Confidence — it’s an elusive trait that can take years to develop, but one that’s so useful in all aspects of life. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s advice for living a confident life? Step one: Stop worrying about being liked.
Modern women from Anne Hathaway to Hillary Clinton (and many – too many – in between) have been plagued with judgments about their “likability.” Women, it seems, are judged on a different scale than men when it comes to likability, particularly women who are career-driven.
But Ngozi Adichie? Well, she straight-up doesn’t care whether you like her or not.
As she eloquently put it in a Washington Post interview, “It’s not your job to be likable. It’s your job to be yourself…Someone will like you anyway.”
Clearly, this outlook is working for the award-winning author!
Ngozi Adichie’s recently released book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, takes the form of a letter written to a friend. The “letter,” according to the book’s synopsis, is a response to the friend’s request for advice about raising her baby girl as a feminist. For Ngozi Adichie, the hope is that the book will “move us toward a world that is more gender equal.”
“I think it is morally urgent to have honest conversations about raising children differently, about trying to create a fairer world for women and men.”
In writing her staunchly feminist and no-BS manifesto, Ngozi Adichie was aware that not everyone would like what she had to say. But that’s fine with the author. “I need to speak my truth,” she told the Washington Post.
It’s also tough to have any conversation about women and likability and not bring up former Democratic presidential nominee Clinton. In fact, Ngozi Adichie pointed out Clinton as a perfect example of how society unfairly judges career-driven women:
“Women have to straddle a line so that they are seen as not so forceful that they are a shrew or emasculating, but not weak. It’s a kind of juggling that men don’t even have to consider at all.”
Ngozi Adichie is an expert advice-giver, between her wise feminist words for living confidently and her recent parental wisdom. And as a woman who manages to be both successful and incredibly personable, there’s no better person to be dispensing it.