Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part One

I have been reflecting how fortunate I have been to know and be influenced by so many strong women in my life - and men that support and empower those women as well.  As a woman, I am very supportive of true female equality.  I do not tend to embrace all of the modern aspects of the feminist movement, but I am aligned with the traditional tenets of female equality.  I believe men and women are different in many ways, in necessary ways, that in teams and friendships and families those differences complement one another.

Strong women are not always the same, but they share certain traits.  Resiliency, adaptability, personal accountability, true kindness (and not superficial 'sweetness') are some of those threads that seem to be common throughout the strong women I know.

I want to shine a light on those women, as they have inspired me and influenced me, and continue daily to make an impact on my life.

The first woman I thought of when thinking about this series of posts was a woman I met through my sister.  Truthfully, I don't know her as well as I wish I did, but have enjoyed getting to know her and benefit from her personality and talents.

Even just on the surface she is impressive.  She is an accomplished and highly educated accountant.  In the early stages of getting to know her, it was obvious that she is well read, well traveled and very articulate.  She is also a skilled photographer.  But going deeper than that, she is a great mother.  She balances her career and motherhood with grace.  She exudes gratefulness.  She balances good humor with a practical approach to life, including parenting.  She has a curiosity about learning things that I absolutely in everyone I see who has it.

Like everyone, she has had sorrow and setbacks in her life - especially losing both of her parents fairly young.  Strength is not achieved through an easy life, but rather through overcoming challenges.  I love how she has taken ownership of her feelings, her influences and her choices.  She recognizes that not everyone will agree with her, but she presses on anyway.  She balances her accomplishments with humility.  She recognizes and appreciates what keeps her strong when she feels overwhelmed with grief.

She made a comment to me recently that I loved.  We were commiserating about how we are both perceived as being nerdy.  She was a good student, and she maintains a passion for extended learning.  She reads extensively and listens to audio books and shares the things she is reading.  We agreed that not everyone appreciates this "nerdy" side of us, but these traits are the foundation that make her the accomplished woman she is today.  You cannot appreciate the accomplishment without appreciating the core of who she is and how she achieved it.

I have slowly gotten to know her through sharing of social media posts and occasional meetings over the last several years.  She is eclectic, intelligent and fun to be around.  She exudes a sense of thankfulness for what she has, even as she reflects on sorrow or regret.  She owns the path that she has chosen, which I think is a defining factor for every strong woman I know.  We must own the choices we have made, our mistakes, our regrets, and learn from them and move forward.

Her grace as a woman - in her career, in how she parents, in how she lives for her passions - inspire me with every encounter.  She appreciates the people in her life who share their stories, their passions and their achievements.  She leaves no room for envy in this, but instead a sense of celebration for others.  I feel blessed to know her.