Women Supporting Women
What is the first thing you think when you walk into a room full of women you don't know? Do you instinctively put on your battle armor, preparing yourself to take on side-eye and passive aggressive commentary on your life and choices?
Yeah, I wouldn't blame you.
Why? Because media has perpetuated what I call the "mean girl trope". Simply put, you are either part of the clique or you are not. There is this idea that you will get power, significance, and/or importance because you exclude people or make them feel less-than. This idea of exclusion plays out in school and then is transferred over to adult life. It's one of the reasons that we still have not shattered the glass ceiling. Even if it is subconscious, we see another woman's success as a direct threat to our own success. In reality, her success is all of our success. Her triumphs help to pave the way for other women, especially the younger generation.
When I see this play out in the professional world, it saddens me. There are so many smart, driven, creative, resourceful women who, by working together, could change the world. The future is collaborative and social. If you find yourself judging instead of supporting, sabotaging instead of collaborating, borrow these concepts from the yoga world. Check yourself. Reframe. Band together with your fellow badass babes. Show the world that we as a community are ready to move forward.
Commit to abundance. One of the reasons we see another woman's success as an obstacle to our own is this idea that there is a lack of space. If she succeeds then there is no room for me to succeed. That scarcity mentality is crippling our evolution. It makes sense that this is our thought process if you take a look at what we call the "american dream": keep trying and forcing and effort-ing and pushing. Climb the ladder. Make it to the top by whatever means necessary. Crush the competition. You will then be happy. When we commit to abundance, our mindset dramatically changes. These mantras help to soften me when I get defensive about someone else's success and my seeming lack-there-of.
Her success means my success. She shines in her own way and I shine in mine. There is enough recognition to go around.
Committing to abundance in your life means acknowledging that there is enough for everyone. Everyone will get what they need. The ego wants to been seen and heard and applauded for the hard work you've done. Wisdom knows that the true reward is watching the world change in a positive way because of you.
You are ENOUGH. When we see another successful woman totally crushing it, sometimes our own insecurities come out. We think that we are not enough; our flaws become magnified in our minds. To cope with those I'm-not-good-enough feelings, we defend ourselves by bringing the other superstars around us down. The big lesson here is that you ARE enough. Everyone has flaws. Everyone is great at something and horrible at something else. We are all working on something. The value judgements, the comparisons to someone else, they are worthless. You have inside of you limitless potential. Get to know yourself. Take some time to be quiet with you and find out what makes your heart glow. Most importantly, practice compassion. When we treat ourselves with love, we rewrite the narrative that we have been fed for most of our lives: that we aren't good enough or worth it and must work extremely hard to rectify that.
Learn to love where you are on your journey. Each and every one of us in on our own unique path. This moment in time is just a snapshot of one step along the trail of your life. Everyone's journey is different. To compare mine to her's or her's to mine is just plain silly. Like in the physical yoga practice, there are certain poses and movements to which I am more naturally inclined. Does that mean that I'll never fully realize a twisting posture? No. It means that with compassion, patience, and consistent practice, I will eventually arrive. Every challenge is our greatest teacher. Through overcoming challenges, obstacles, and adversity, we evolve in to the next version of ourselves. Without the discomfort, that little bit of friction, we'd never get the opportunity to grow.
I hate very FEW things, but I hate the "mean girl trope". Before my consistent yoga practice and study, I let myself be part of this dynamic. I was the weird kid who allowed themselves be "other-ed". This not only took away my own power, but diminished my presence, my voice, and my ability to create positive change. Once I integrated these concepts from my daily practice into my life off my yoga mat, my entire world changed. It no longer interests me to march to the beat of someone else's drum. I'd much rather create my own. Using these three principles, give yourself a moment to pause and reframe your relationship to yourself and other women. Let their shine inspire you to glow just as bright. In the end, we are all in this together. Our time on this earth is short; let's use it to create something beautiful.
Let me know your thoughts! How do you support women in your community? How do you teach the younger generation to collaborate? What do you do when you feel bogged down by judgement and doubt?