We are not ever “less than”
Throughout my childhood, I tried to show my parents that having me was not a total devastating loss – I was fearless in doing things, excelled at school, never demanded for anything, and brought home lots of awards. But they never once said “I’m proud of you, Susan” or to let me know that whatever I have achieved even mattered to them. I do know for a fact that they love me, but they love me a bit “less than” just because I am a girl.
They eventually had my brother five years after me and my sister and I were often told that we must always let him win in everything and never let any harm come to him. That did cause some resentment from his sisters who did not understand why he was so precious just because he was a boy. But I do adore my brother and would protect him from any harm coming his way, just because he is my younger sibling, as I do with my younger sister who came shortly after my brother.
I believe this is one of the major reasons why I am so passionate about women’s empowerment today, and that being a woman does not make us “less than” in any way. We should have the same opportunities to be leaders, to be paid the same, to be given a seat at the big table, to be allowed to amplify our voices and to lift up other women along the way. No matter what I did, I could never get my parents to fully appreciate or love me like they do with my brother. With that life lesson, I also came to understand that we could not fully control what others think or feel about us, whether it’s our parents, colleagues, friends or even bosses. However, we should certainly strive to bring our best selves to everything we do, not for the sake of anyone else but for the sake of our own happiness and satisfaction.
You may often hear me say that I am my worst enemy and my best champion. But whichever end I land on, it’s all me and my own doing. I take pride in my accomplishments, and I take responsibility for my failures. I want all the women out there to know this – that no matter what circumstances you came from or where you are at this moment in your lives, you are strong, powerful and no one can take that away from you.
People may ask why I would forgive my parents for loving me “less than” my brother. It is because I do love them for giving me life, giving me my amazing siblings, and inspiring me in many other ways to be strong and independent, despite their unfortunate limiting belief that boys are somehow better than girls. I am truly grateful for all they have done for me and the opportunities they have given me in life. But more importantly, by forgiving them, the unfairness I had felt when I was young no longer holds any power over me so that I am free to move on.
So, if you have a sister, a daughter, a mother, a female friend or any female acquaintances, I encourage you to take the time to give them a hug and tell them that they are never “less than.” If they are like me, they may have been waiting to hear that all their lives.
Founder & CEO
The Koa Club
Be Brave. Be Koa