A woman who fought back after the sudden death of her 26-year-old husband — on the third anniversary of her mother's untimely passing — is sharing her advice with women for how to be strong.
Amy Morin, a psychotherapist-turned-writer, has penned a new book, "13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do."
Her first piece of advice: Don't compare yourself.
"When men compare themselves to other men, sometimes they feel inspired. They'll think, 'I could be like that someday.' But when women compare themselves, they tend to feel bad about themselves and think, 'I'll never achieve that,'" she told Inside Edition.
Second: Don't overthink things.
"One of the simplest ways to stop that is to schedule time to worry. Carve out 15 minutes a day to sit down and worry, and if you start to worry outside that time, tell yourself it's not time to worry yet," she said.
She added, "Self doubt is a huge problem. It stops us in our tracks."
Third: Try not to slam others.
"Something that's really tempting when we want to move ourselves up on the hierarchy — we tend to say, 'I'll knock other people down and it'll make me look better,' but obviously in the long run, that doesn't work," she said.
"It's really important as women if we band together, if we support each other, if we lift each other up, we all win in the end."
Don't feel bad if you want to reinvent yourself.
"Your true self changes over time and it's OK for your life to reflect those changes," she said.
And lastly, never downplay your success.
"Women often minimize their accomplishments," Morin said. "It's OK to acknowledge, 'I'm doing OK.' You don't have to shrink yourself."
Read an excerpt from Morin's new book, which is on sale now, below:
From the book 13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG WOMEN DON’T DO: Own Your Power, Channel Your Confidence, and Find Your Authentic Voice for a Life of Meaning and Joy by Amy Morin. Copyright © 2019 by Amy Morin. On sale December 31 from William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT IS HAPPENING
We’ve likely all had times when we’ve stood there listening to someone tell an offensive joke and we didn’t speak up. And we’ve all had that one acquaintance who takes things too far and yet we don’t say anything. Whether we fear appearing like a prude or we worry that we’ll make things worse, we stay silent. Part of the reason we stay silent may stem from our inability to recognize when our rights have been violated or when we’ve been objectified.
As a therapist, I often work with parents on teaching their children the anatomically correct words for their body parts. Telling your kids about their bodies and what constitutes safe and unsafe touches is one of the best ways to protect them against a child predator. Kids who have the language to tell someone what happened to them are more likely to get help—and they may even be successful in fending a predator off.
Having the right language is important for adults too. You need to know what’s happening to you so you can take appropriate action. That’s not to say you can’t come forward if you’re not quite sure whether what happened to you constitutes sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. But knowing your rights were violated or that you were subjected to inappropriate contact is important.
That inappropriate sexual joke that your coworker emailed, the lewd comments that your neighbor makes about your sexual orientation, and the whistles you endure when you walk past a group of men on the sidewalk are just a few examples of inappropriate behavior.
Before you can talk about what has happened to you, you need the language to describe it. Naming it—whether you were sexually harassed, stalked, or raped—empowers you to be able to speak up about it.
It’s important to note that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s OK. Many of our laws are archaic. It’s illegal for a man to expose himself to you for the purpose of sexual gratification. But there’s nothing illegal about a man sending you unwanted nude photos of himself.
There also isn’t a federal law against street harassment. And studies show 85 percent of women have experienced some form of street harassment, such as catcalling. Some individual states have created legislation to help protect individuals on the streets from being subjected to harassment, but I suspect it’d have to be a major offense for police to take it seriously. Calling 911 to say a construction worker whistled at you isn’t likely to be helpful.
But some of the women I interviewed for this book weren’t offended when they were catcalled. In fact, one woman said, “I take it as a compliment. I’m glad men are noticing my looks.” But many others mentioned how uncomfortable they felt from street harassment. One woman said, “Catcallers have actually changed the way I dress. I try to cover up my body with big jackets in the winter or I avoid wearing skirts in the summer because I don’t want to draw any attention to myself. In fact, I do everything I can to try to not be noticed.”
Speaking up to a street harasser isn’t likely to make it stop. In fact, it might not be safe to say anything. But on the whole, women need to speak out against being objectified with crude comments or sexual gestures. It’s a way men try to be dominant over women. If we make it known that it’s not OK, maybe someday we can create a culture where catcalls aren’t the norm.
Once you become aware of the ways women can get silenced in the workplace, it becomes so blaringly obvious that you might question why you didn’t notice it sooner. In workplaces across the globe, men are getting the bigger offices, higher pay, and better clients.
Some might argue that’s because they speak up in meetings. But of course there are many factors that go into determining how much airtime anyone gets in the workplace.
Take a look around your workplace, and if you notice that women aren’t speaking up, think about some of the possible reasons why. Do men talk over women in meetings? Do women get accused of nagging, talking too much, or being a bitch?
Do your part to make sure your voice is heard. Sit in the front—and save a seat for your friend. Start an email conversation. Create a list of ways your workplace could help women convey their messages better, and present it to management.