standards differ so much per time period or per culture. What we considered beautiful thirty years ago may not be what we consider beautiful right now. However, calling someone a strong woman not only compliments them on who they are as a person, but is also a universal compliment. It addresses their accomplishments instead of the genetic make-up they were born with. In that sense being a strong woman depends on the choices you make and how you live your life. And I know for certain, you, my dear @KhaleejiGirl, are a strong woman.
Strong women have dreams and aspirations and are not afraid to pursue them. Strong women know what they want and they do not care about what others think. Strong women are there for others when they need to be. But strong women can also have moments where they are not as strong as they wish they were. In those moments, do not be afraid to ask for help, because the primary characteristic for a strong woman is to not be afraid to ask for help when needed. Just because you may have moments when you are not feeling very strong, that does not mean you are never strong. Everyone is unique in their own way; therefore, every woman can be strong in her own way.
So this post is for all my strong women out there; be confident in who you are, because you are a strong woman and I believe in you.