Women have been lied to. We have been told to put our heads down, be understated, be humble, be OK with getting less than a man… Well I disagree. As women, it is so important to celebrate ourselves and each other. There’s a minority woman about to take on one of the most powerful offices in our country for the first time ever. Now is the time to look at that glass ceiling and say “I’m gonna smash right through that thing” without any apologies.
At many times throughout our lives, our first instinct is to compare ourselves to other women. We look at their appearance, their relationship, their finances. This can lead to feelings of competition and envy, which we need to end in order to continue all our forward progress.
Sadly, women are still striving for gender equality in many ways. Celebrating our own success, and that of other women, can actually make us more successful as it will encourage others to do that for us.
If you admire something about someone, say something. We never know the challenges other people are facing. Giving people compliments when you feel they deserve them can completely turn their day around. The woman next to you during your commute, or behind you in line at the grocery store, your coworker, your family, and your best friend could always use a boost. I’ve read about women who experience a miscarriage and return to work just to keep some normalcy, women who get a breast cancer diagnosis and simply shop for their family at the grocery store to carry on… We truly never know what a simple confidence boost can do for others. On the flip side, sometimes it is very hard to contain our judgmental feelings, especially on social media. When you have a judgmental thought or feeling about someone, try to instead focus on 3 things you admire about them instead. By shifting your mindset from criticism to kindness, you’re more likely to feel a boost of self-confidence yourself.
Give others a hand up. When you are in a workplace setting, if a fellow female co-worker speaks up, be sure to acknowledge her and support what she is saying. This will help the men in the room listen to women in the future. If someone is doing an amazing job at work, tell them! Giving fellow women confidence boosts at work will help the collective female workforce do a better job and advance. As women, we should also make ourselves available for networking and helping other women get jobs. If you are a woman in a position able to bring on new employees, you should do your best to hire fellow women if they are qualified candidates for the job.
Some of my favorite advice for dealing with difficult workplace situations involving gender include:
Be proactive – deal with conflict head on, right away.
Be transparent – you don’t need to have all the answers. It’s OK to not know the answer to something and say you’ll do your best to find out the best solution to a problem.
Be confident – try to avoid asking permission to enter a conversation and instead just speak up.
It’s a balancing act. You may notice male celebrities never get asked “how do you balance your relationship and work?” “Do you miss your children while you are filming movies?” Women are expected to balance everything, and do so without any visible struggle. This is why it is so important to find at least one fellow woman in the same boat as you. Someone you can be totally and completely, unapologetically honest and yourself with.
As Charlotte says in Sex and the City, “Maybe we could be each other’s soul mates.” Women supporting each other is the most nourishing, nurturing, wonderful thing. It can build lasting relationships and life-long loving friendships.