Competition and comparison are at the core of the original accomplished woman, as defined in Pride and Prejudice. As Caroline Bingley says, “no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with.” In fact, Caroline Bingley’s handy guide to spotting an accomplished woman is one sentence long: Is she better than everybody else?
And by “better” she meant “classier.” More well-bred, more taste, more money. I think the dictionary definition of accomplished is pretty appropriate here. Check out #3 below: “having all the social graces, manners, and other attainments of polite society.”
To Caroline Bingley, being accomplished was about impressing other people: she valued appearances and looking better than everybody else. But the dictionary definitions above don’t accommodate my ideas about what a modern-day accomplished woman looks like.
Because first of all, today’s accomplished woman is comfortable in her own skin.
I loved Lucky’s comment on the first post in the series: “Maybe the accomplished woman in 2011 is one who is happy in her own skin and making the world conform to her own vision of accomplishment no matter if that means climbing mountains, climbing the corporate ladder or climbing on the jungle gym with her kids.”
Yes! I think being an accomplished woman today has to do with shaping a meaningful life, not impressing the neighbors, and it’s very difficult to do this successfully without first knowing yourself and being comfortable with who you are. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you don’t feel compelled to play the competition game and you don’t need to try and impress other people.
Being comfortable with who you are has a vast impact on so many aspects of life. Knowing ourselves–and accepting ourselves for who we are–affects our relationships and our careers, the way we dress and the way we eat, the books we read and the movies we see, our priorities and our dreams.
And when you’re comfortable in your own skin, you never have to waste time trying to be someone you’re not. You can just be you. (You’ll be happier being you, anyway.)
(And to those of you who feel like you don’t know yourself, or that you don’t know who you are, don’t panic: a wise woman once told me that self-acceptance is the journey of the 20s. You’ll get there if you pay attention.)
So there we have it: the first key to being a modern-day accomplished woman is to be comfortable in your own skin.
What about you? Are you comfortable in your own skin?