Women, honest question: How often have you redirected a conversation, held back input, or even refused to participate in discussion when you’ve felt intelligent? I know I have, on more than one occasion, mostly to gain social acceptance. We “smart women” who enjoy more authentic topics than the latest celebrity gossip and diet fad sometimes have a difficult time deciphering an appropriate social sphere for our contradictions, theses, and observations.
1. No One seems to notice. As human beings, eye contact is not only a sign of consciousness but also of rationality. When we make contact, we are connected to a person in a way differing from every other person in the room. We communicate ourselves in thought, speech, and mood. Therefore, when this contact is broken to look at the drama in the corner, the person who just walked in the door, and other distractions, we inevitably hear, “What is happening over there is much more interesting and deserves my attention more than you do, to whom I’m only slightly committed.” Don’t be deterred if this happens to you—you have something worth saying! Command attention and plow ahead. To be sure, we shouldn’t waste time fretting about the unintentional glance, so venture forth cultivating self-control and genuine presence. “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”—Desiderata
2. No one seems to understand. In my Myers Briggs personality code I am quoted as having “a unique brand of humor.” The blank stares, quickly faded laughter, and courtesy chuckles would more than suffice for evidence. The connections my brain makes seem foreign and out of place with the typical crowd, and so I turn to listening to the opinions of others. Turns out, upon further inquiry, the quiet crowd so often eliciting my anxiety was more startled by my intelligent chiming or adapting to my new vision provided.
3. No one seems to care. In a world increasingly dominated by raw intelligence (which is primarily focused on speed and ability to learn, understand, and synthesize) those of us proficient in the emotional health of friends and loved ones or new acquaintances often lack a venue to use our valuable skills. The ability to comfort and confide produces an intangible product, one of happiness and peace. This “unsellable” product, unfortunately, is seen as an embarrassing softness to be hid until private. Don’t underestimate the need for emotional intuition and learned intelligence emotions. At the same time, if you have the facts and theories to flaunt, by all means embark into that realm, traditionally dominated by males. “All men lead quiet lives of desperation.” –Thoreau
The solution: invoke your inner Jo March from Luisa May Alcott’s novel, Little Women. Dare to have a voice beyond what is deemed acceptable (and question who the “deemers” are). Embrace you free spirit that is uniquely and irreplaceably your own. Stop being a “nice” people pleaser (Oh boy, am I guilty of this one!!) and start being a Lady who chooses her words wisely and bears them with courage. If others are uncomfortable with the female brain, don’t let them infect you. The world needs A LOT more intelligence!