Little Miss Bossy

What if it’s not “bossy”; what if it’s “especially good at expressing your own needs”? 

For many years of my life I dreaded being called bossy. It’s something certain family members called me as something of a term of endearment, but in the real world it felt anything but.

Where being “a boss,” suggests a kind of know-how and professional prowess, being “bossy” — particularly a bossy *woman* — connotes difficulty in personality; sassiness, a lack of humor, or even selfishness. 

If I simply felt uncomfortable with being called “bossy” as a kid and then eventually grew out of that discomfort, I wouldn’t be so hung up on the matter today. But in fact, I’ve never really crawled out from under the shame of the term. This reality has never been more evident than in moments of my adulthood wherein opportunities for greater leadership presented themselves, and I shied away from them for fear of reinforcing that childhood stereotype. God forbid I become someone’s boss; What if they found me “bossy”?? 

You can see the irony. 

Today while washing dishes, I had the thought that I’ve always been quite aware of my personal boundaries, needs, and, yes, *occasionally selfish* desires. I’ve been that way ever since I was a kid. And I’m proud of that. It’s something many folks are saddled with learning much later on, maybe only with the help of therapy. 

I suspect it’s this very quality that makes me such a bossy Boss. Reframing this idea for myself brought a level of contentment — and I hope, if you’ve ever felt likewise squeamish at the term “bossy” yourself, that it does for you too.



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