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  • Writer's pictureMatilda Butler

Gratitude: More Words of Wisdom

Gratitude for Words of Wisdom from Other Women: Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about words of wisdom provided by women who participated in the large number of interviews I conducted for the collective memoir: Rosie’s Daughters: “The First Woman To” Generation Tells Their Stories.

If you missed that article, click here. Today's article follows the DO IT NOW wisdom.

WISDOM 2: “Take Charge of Your Life”

I want to express gratitude for these words of wisdom. The wisdom goes hand-in-hand with yesterday's for if you're going to follow the advice to Do It Now, you need to ensure that what you're doing now is based on decisions that are truly your own. If you are going to spend the effort to Do It Now, be sure you are making progress toward your own goals -- toward the life you want to live.

Over the years, I’ve learned how easy it is to let yourself be swept along by decisions that you got caught up in, but weren’t really your own.

The Role for Others in Your Life

It’s hard to deny that letting others decide for you gives you an easy excuse if things don’t work out. It’s always nice to have someone to blame.

But deep inside, you probably know you’d rather be in charge of your fate. And if you don’t, then you might want to consider why you feel that way.

I remember an incident many years ago. I was talking with a fellow (well sister) graduate student. She didn’t yet have a topic for her thesis. We were having lunch together and she confided in me: “I wish my advisor would just tell me what I should do. I don’t really care. Then I’d get the research done. I know I can do that.”

How did I react? What did I say? Actually, I don’t remember my words. I hope I had good advice for her -- but I doubt it. I just recall that I was shocked she wouldn’t want to spend the required months of research and writing on a topic that she cared about — on a topic that might determine her future career. She was giving her power to others — or at least wanted to.

At that point, I realized my own need to keep the reins in my hands and not let others take over.

Of Course, Others Do Have a Role

Sure, there is much to be learned from others. I know I certainly need advice and continue to seek out the wisdom of others. There have been a number of mentors in my life and I'm incredibly grateful to them. I think the point here is to take advice, to listen to what others have to say -- but then make your own decisions on what you will and won’t do.

Quotes from Women Interviewed

I've pulled some quotes from the interviews I did. I am always struck by the impassioned words of this woman:

“You are the author of your own life. You may not know where you’re going or how you’re going to get there. But there are choices along the way that you make whether consciously or unconsciously. Even the decisions you don’t make are choices. You are influenced, but at the end of the day you’re the person who makes those decisions. You can’t blame or give that power away. Don’t be afraid to be a risk taker. Focus on what’s important to you. Live out your dreams.”

Here is another expression of taking charge that may inspire you:

“This has been the best decade of my life. Think positive, and this could be the best part of your life. Do what you want to do. You’ve earned it.”

And equally strong advice came in these words,

“Grab hold of your life. Be the master of your own ship.”

Not convinced yet? Still holding back on committing to taking charge? Consider these words,

“Follow your dreams. Don’t wait for life to happen to you. You’re in control.”

It seems to be that this is important advice for women. We're the gender who so frequently puts everyone else’s needs before their own. Life often seems out of our control, so an occasional reminder to be in charge is especially helpful.

If you accept that you need to be in control of your life, then your marching orders are to Claim Your Independence. Here’s what one woman said:

“If you haven’t gained any independence, then do so. Your husband may die, your children may move away. You need to have the confidence in yourself to carry on independently.”

Another woman was even more succinct:

“You must be independent. You need to have your own life, your own money, your own career.”

That’s a Lot to Take In

Today’s gratitude to other women for their Words of Wisdom is actually a lot to take in. It all seems so serious and not nearly as light hearted as I was intending when I started writing this blog.

Many of you will find that you already have taken charge of your life and you can express gratitude for that. It is so important.

And if you haven’t taken charge, then I hope you’ll find new ideas to ponder about how and why you make decisions about your life.

Gratitude for the advice of these woman!


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Clearly it is a delicate balance between maintaining the control (power) over what you do and think and accepting (working with) others. The opinions of others do count for something. Often they can come up with an idea or angle you haven't considered, and even make your task easier. I do think, however, that generally speaking women tend to give up their power too easily. It's something we should all work on. And I am grateful for your perspective on this subject.

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