1. Apologizing all the time: Research has shown that women actually do say “sorry” more often than men. We’re all for taking responsibility when you make a mistake — but constantly apologizing for having your waiter split the check or asking a date to hang out on a different night or telling a friend about your problems, does more harm than good. There’s no need to qualify everything you do. Own your preferences and decisions.
2. Saying “yes” to everyone else: Yes, I will meet you for coffee even though I’m exhausted and just want to go home and crawl into bed. Yes, I will edit your resume even though I’m swamped with my own work. Yes, I will go on a double date with you, your almost-boyfriend and his awful friend who’s in town. Stop saying “yes” when you don’t truly mean it. People actually respect you more when you set boundaries.
3. Saying “no” to yourself: A lot of women spend a whole lot of time deciding what we can’t do or shouldn’t do or aren’t good enough to do. Don’t allow your insecurities and anxieties to make your decisions for you — you’ll only end up missing out on worthwhile experiences. So go talk to that group of people you think you won’t fit in with, stay out late against your better judgment every once in awhile and treat yourself to that blowout even if you don’t really need it.
4. Viewing food as the enemy: Women often receive the message that our ultimate worth lies in our looks. Our hair should be smoothed or perfectly curled, our makeup on at all times — but natural-looking — and our bodies bangin’ (read: thin). In the quest to achieve these impossible standards, it’s easy to see food as something to contend with rather than to enjoy. Be cognizant of what you put in your body — after all, it’s the only one you have — but try to do away with the guilt. Savor every bite of that gnocchi with gorgonzola or that Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream or those fresh cherry tomatoes. Food should not come with regrets. As Nora Ephron wrote, “I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.”
5. Feeling like an impostor when you accomplish something professionally: Women are more likely than men to feel like “impostors” at work, often doubting whether we deserve the successes we achieve. Start taking your accomplishments at face value. You got that new job or promotion or grade or public recognition because you were worthy of it.
6. Comparing your real life to someone else’s virtual one: Spending a ton of time obsessing over your own online life can be anxiety-provoking — but so can obsessing over other peoples’ virtual personas. Research has shown that Facebook addiction is correlated with lower self-esteem. And who wouldn’t feel bad sitting in bed on a Monday night scrolling through your ex’s vacation photo album or the enthusiastic statuses your friend in the fashion industry posted during a celeb-filled party? Instead of playing a constant game of comparison, which studies have shown can actually magnify feelings of depression, just close your laptop and enjoy the present. At least it’s real.
7. Judging other women’s sex lives: No woman deserves to be put down for who she sleeps with, how many people she sleeps with or how she chooses to express her sexuality. Next time you’re about to call another woman a “prude” or a “slut” just zip your lips. Even Miley Cyrus and her twerking shouldn’t be slut-shamed.
8. Judging your own sex life: No one needs to know your “number.” And honestly, you probably care a whole lot more about what the sex you’re having (or not having) supposedly says about you than anyone else does.
9. Fearing the label “crazy”: There is no easier way to discredit a woman’s opinion or feelings than to accuse her of being overly emotional. “I don’t think this idea that women are ‘crazy,’ is based in some sort of massive conspiracy,” wrote author Yashar Ali in a blog for The Huffington Post. “Rather, I believe it’s connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis.” Being scared of the label only encourages women to silence themselves. Plus, everyone has a little bit of crazy inside of them — regardless of gender.
10. Being embarrassed about your interests: “I want to be a f**king feminist and wear a f**king Peter Pan collar. So f**king what?,” said Zooey Deschanel in a Glamor magazine Interview. Take a cue from the actress and stop caring what you “should” look like/care about/talk about. If you love girly things, love girly things. If you don’t, don’t. Embrace your lack of knowledge about music, your football obsession and your weakness for both “Game of Thrones” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” And if there’s a particular subject area you don’t know about but you encounter someone who does? Take the opportunity to ask questions.
Another thing women should do is stop settling in your relationships. Click here to learn how to get or keep the man that you truly desire.