Difficult. They call you difficult. Maybe it’s because you answer back, you are a bit too loud or you’re up to challenge the status quo. Probably, you’re not easily pleased. For sure, they don’t know that in your 20s you used to be nice and desperately trying to fit in.
It’s only 30 years later, you suddenly realize that well-behaved women rarely make history: you have a voice and some experience. You do have an opinion.
Midlife is probably the right time to embrace your own truth and speak your mind. If that means not allowing people to play games, messing around, or disrespecting your work or ideas, that’s absolutely fine. Unfortunately, most of us have been raised to be ‘polite’, so it takes a while to start pushing ourselves a little further.
It really doesn’t take much to be a difficult woman- says Karen Karbo, author of ‘In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons From 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules‘ -. Really you just have to not be too concerned with what people think about you and you’re eventually going to run into someone who thinks you’re difficult because you’re inconveniencing them.
Rather than “setting out to be difficult”, Karbo is more concerned with how women might “take the corsets off of our personality. Women are so strangled by being nice and charitable and self-sacrificing and all these things which are part of our nature but not the whole part”.
From Gloria Steinem to Hillary Clinton, including Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickinson and Maya Angelou, just to name a few, the world is plenty of women who, showing ambition or defiance, have been always dismissed as unlikable or emotional. But the truth is that difficult women are simply assertive and independent women, with clear values. And just because they are called difficult, that doesn’t mean that they are unkind, cold or mean; they are realists and not easy to manipulate, they stick to their opinion and more often foster great ambition.
And is there a problem with that? I don’t think so. We’re not necessarily nice or difficult; we are all made up of many different and often contradictory, conflicting parts. It’s just –difficult women- don’t like being nice at the expense of their sense of self-worth.