I am a 26-year-old single, low maintenance kind of Indian girl, who studied hard, worked hard without socialising much, avoided conflicts all her life and somehow landed in Europe.
For the past few months, I have been teaching myself to take big decisions in my life and it’s been a rough road. I find myself clueless most of the times and even wonder that if I’d have been a guy, maybe things would have been different.
Coming from a protective family, I didn’t quite learn to make hard choices. I wasn’t encouraged to make my own decision. There was no reward for it. Things that I got to choose didn’t make much difference in my existence back then. The outcome of such decisions didn’t teach me anything because there was nothing at stake. Every big decision of my life was taken by my elders.
But, over the years, I taught myself to take a leap for independence by actually starting to make a lot of decisions. I moved to a new country for my job. Every single day now, I take one or more important decisions in my life. I plan a vacation and travel to a new country. I plan my stay, my transportation and sometimes just take off without even planning. I take help of absolutely no one. I didn’t always take the best decisions but the fact that I am choosing everything on my own now, makes me feel confident.
I am about to decide on bigger things. Like which country I am going to settle in, where I’d buy my home, how I’d invest my money, where should I work in the future, what type of guy I’d settle for, and it scares me. It scares me a lot because these are life-changing decisions. These decisions will change my future. I’d have given up by now if I hadn’t rebelled to move to a new city. I wouldn’t have survived in a new country without being that rebellious girl first.
I realise that the bittersweetness of failing by taking a bad decision is much greater than the joy of savouring the outcome of someone else’s decision.
To all those girls, who have been raised in a protective household, who were raised to be careful and cautious with every choice, those who have compromised on their dreams to please others, those who have made decisions under the pressure of family, and those who find it difficult even to select a dress while shopping, you can teach yourself decision-making.
Take control of everything in your life starting today. Start small, by taking tiny but important decisions, like moving to a new place, starting a new hobby etc. Slowly, you will start to see yourself facing the bigger questions regarding your finances, career and personal life. Don’t be sorry, if you end up making a few mistakes. Often, we are in such a vulnerable position that even a small sign of weakness immediately puts us back to a place where we get pampered and coddled by everyone around us. Sometimes, deny those modest offers and say –“You know what, I got it”, and move on.
It’s time to deliberately make mistakes. To push yourself and expose yourself to a broader decision-making arena. Don’t wait for your future husband to decide the city you want to live in. Do your research, make a plan, and just take off. Take that unknown road and find a way back home. That’s the only way to get better at living your life on your own times. It requires you to toughen up, but you don’t need to abandon your femininity in the process.
There are many independent girls who come across this big life-changing question every single day about the kind of partners they want in their life. They are totally confused about the qualities they can compromise on in their partner and the qualities which are absolutely non-negotiable. They have barely dated or met any guys in their life. They are unaware of their choices because they haven’t seen enough. If we would have equipped our daughters to realize what is right for them perhaps they would have grown more confident about their choices.
When it comes to making hard choices, for example, the decision about choosing a partner, there are no best alternatives. The choices are hard as these involve one’s values and you can’t quantify values. You have to be self-aware in order to make hard choices. Self-awareness about what kind of person you want to become and then choose the action that leads you to become that person.
We need to bring up our daughters without many restrictions and help them trust their own instincts otherwise they are bound to start questioning themselves at some point. We need to dream big for our daughters.
Ask her simple questions like what kind of hair-cut she would like to have. Ask her early so that she gets used to asking herself about what she wants. When we don’t let our daughters and sisters take these small decisions, they lack a sense of decision-making when they grow up. When they face the big changes in life, they end up seeking someone’s help.
Don’t cut her wings before she learns to fly. Be supportive of her adventure. Do not tell her to follow the same career that her brother pursued. Ask her what she wants to study and what she wants to become. Trust her with her choices even if they don’t make sense to you.
We need to reach a place where our girls can make big decisions on their own and take full accountability of the consequences. We need to teach our girls to seek more challenges without fear. We need to equip our daughters, let them wander and commit a few mistakes.
By letting our daughters decide, we nurture leadership qualities in them from the early age. They grow up to become smart, intelligent, self-reliant and independent women for whom even the sky is not the limit.
This article was originally published here.