“Nicole Kidman’s biggest regret is one I can relate to.”

Image: Getty.

Nicole Kidman isn’t usually someone I feel on the same page with. I’m sure she’s delightful, but she doesn’t generally give a lot away.

But today, I feel like I get Nicole Kidman; her flaws, her insecurities – where she’s coming from.

At the Women in Film’s Crystal + Lucy Awards dinner, Nicole Kidman accepted the award for Excellence in Film. She told the room of how, as a teenager and beyond, she “was afraid of my own power, afraid that it would threaten people, intimidate people.”

She went on to say: “It’s a great sadness wishing to be less than you actually are. And it’s hard to take on the world when you’re constantly in a battle with yourself.”

It’s the exact same brand of self-doubt I’ve seen in other women and I’ve seen it in myself. It can be crippling.

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There have been a number of times in my life where I’ve consciously held myself back for fear of putting others off. For fear of them thinking that I thought I was “better” than them.

In one of my very first jobs, my supervisor was someone who wasn’t my biggest fan. More specifically, she didn’t like the praise that I was getting from those more senior than her. I worked hard, I was passionate and I could tell it annoyed her. (Post continues after gallery.)

We regularly worked on stories, features and photoshoots “together”. Meaning that I would organise and complete the entire thing, and yet, I’d let her put her byline on the story. Before mine. So that no one was the wiser about who was putting in the most work.

You’re probably rolling your eyes thinking, “why did you let her do that?”, but it wasn’t that simple in my mind.

As Nicole puts it, she felt like a “living metaphor for what had always held women back”.

I didn’t want my supervisor to feel threatened by me, so I pulled back and became less than I could be. I didn’t want her to think that I thought I was better than her. Even though, looking back, I was in a way.

Edwina can relate to Nicole's biggest regret. (Image supplied)

It’s a weird situation; being torn between what you know is the fair thing to do, and what you think will save you from (gasp!) someone feeling threatened by you.

And it all comes down to a very human, innate womanly quality of wanting to be liked. Wanting, almost above all else, to please.


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Nicole admitted that it’s this second-guessing of ourselves that leads us to act in a way that’s detrimental.

“It's a great sadness wishing to be less than you actually are. And it's hard to take on the world when you're constantly in a battle with yourself.” (Image via Getty)

“Women are too susceptible to the voice that tells us we need to be accepted... Men say, "I want this." And then they set out to do it. Women say: ‘Do I want this? Don't I want this? Do I deserve this? Can I get this? Hmm, what do you think?’ And framing things this way leads women to second-guess our decisions, to ignore our own confidence, to revert to a place that we think is safe, acceptable … I don't regret much. I try not to live that way, but the regrets that I do have, all go back to the decisions that I've made out of fear.”

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No one wants to look back on their life and see that they self-sabotaged in order to not stand out.

And yet, so many of my friends have stories of doing exactly that. One friend deliberately lost a high school athletics event because she felt worried upon hearing whispers that “Carly always bloody wins everything”. She didn’t want to be seen as someone who hogged all the glory.

Women say: ‘Do I want this? Don't I want this? Do I deserve this? Can I get this? Hmm, what do you think?’ (Image via Getty)

Another friend turned down a fantastic opportunity with a competitor company because she “felt that I would have been an impostor, I could only do half of what was on the job description. Now that I think about it though, I definitely could’ve done it”.

It’s a very well-carved path of deliberately cutting yourself down in order to not rock the boat. Intently listening to that voice in our head that pulls us back from achieving our full potential.

With age and experience, I’ve learned to silence that niggling voice that wants to satisfy everyone else’s needs before mine.

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And thankfully, I’ve come across strong women, professionally and personally, who realise that their candle doesn’t lose any of its flame by lighting another candle.

So how has Nicole battled with her “power”?

“My friends, failure isn't shameful, but cowardice is. So let's take risks. Let's raise our voices, honor the fire within, ignore our fears. In short, let's stand tall and never, ever apologise for it.”

I’m with Nicole on this.


Have you ever deliberately held yourself back in life to please others?