In 2015, Reese Witherspoon stood onstage at Glamour’s Women of the Year gala at Carnegie Hall, looked out into the crowd full of women and declared, “I believe ambition is not a dirty word.” Her speech struck a chord. The crowd went nuts and the speech went viral.
Two years later, she followed up with an empowering essay in Glamour magazine where she boldly told women, “Run away from a man who can’t handle your ambition. So many men think ambition is sexy.”
Once again, Witherspoon’s words have gone viral. As she wrote, “I worked for a long time on my speech for Women of the Year. At the time, I was reading a lot of articles about how people find ambition in women to be a negative trait. There was a Columbia University study that concluded that a woman with ambitious traits seemed selfish and less worthy of being hired than a man with the same traits, which made me wonder, What the heck is wrong with being ambitious?”
As she points out in Glamour, “Ambition is simply a drive inside of you—it’s having a curiosity or a new idea and the desire to pursue it.”
Exactly. I’m totally with Reese on this one. So, here’s why it’s important to date people that embrace your ambition.
Curiosity is sexy.
As Witherspoon points out, ambition starts with curiosity. I’m naturally a very curious person with a million different interests. If something interests me, I will try and learn as much as possible about it. I think this is one of my best qualities and something I admire in other people. I don’t want to date someone who just accepts everything that life presents them at face value. If someone doesn’t like the fact that I’m curious and interested in learning more about the world around me, that’s troubling to me. Instead, I’d like to date someone who is interested in growing and learning with me.
Insecurity is not.
In my experience, men who have an issue with ambitious women usually suffer from insecurities and/or don’t have a very positive attitude toward women. If you can’t handle the fact that I have ambitions that are separate from yours or insist on undermining mine, that’s a big problem.
We all deserve a cheerleader.
Some people just aren’t very ambitious and that’s fine. Even if my partner isn’t super ambitious themselves, it’s important they understand and support my ambitions.
I want someone to grow with me.
Ambition plus action equals growth. One of the reasons I think some people feel threatened by dating ambitious people is because there’s always the risk that they’ll get left in the dust. However, when your partner embraces your ambition, it’s so much easier to grow together instead of apart.
You should want to embrace your partner’s ambition.
A person’s hopes, dreams and ambitions are a huge part of who they are. If you see yourself being with this person long term, you should want to support them in everything they do. If you can’t jive with their ambitions, you might want to ask yourself why that is. If the answer is as simple as “I’m not into the fact that my partner wants to start the world’s largest dog fighting franchise,” it could be that you’re just not a good match.