#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?