Pick the most hardworking woman in your office, and chances are, she’ll still feel like she’s not doing enough. “Nearly all the women I know are stressing themselves sick over the pathological fear that they simply aren't doing enough with their lives.” says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestselling book Eat, Pray Love. “Which is crazy—absolutely flat-out bananas—because the women I know do a lot, and they do it well.”

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So from the woman who’s raising her kids to the working mom who feels like she’s not doing a good enough job of being a parent, why are so many amazing women out there belittling themselves so much? Gilbert cites several reasons:

We lack female role models historically.
There are plenty of smart, brave, and simply amazing women making waves in different industries today, but back in the day, there were only so many of them to choose from. Case in point: How many women presidents have we had and compare that number to male presidents. “We don't have centuries of educated, autonomous female role models to imitate here (there were no women quite like us until very recently), so nobody has given us a map.”

We’re constantly pitting ourselves against each other.
We can blame the media, but we should also review our own thoughts. How many times have we thought that our cousin made a better mother or that our sister was more successful?

It’s time to put a stop to this. Stop thinking so little of your efforts and other women’s efforts. Stop thinking that you should have pursued further studies instead of raising your kids or vice-versa. Accept that you’ll make mistakes, that you’ll choose the wrong guy, and that you’ll miss out on some things.

“This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted—by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds.”

PHOTO: Alan C./Flickr Creative Commons

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