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Peculiar Okafor: A Strong Woman



dreamstime_m_6931822If you are active on social media, you must have noticed the popular words like ‘Strong woman’, ‘my ride or die’, ‘blessed’ ‘motivated’, ‘I love my job’ ‘happy girls are the prettiest’, ‘no filters’, ‘mumpreneur’ as well as the overnight inspirational speakers that have arisen.

I’m really indifferent to this but I’ve noticed there’s been some argument on who a ‘strong woman is’. So to my future daughter Olaigwe, this is my definition of a strong woman.

A strong woman knows who she is, and doesn’t wait for or seek society’s validation; she knows who she is and she knows it is enough.

A strong woman lives peacefully with those around and never abuses any one. To her, strength is power under control.

A strong woman loves wholeheartedly and gives to society.

A strong woman understands that loving someone doesn’t mean putting up with their crap, and so no matter how great the love she feels or how great the fear of being alone, she walks away from people who are bad for her. Remember God – he is love, but people still go to hell.

A strong woman defines how people should treat her by lovingly and firmly setting standards. She understands that not everyone will meet those standards, but that is okay  – because there are over 6 billion people on the planet, so those meant for her will come.

A strong woman feels fear, pain and hurt but she never holds on too long to them; she walks away, darling! She walks away.

A strong woman is NEVER a victim; she understands that the burden of freedom is responsibility so she takes responsibility for her life. Don’t get me wrong, bad things happen to her but she sees the situation for what it is ( usually from good counsel) and gets out of it and she refuses to play victim.

A strong woman has the spirit of gratitude. She doesn’t take the blessings she has for granted even while working towards something better and when she is in a bad situation she still gives thanks because she knows that everything works out for good in the end.

A strong woman knows the power of good associations and counsel so she has a listening ear and picks a powerful group of friends. You will find she has an exciting circle; the super-achiever, the cabman with a good sense of humor, the friend with the native sense, the fashionista, the fine boy etc. She sees people for the beauty within and judges them by the content of their character, hence her circle is rich and diverse; her associations are mutually beneficial.

A strong woman knows that she is the CEO of her life and acts like one –  taking charge of everything and with the resources around her she gets to where ought to be.

A strong woman defends the weak and protects them. She speaks out for them and to them lovingly and sometimes the good old fashioned Nigerian way of ‘You no get sense? why you dey fall hand like this’. She never beats a man when he is down and even if, the weak person clearly saw the signs, she knows that’s not the right time to say ‘I told you so’.

A strong woman accepts her weaknesses, because she knows that having weaknesses doesn’t make her weak; so, she doesn’t cover up or try to create a false impression of strength or a super person.

A strong woman owns her truth, she is authentic and true to herself.

A strong woman doesn’t compete with anyone. She made the choice a long time ago to excel not compete.

A strong woman has good character. You will notice she hardly gossips, backbites, bullies, puts people down or displays certain sociopathic behaviours – not because she is perfect, but because she is whole inside and so naturally gives out good.

It is difficult to use or manipulate a strong woman (and if you do, not for too long), not because she is the most intelligent of them all but because of who she is. She sets standards and has no problems if people don’t meet them, she isn’t competing with anyone, she doesn’t hold on to bad decisions for fear of appearing weak or because the pics on the gram look good so it’s really difficult to manipulate her. And using or manipulation is not just about a man but also those friends ( and indeed people) with an entitlement mentality that are super users.

A strong woman forgives; herself and those who hurt her and she also understands that forgiveness doesn’t mean you still get to be in her life.

A strong woman doesn’t do drama; she ain’t got time for that.

A strong woman has once been weak; for how can you appreciate strength if you have never been weak? But remember, she acknowledges when she is weak and does not pass it off as strength.

A strong woman allows people live their own lives; she understands that everyone has their own path and no one has all the answers so doesn’t impose her opinions on others. She picks the right avenue to offer advice where necessary and in other cases, she says a prayer for others and wishes them the best.

