March 23, 2010
The Real Woman’s Guide to an Almost-Perfect Life
Finally—A Realistic Guide that Encourages Women to Embrace Being Real
Malika Anderson, long-time life coach, advocate, and enthusiast for women, has written the guide for the twenty-first century woman that helps women not only to survive and persevere but to thrive and shine, by using common-sense, embracing themselves, and accepting reality.
Unlike other guidebooks that try to tell women how they can have it all, while ultimately creating unrealistic goals for them, this book is geared toward “real” women—women who are not perfect, but who can have “almost-perfect” lives. Anderson begins by explaining the book’s purpose and providing a definition:
Almost-perfect woman: (1) in no way, to no degree, to such a great extent, is she flawless; (2) messes up often, talks too much; (3) wears glasses or contacts; (4) is goofy or awkward sometimes and has many bad hair days; (5) misses the mark way too much; (6) struggles to manage her emotions and gets mad at people who cannot drive; (7) can’t get a handle on things and doesn’t always fit in; (8) is always on a diet or is overweight or underweight but never small enough in just the “right” way; (9) is way too nice; (10) has anger issues; (11) always gets the raw deal and has had enough.
To me, that about says it all. Women are not perfect, and as a man, I can vouch I have some of these “almost-perfect” qualities myself. Anderson is letting us know that we live in the real world. Even when she discusses etiquette, she makes it clear she’s not writing about etiquette for queens, but simple common sense about table manners, how to answer the phone, and what is appropriate to wear to work.
As the former manager of an office that employed a number of young women, I wish I had had “The Real Woman’s Guide” to give to my employees simply for its advice about working in a business and what to wear. Too many young women are left without mentors or role models and therefore are not prepared to be professional in the workplace. Anderson makes it clear that women can be real and express themselves while still being professional and appropriate in various situations.
More than anything, Anderson empowers her readers. She talks to women like she is their best friend, seeking their good—after all, she is one of them. She reveals her own story of disappointments, low self-esteem, and how she rose above it all to become a real and successful woman. She uses numerous examples from her own life, as well as from different people she has known and coached to show how important self-confidence is. “The Real Woman’s Guide to an Almost-Perfect Life” is filled with simple yet invaluable advice and lessons women need to learn to be in control of their own lives. For example:
If someone asks you to do something you know you do not want to do or that you do not have time to do, tell him or her NO. Consider your priorities—do you have time to take on the requested task? Why are you doing it? Will it take away from something you really need to be doing and is it worth it? If your answers point toward sacrificing a piece of yourself or giving yourself away unnecessarily, then you need to say NO. You don’t have to be mean, you just have to mean what you say.
She uses everyday experiences as analogies for larger issues. For example, when she found she could no longer wear high heel shoes because they hurt her feet, she reveals:
I learned something important from that experience: trying to force something to fit that’s not right for you will only cause you more pain in the long run. Sometimes what used to fit just isn’t the right fit for you anymore. It’s not worth the price you might have to pay later. Been there, done that, and got the MRI, the X-rays, the bills, and the heels to prove it.
She then applies this simple situation to larger experiences in life where young women need to learn to do what is right for them rather than trying to behave or play a role expected of them by others. Anderson gives women permission to get their needs met, and she warns them not to settle simply for trying to justify why those needs are not being met.
She boldly—she has a whole section on being a “Bold Woman”—shares her personal journal entries, her story of an unplanned pregnancy, and her appreciation for strong men like her grandfather who helped her along her way.
Any woman will find invaluable advice in this book about how to live an almost-perfect life. However, I think young women in their twenties and thirties especially will find it a helpful and friendly book. Malika Anderson speaks to women like a friend, an older sister, a mentor looking out for their highest interests. She always believes in women, encourages them, and prepares them to be “Real” women who will not give up but find their places in history and help to change their world just like their mothers and grandmothers did in previous generations.
To Malika Anderson, and all her female readers, I say, “You Go Girl!”
For more information about Malika Anderson and “The Real Woman’s Guide to an Almost-Perfect Life” visit www.therealwomansguide.com.
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and author of the award-winning “Narrow Lives”
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