Get on the driver's seat of your own life!

woman up
Last Updated 10 March 2017, 18:40 IST

While women across the world are breaking the glass ceiling and carving a niche for themselves in every field imaginable, a huge section of us continue to struggle to keep our heads above the water every day. Many of us run the entire household by ourselves and yet, depend on the men in the family when it comes to money matters and important decisions.

Major life decisions are often made for us by others and we are left to deal with the consequences. We can only be truly independent if we have the knowledge to cope on our own and the courage to stand up for ourselves. Here are a few things you can do to be able to stand on your own two feet.

Figure out finance

Whether or not you’re an earning member of the family, it is vital that you know a few aspects of finance. Start visiting the bank and learn how to fill forms and make transactions.

If you haven’t already, familiarise yourself with online money transfer, credit and debit card payments, ATM usage, etc), insurance (of all types), family investments, savings, and the basics of income tax (It will help you when you have to file your returns (once you start earning).

Understanding finance will help you manage your expenses and survive independently anywhere. More importantly, it gives you a lot of confidence. You need money to run the day-to-day life. You should not depend on others to help you with finances.

Speak up

Women are often a reservoir of knowledge and wisdom. And yet, thanks to systematic oppression over centuries, we don’t speak up. Most of us hesitate or feel shy while attempting to express an opinion on personal or family matters.
We wait for others in the family to do the talking for us. It is not going to get us anywhere. Read, talk to people, seek correct information by asking people questions. It may be at the bank, hotels, hospitals, shops, travel agencies, schools or colleges. Learn to converse with people to get what you want.
Improving your communication skills is crucial to surviving by yourself. This will give you confidence as you learn to talk to strangers, address a public gathering or guests at home. The information you gathered can be useful while making independent decisions.
Make informed decisions
Cultivate the habit of making informed decisions. Irrespective of however small or big the decision is, you will be responsible for it. When it turns out right, you will get a boost of confidence and faith in your ability to make bigger, more important decisions.
On the other hand, when things go wrong, you get to learn from your mistakes. Seek inputs from everyone – your spouse, family members or other people who stand to be affected – before making the decision. If you let fear and apprehension get the better of you, you will never be in the driver’s seat of your own life.
Travel alone
Make it a point to go on solo trips. This may be a farcry for a lot of women. But with diligent planning, financial management and delegation of childcare, it is possible. Of course, travelling with other people is enjoyable. But do not seek to be escorted all the time. Get over the fear of having to single-handedly deal with whatever that might cross your path during the journey. Get away to spend time with yourself. You have to do this.
However, ensure that you are safe at all times while being open to a little risk. Always bank on reliable sources while making travel arrangements and inform your people about your whereabouts.
All of us need someone to share our feelings and make memories with. But we should not always depend on someone to take care of our needs. learn to be independent and manage things on our own.

(Published 10 March 2017, 17:03 IST)

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