I have learned that often times the Ethiopian American Girl’s kindness can be mistaken for weakness. To fight this, many Ethiopian American girls tend to act callus towards outsiders. We may stick our nose in the air in hopes to hide our kindhearted and giving nature.
It is unfortunate that it has come to that. In order to guard ourselves we fight our natural instinct to be kind, and adopt a facade that is nothing like who we are deep down inside.
I don’t want to hide who I am. I’m a nice person. I instinctively want to help others. However, this society has shaped me to act much more guarded than I actually want to be. I want to believe that all people are good. Unfortunately that is not the case. I’ve adopted mannerisms and thought processes to protect myself from being hurt by the outside world. The fear is that my kindness will be mistaken for weakness. So I default to acting tough and rough around the edges. Unfortunately, when peeling back the layers eventually the truth comes out….I’m not as tough as I may act sometimes. However, I am still stronger than you may think.
I’m assuming that many Ethiopian American Girls can relate to this same sentiment.
We grew up watching our mother cook and clean and care for her husband. When dating or maintaining relationships we tend to instinctively duplicate those same behaviors we grew up watching. We are willing to do for others without questioning that persons ulterior motives, because we care. However, deep down inside we still fear that our kindness will be mistaken for weakness.
Kindness is not equivalent to weakness. In fact, those that are most kind are actually the strongest people. Why? Because when you are kind you are taking a risk. You are taking a risk to have your kindness or care rejected, taken for granted, and unappreciated. Therefore, every time an Ethiopian American girl is kind, she actually is showing her true strength.
We may have many deep fears, but when it comes time we show up stronger than most.