In my work as a clinical psychologist, I often observe successful and accomplished women struggling with issues surrounding feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. My patients, many of whom are young adults, often express unwarranted feelings of doubt and insecurity that conflict with reality. Common invalidating phrases that my clients regularly share include “I don’t know but…” or “I know this is silly but…”
Why do so many women feel the need to put themselves down and invalidate themselves? I’d like to examine this tendency and suggest some practical behavioral changes that will help develop new, more empowering habits.
On a macro level, there has been some recent progress in championing women’s rights as demonstrated by the Women’s March and the #metoo and #timesup movements. However, this progress can give us the illusion that we are further along the path to true empowerment than we actually are. On a micro level, that progress is slower when translated to individual women as they try to reverse the messages women have internalized for decades. To what degree are women internalizing the messages behind these movements? It’s time to pick up the pace.