“Dig Deep” by Teri Bump

Dig Deep

#WLSalt as a movement is centered in action for me.  I’m moved by what I can do every day to propel women forward.  What can I do to empower, engage, to help women see their gifts and to own their power and place?  Frankly, this is easy for me.  I can’t help it.  My talent lies in making things better, in seeing the best in people and moving others to believe and to take action.   So on Monday morning September 12, I wrote “Dig deep, not at & dig you”, a new mantra.  These words were the result of some recent experiences and observations that made me evaluate, own and change my behavior.  This time the “action” for me would be to stop, cease, and end some very unproductive behavior.

As I share the following four experiences I hope you will draw your own conclusions as mine were likely unique to me.  The first experience occurred when I was watching this performance on CBS This Morning and then read the resulting comments and tweets. The second, while shopping for baby gifts I noticed these and many similar products. (Onesie #1    Onesie #2).  The third experience hit me when this Facebook post landed in my stream:

And finally, on September 11th while shopping with my 15 year old daughter for her homecoming dress, a text message buzzed through from one of her BFF’s.  The message shared information about a boy my daughter had previously been “talking” to and his Homecoming date.  When my daughter’s response was kind and positive, the quick return text was “Sarcasm?”

These four simple experiences came crashing together and made me face my own behavior.   Why would someone choose to comment on the talent of a 13 year old girl.  What would motivate them to type those words, buy those products, or encourage their daughters to slyly photograph another woman? Why did my daughter’s friend expect the negative?  Why do we bash other girls and women? Why do we criticize their talent, looks, and choice of playground wear?  Does it make us superior or feel better about ourselves?  Is it fear, envy, or insecurity? Aren’t we better than this?

Right there I decided that this has to stop…stop here and stop now.  My daughter and I sat in a mall dressing room and I shared the stories above and we talked through each one.    We decided that we have to stop competing, critiquing, and criticizing other women.  We need to evaluate our own behavior and take a real stand by not buying, not critiquing, not piling on, not listening, not writing, not saying and finally not thinking negative things about other girls and women.  Who are we to judge?

We started by owning our own behavior. We have criticized and bashed other girls and women in conversations with trusted friends; we’ve judged others outfits in malls, on TV and at sporting events.  We’ve felt superior because we would never write it down, post it or tweet it even if we thought it.  We acknowledged the relationship between our bashing others and how we feel about ourselves. Ugh!  What a waste of time, energy and creativity.   So right there in the dressing room we committed to changing both our thoughts and our actions and to really live our values.  We devised a code word to hold each other accountable – Thumper. This simple word, when voiced by the other, had the power to stop the offender midsentence when we were headed down the negative, destructive, bashing road.  Imagine the power of hearing it from your daughter or a young girl you love.

During the last few weeks we’ve both been successful in ending the negative chatter, checking our behavior and decreasing the negative thoughts. Although we’ve both found it much more difficult to stop the judgmental thoughts, we are proud of our progress.  It feels good, really good, to see, say and think even more positively.

Intentionally decreasing these destructive, hurtful thoughts and behaviors while increasing the ways we openly support, lift and promote girls and women moves us all forward.  We are better than this. We all need to dig deep and own our own stuff, stop digging at others and start embracing ourselves and the unique value we bring.  I challenge you to hold me and others to this standard.  I challenge you to care enough to call a “thumper” when we go down the wrong road, and to encourage us all to judge less and dig more.

Are you committed?



Filed under mentor, women

37 responses to ““Dig Deep” by Teri Bump

  1. I love the way you just put it out there Teri. No sugar coating, no nuanced words. Thank you for being authentically you. I just love you.

  2. Great reminder, Teri. This is something we all struggle with – and really stopping to think about WHY we do these things is so critical, so we can both stop the behavior and deal with the issues driving the behavior as well. Thank you for sharing this personal experience and perspective – you’re fantastic and a true inspiration!

