Many women lawyers possess the subconscious limiting belief that their Juris Doctor is more important than they are, the person who actually obtained the degree. They mistakenly presume it validates their value, significance, and power.
But know this. You are valuable, significant and powerful. You.
In fact, I have personally coached several women lawyers who secretly believed their Juris Doctor made them worthy, special and lovable. So, instead of becoming more deeply connected to who they are as a woman, they deepened their commitment to becoming better at what they do as a lawyer.
The result was that many found themselves shocked, surprised and saddened that loving relationships and personal happiness eluded them.
Having worked with lawyers for nearly 30 years, I believe if your law degree could love you, it would tell you 8 vital things that would increase your personal happiness and self-esteem:
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you that it validates your having worked really hard to accomplish something really big. But it can never validate your worth. You were born worthy.
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you that the man of your dreams will not love you more because of it. So do not try to impress him with it. He will love the woman you authentically are and treasure the way your love for him makes his life happier and better. Your JD can never love him and it can never love you.
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you that a lawyer is not who you are, it is what you do. You are a daughter. sister. wife. mother. friend. You can give and receive love because of the person you are not because of what you have achieved.
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you that your family does not want to experience you as a lawyer. They want you to love them, see them and hear them. Not interrogate, debate or manage them.
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you that, though the letters behind your name (Esq.) historically denote male English gentry, you are not a man. Your femininity is an asset and can be your superpower if you properly honor and esteem it.
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you to nurture your long-term friendships. The world of women lawyers can be insular and isolating because non-lawyers do not easily fit into it. Your non-lawyer friends do not manage heavy caseloads, working long hours like you do. They do not have to meet the unrealistic expectations of Partners and clients who infringe upon their personal time like you do. They do not have to worry about committing malpractice like you do. They do, however, want to spend time with you and enjoy your company. Remember to respect, honor and nurture your friendships.
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you to practice extreme self-care. The rigors of law school, passing the bar(s), starting work as a “first-year” then building a strong career and stellar professional reputation is hard on the body and the mind. For some women, it can be a solid 15 years of continuous overwork, toxic stress levels, delayed self-care and reliance upon adrenaline and caffeine to keep going. Add getting married and having babies, and it is no wonder many women lawyers are exhausted All.The.Time. Self-care is vital.
- If your law degree could love you, it would tell you the more successful you become, the more support you need. Delegate and outsource as many tasks, chores and errands as possible to conserve your energy. Find a mentor and hire a life coach. No successful person journeys alone and neither should you.
What would your law degree tell you? Let me know in the comments below.
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