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A few weeks ago, I overheard a mother when asked to advise her daughter on the morning of her wedding tell her never to forget that there is no divorce in their family. How sad? I thought.

How do you watch your child jump into a deep sea and then tell her that she can’t come ashore no matter how turbulent it gets? It’s no wonder we have women staying put in explosively violent marriages, making spaces from their closets to pray for their angry husbands instead of fleeing to safety.

That’s the single worst piece of relationship advice I have heard. And it got me thinking about how many women we have out there living their lives on default. Who are waiting for life to happen to them, living life as it happens.

Women who only took up careers to fulfil their parent’s shelved dreams, who married a man they only had lukewarm feelings for because everyone said that he was good for them. Women who have children only because it’s what is expected of them, because an alternate decision will have people wondering what is wrong with them.


I think that for a lot of women, the decision not to change anything in their lives is driven by the fear of standing out. The fear of being labelled a rebel. We are still a society that raises girls to stay in the shadows, which tells women that becoming popular is a valid life goal.


What any woman who would like to customise a certain area of her life but is afraid to needs to hear is that no matter what, there is going to be a label slapped on you. Be too good and they will call you a door mat, enjoy house work too much and they will call you unambitious, be a leader and they will call you bossy. So change things anyway.

Say no more often. Quit that career everyone told you was the ultimate dream and pursue your interest in painting if this will get you more fulfilled, look for a man who like you does not want children, travel the world together. Ignore what everyone else has to say. Stop being one of those people who carry on as if they are victims of life. Those women who never quite take responsibility for anything in their lives because, you know, that is how it has always been.

A good place to start would be asking more questions. I have this friend who questions everything. ‘but why is that?” she keeps asking in situations you would never even think to question. “That’s how it’s supposed to be,” is never an adequate answer for her. She is unpopular but she is also one of the most fulfilled humans I have ever met. So if you think that there could be another way, speak up.

Make it a goal to determine the outcome of your day every morning. You might just get to that very elusive happily ever after.