*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.
Q and A with Idoia, Barcelona, Spain
“Once you are on stage, there is this magic, that it makes you shine even though you are under pressure. If you miss a step, the key is to continue no one is expecting you to be perfect but you! It about forgiving yourself and continuing. A mistake is an opportunity to grow.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: The best approach to life is to be passionate in every second. It may sound cliché; however, there is no other way to live life meaningfully. In my point of view, during our lives, we have the chance to make positive impacts in our environment by understanding that life is full of good intent. I am passionate about people. Each of us has a story—something to tell the world. As human beings, we all deserve to be unique and to make mistakes in order to learn.
Having said that, I feel grateful to work for one of the biggest online travel agencies in the world. Why? Because we bring people together as well as the world itself. Traveling has helped me to awaken my mind, to be open-minded and to see how beautiful diversity is. My role at the company is to ensure that travelers find the best deals for accommodation. This allows me to have a close relationship with the hospitality industry while working for a highly innovative travel platform. I would say that unconsciously, since I was a child, I knew that my life would be linked to travel. I will always remember the family trips around Spain with the car or summer holidays somewhere in Europe.
Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?
A: I would highlight two lessons. The first one is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing everything. Forgive yourself for that time you did not say what you wanted. Forgive yourself for failing. This is something I learned not so long ago, as I realized how tough I was being to myself. Indeed, it is essential to forgive to overcome difficult situations where you think you have failed. If there is not forgiveness, it will be much more difficult to continue your journey. It will feel as if you had an issue that had not been resolved with yourself.
The second one is to be kind to others. When you meet someone, you don’t really know their story and what they have been through. In my view, each person behaves in a certain way because of a reason. Don’t blame that person for not being what you expected; there is probably an explanation for their behavior. Let the other person open up and tell you their story. Read what they are not able to say with words. We are sometimes afraid of showing vulnerability to others, while that is the moment when you are more honest and truthful to others and to yourself.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A. I grew up in the northern region of Spain, in a beautiful region called Basque Country near the city of Bilbao. I used to live in a little town close to the beach, and I played in the street until I was a teenager. I have now been living in Barcelona for three years, as I moved there to study for a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality management.
I remember my childhood full of curiosity—always wanting to try new things and ready for adventure. For instance, I used to dance urban style dances since I was nine years, then my older sister encouraged me to take up ballet lessons at the age of thirteen. I felt completely lost for the first year! I thought about giving up, but there was something that I found in ballet that completely changed my perspective of life. I understood how important is to accept myself in front of a mirror, both physically, but mainly, psychologically. Furthermore, to see how in life one should reflect, think, and then act. This is, I would say, how you find balance in life (but also in ballet 😉). As I continued practicing ballet, I felt that I wanted to improve and learn more and more. It helped me to be resilient and to apply it to school, goals, personal relationships. When it was time for the summer festival of the dance school, we used to feel pressured the last weeks before the show. That is when I learned to trust myself and not to be frightened about failing. Once you are on stage, there is this magic, that it makes you shine even though you are under pressure. If you miss a step, the key is to continue; no one is expecting you to be perfect but you! It’s about forgiving yourself and continuing. A mistake is an opportunity to grow.
Q: What do you want others to learn from your story?
A: I feel that I am constantly learning and figuring out who I want to be. I do not believe in the only truth or the only answer. However, I have recently understood the importance of putting life in perspective and not making comparisons with others. We sometimes tend not to appreciate all we have in life because of making comparisons with others. This is especially relevant nowadays—as we are connected to other people’s lives in social networks 24/7. It is easy to compare yourself with the person you see on Instagram. Is it even fair to compare yourself with someone you don’t really know? It is not; you need to put in perspective your own goals and to look for inspiration rather than an exact role model.
I have learned that if I try to follow a role model, I forget about who I am and where I am going. I believe that even if you are not completely sure of where you want to be in the future, you already know where you do not want to be. This means that by following other’s steps, you do not necessarily end up where you want to go. It is more likely to feel that you have lost a chance to find your own way.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: Feminism is the change to a more open and free society. It is not about just women or men; it is about the role models that have historically been associated with women and men. Feminism fights for women to be able to break the existing roles and to be whatever we want to be. It is the way to eliminate the barriers to do or act in a certain way because of the fact of being a woman. For those who think that feminism is just about women, I would say that it is also about defending for men to be able to have different roles as well. For instance, many say that men shouldn’t cry, while feminism defends that men should be able to cry like any other human being.
Furthermore, feminism is also about creating a support bond with another woman. In other words, not to look at other women as competition, but creating a sisterhood relationship. Luckily, I feel that this change is happening within the women around me—at work and with my friends.
I believe that feminism is a small word for such a big meaning. There is a phrase of Simone de Beauvoir which states a deep message about feminism: “Feminism is a way of living individually but fighting collectively.”
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