  3. This is a powerful reminder that any action ultimately is a response to love or fear in our lives. When I talk negatively about others it’s always out of a source of fear. What fear says in that instance is: Am I important to you? And the idle chatter about someone else is often a wayward attempt at seeking connection. How often our feelings of worth are misguided. Thanks, Teri for reminding us to follow love and acknowledge our fears.

  4. T,
    What I love most about this post is the way you are role-modeling what it means to be a strong, confident, secure woman for your daughter. She has no idea (yet?!) how truly lucky she is. Thank you for sharing your story!

  5. AMK- she thinks I’m crazy 🙂 will post her most recent poem for you soon. Are you in?

  6. You bet…I’m in! Thumper. I love it. Thanks for bringing this to the forefront of our conversation. How can we be an affirming community if we are always tearing each other down?

  7. I am so IN! I have enjoyed the accountability that my girls provide me, not even realizing that they are doing it. In their own sweet way, they innocently ask, “What did you say,Mama?” Having that audience, of future strong women, is a great motivator. Thank you for sharing your story, and for reminding us that we can be and do better. Love you!

  8. I’m in! Will try to get my teen on board.

  9. Teri – I’m in. Awesome post, amazing role modeling, honesty, & integrity.

    Thank you for sharing & pushing forward.

  10. My “audience” is future strong men (my boys) , and I am IN!

    • I was really struck by one of the few comments (experience #1) from a man…he wrote “he he he…” He was laughing at the women & girls that commented…. he & other men -laughing all the way to the bank.
      77 cents!
      Thanks Monica- you are an inspiration! T

  11. Thank you Teri, for sharing this. It’s such an important reminder and something we are all guilty of. I’m in. I have a stuffed Thumper rabbit from my first visit to Disney World, 25 years ago, and am going to dig him out of my basement. He represents something new now. Thank you for the inspiration. Your daughter is very lucky to have you.

  12. Definitely in! Recently I had dinner with an acquaintance from my gym that I had silently and publicly passed judgement on. We had an awesome evening and I actually opened up about my preconceived notions of her. She also shared judgements she had about me. The connection, healing, and energy exchanged in that moment will inspire me for a long time! I am definitely committed to checking those judgements!

  13. Expending our energies in generative ways expands our world and creates community. Thanks T for focusing in on something that we all need to work on. #digup

  14. Laurie Berry

    I am IN! I have lots to process with this post. You continue to positively challenge me (us) to be better with your straightforward writing. Thank you!

  15. Beth Moriarty

    I’m going to share this with my daughter tonight when she gets home from work.

    • i always ask my daughter to tell what the boys are doing when girls in her group are bashing each other…it’s our time to rise above the petty & focus on being awesome. T

  16. Jenesha

    Thank you…I’m in…and amen.

    And, when I am blessed with a daughter, or a son, I will be using this post as a parenting tool.


  17. Rachel Aho

    “Dig Deep”…something I have written on a note card on my desk currently. Think I will add that last bit you offered here now. Thanks for the great reminder and inspiration, Teri!

  18. This is great! I try to live this every day but it’s difficult. We’ve trained ourselves, and been trained, to be competitive with one another. I’m going to ask a friend to hold me accountable.

    It’s time to stop using derogatory words towards women that I’m offended when men use, and it’s time to start empowering every minute, not every day.

    Thank you for the reminder! I’m in.

  19. Thanks for this reminder T! It took me back to several occasions this past week where I was quietly less than fair to other women. It also reminds me that I have two younger sisters who are likely judging and judged each day in their development to young women. We need to be champions for those following in our foot steps. 🙂

  20. Sign me up, I’m in! I think the next question for all of us is – what next? What will we intentionally do to make sure we hold to these values, to support women and help show others how to be a positive presence to their families, girlfriends, & co-workers.

    Thank you for the write Teri – keep digging 🙂

  21. Candace, Amy, Rachel~thank you for your comments…we are all part of the solution. T

  22. Pingback: “The Strength of Women”, by Ciji A. Tidwell | WISA

  23. Pingback: “Don’t Let Comparison Steal Your Joy,” by Melissa Robertson | WISA

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