A strong woman reads and is open to learning but she has good old fashioned common sense and takes her own decisions not following every bandwagon of new thinking or every new cliche in vogue

A strong woman is strong because she knows she has a God in heaven who doesn’t sleep or slumber because he is mindful of her. The one who made her in his own image, called her by his name. Her belief and trust in who he is and his love for her is what makes her strong.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Peculiar is a Marketing communications personnel, she believes that one can have a full life without being bitchy and she wants it all 'A good career, love, laughter, wealth, you name it. She blogs at Follow her on Instagram @daworkdiva and Facebook ''


  1. Felinda

    December 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Excellent definition of Strong Woman. Great write up.

    Hope our new “CHINUALISTICA ACHEBE” reads This

  2. A Real Nigerian

    December 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Yet another FEMALE contributor taking subtle shots at Toke in an article.
    It’s a shame really.

    • I love this

      December 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      I love this article. It’s warm, honest and authentic.

      @ Real Nigerian, I wonder how you can read this and assume she is taking jabs at Toke. You need prayers

      Peculiar, I love this!!!!!!!! ???

    • mie

      December 4, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      How is she taking shots at Toke? First, the world doesn’t revolve around Toke please. And because she is female, even if she wanted to, she isn’t allowed to contradict another female or what? Anyways, if anything, a piece like this seems to be validating her (Toke) as a “strong woman”. She has once been weak but NOW IS A STRONG WOMAN. If you havent read her book sorry a few “spoilers” ahead: in it Toke says she’s learnt and still learning from past mistakes, no longer puts up with manipulation or crap (left Maje) & no longer a victim, forgave/forgives and at peace with all (ex and mistresses), felt fear and pain but no longer holding on to them, grateful for life and her career success and every other blessing,owned her truth and story, loves herself and not competing with or comparing to anyone else, defends the weak? (Writing that book is some form of defense abeg, and to teach/advise other people in bad relationships specifically women) and may have a good character (i dont know her-i guess.wait,Peculiar pls define good). So can we all agree this piece was not a shot at Toke? Dont come and be starting controversy that isnt there. BN pls post my post (lol!).

    • Nene

      December 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Everyone is entitled to an opinion just like you

  3. GirlOnTop

    December 4, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Hello Peculiar! Thank you for writing this piece. I absolutely love it and I agree with it.

  4. Anonnn

    December 4, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    So if I’m raped, I’m not allowed to play victim because I’m a strong woman?

  5. Ajala & Foodie

    December 4, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I am a woman, I used to believe all of this when I was younger, but I know better now: ” A strong woman knows who she is and does not seek validation from society”. That was the first statement I saw on this write up that made me come to the realization I was not going to agree with some of the points the author was trying to make. We ALL seek validation from people, I.e society, it is a major part of what APATHY is all about. Society shapes us and even the author buttressed my point by stating “A strong woman knows the power of strong association” I.e society playing a role again, Society is not only about the media or social media, it is about day to day people living together and influencing each other’s lives.

    I recently had a good conversation with a psychologist, who by the way is also a woman and she made some valid points, about seeking validation from society. It is part of what makes us connect with others I.e a fully functioning human. If you genuinely don’t then contrary to this write up, you should be visiting a ‘shrink” because it is actually abnormal and does not make you strong. Now. I don’t know about all this strong women crusade but I know what makes for a well rounded being (whether male or female) is knowing the right people in society to seek validation from but claiming we do not seek validation from society just reeks of falsehood.

    That is not to say that this write up did not have some valid points but there are some points like the aforementioned one that I consider to be untrue

  6. Californiabawlar

    December 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Isn’t it interesting that we define great fathers and men by the good decisions they make for themselves and family, but strength in women is defined by surviving trauma (avoidable or not)?
    Everyone male and female has strengths and weaknesses. Don’t let your gender place unnecessary burden on you to live a certain way and be super-person.
    I encourage everyone to make sensible decisions as they go through life’s journey. Even when the unexpected happens, recalibrate…check all your options. Be deliberate.

  7. jessy

    December 5, 2016 at 12:34 am

    lovely piece

  8. eby

    December 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    for a woman to be strong… she must have done or gone through the opposite of all you have written .. to understand that she needs to be strong by standing firm, not easily broken , but rather pick up the pieces and keep her head up.. like the bible says.. ” we fall down, but we get back up again”… resist the devil , meaning try your best and stay on top of your game.. with prayers and all it takes to and he shall flee..( he meaning, the devil and his agents , etc will pack up and stay far from you)..

  9. Tosin

    December 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    My my my, wow. I need to study this. Wow.

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