A constant conversation I am having lately is about how women are finding their voices. By that I mean that many women, often for the first time, are learning how to use their God-given voice. To speak up about what they want when they want it. They are sharing their opinion about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in their relationships and in their lives. They are voicing expectations and realizing that their very own voice matters.
To be clear, I have never had a shortage of voice or opinions. Not even close. More often I have gotten in trouble for sharing my strong opinion in an unbecoming way. #slowlearner #stilllearning
There are some ways we can move forward together, creating more space for the women in our world as they find their voices. This can make an impact not only on them, but for future generations...Taking some crucial steps in the right direction wherever you are at with your voice.
Cheer Other Women On.
How different would things look if we decided to lock arms instead of eating our own? Celebrate other woman. Let's stop the back biting and cat fighting. The success of others doesn't mean that you fail. Their success is a good thing for everyone...whether it is public or private, in the media or in their own home- we can (and need to) cheer each other on. Make no mistake, we (women) are really great at being sneaky about this...we can casually mention a few things out of "concern", be it real or not...leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the listener to connect. Contrary to what we have learned, we do not get taller or healthier or more loved by cutting someone else down. Don't do this. *stop* Insecurity is not appealing and easily sniffed out by those who are secure...choose to cheer!
No Room for Negative Talk.
Don't forget this- you do, indeed, have a choice. When gossip or cutting remarks are being made, I would encourage you to be someone who doesn't take part. Be above it, you are better than that. And if you can do that successfully, then I would challenge you to go a step further and shut. it. down. One thing that has worked for me that isn't super awkward or rude is saying something like, "I bet people have sat around and had the same conversation about me...*smile* " And then change the subject...give it a try. Or just find something nice to say in the midst of the pile-on..."I know she is trying her best...Aren't we all??"
Our Thoughts & Words Matter.
Our thoughts about ourselves and others are not disconnected from the rest of us and our lives. We are quick to cut ourselves down when we mess up or make a mistake, because of course, we do because we are HUMAN. Perfection is not the goal, somehow I think we are trading in the pursuit of health and purpose for the pursuit of perfection. Which, *spoiler alert* isn't going to happen. Sorry if I am bursting bubbles or blowing minds here, but in my experience, the perception of perfection is one thing, and the pursuit of health and living a meaningful life is a whole other thing. Apples and oranges, my friends. Sometimes the deep things don't always translate to social media as well as a nicely filtered and perfected decorated home. And that's ok. Social media is weird...more on that in a bit.
Be Strong & Courageous.
Do this for yourself and for those watching you. Not just the women. Be strong and courageous for the girls watching and trying to figure things out. Give them an example as they are trying to make sense of the nonsense that so often surrounds them and is deemed acceptable and true. Show them how to navigate a world that often feels toxic and confounding to them, full of mixed messages and contradictions. Do it for the men and the boys who are watching you. Let them see you gracefully negotiate and educate those around you about how you feel about yourself, others, and the world around you by the way you live your life. Let them see you talk to and about other women. Let them see you love yourself and your people well, completely and without apology. Let them see you stand up, speak up, and rise up...explain why if needed.
Do the Work.
What if we kept our head down and did our work instead of being like little meerkats, constantly looking over our shoulder for a perceived threat to our wellbeing. Staying faithful to work we are doing, rather than comparing our deeply felt flaws to the highlight reel of everyone else is not helpful or healthy to our souls. And we know this. In our minds and in our hearts, we know this truth. But still, we scroll. And pin. And like. And share. And comment. We might be more inclined to celebrate our victories if we didn't measure them up against the grand successes of strangers we call friends. As I have recently heard it, the underbelly of the internet (social media) is a mysterious and unpredictable creature. Indeed. Let's do the work of finding out who we are created to be and be the very best, healthiest version of that whatever that takes. It might take some difficult conversations or counseling or a recovery program. Do it, whatever it takes. No apologizing please, this is important work. We desperately need to understand and embrace who we are and run after it. We need to be able to accurately look at and love ourselves in order to look at and love others well. Instead of looking through the lenses of our pain caused by the wounds we have gathered over time.
I think this is one of my favorite quotes ever...
What if we were not meant to play small? It does not serve the world, although you may get a different message...it might be more normal or comfortable, but we are not called to that, NOPE.
Don't shrink back, instead shine brightly.
And by letting your light shine, you are giving those who see that precious light the permission to shine.
And we need all the light we can get!