Apart from my own up-close-and-personal 56-years of being a woman, my life is full of women. All shapes and sizes; all forms and levels of education and development; from every color of the rainbow. And what I know, beyond a whisper of a doubt, is how powerful we are!
Including myself, I don’t know any women who are NOT powerful! Over the last 25+ years, I’ve worked with women who have expressed, endured and endeavored in ways that I can only aspire to at some point in my own evolution. With this kind of strength and courage; with this kind of presence and potential, why on earth do we have to whine????
Think of it, for a moment. Don’t bother thinking about your life – just think about today. Reflect on your recent emails, or phone calls, or conversations with family/friends/colleagues. Listen to the sound of your own voice, the stories you tell, the words you use and wonder…who was that person???
I, for one, am finished with being nice about this. Finished with being kind and understanding and patient – as I watch powerful women flush themselves, yet one more time, down the proverbial porcelain tube of their own potential.
I’m tired of listening to women make other women victims. -Oh, poor thing…you won’t believe what so-and-so did to her…or said to her…or (fill in the blank)!” Poor thing…she can’t handle it/manage it/deal with it/ fix it/stop it. Do we ever stop to consider how insulting and debasing that is? To be presumed to be helpless and powerless and without impact in our lives – as if we are nothing more than pawns on someone else’s chessboard. How insulting is that!
And we think we’re being kind or caring or supportive when we do that. If you really want to be supportive, start asking some powerful questions! Questions like: how did you manage to create this on your holodeck/in your life? What is there for you to learn about yourself from this experience? How does this unfolding experience serve you? What does being ‘a victim’ allow you to not disclose/reveal about yourself?
When I listen to a woman whine about another woman’s life, I ask some of those questions. Questions like: what does so-and-so’s life say about your own? What is there about this that is a reflection of you? What does paying attention to so-and-so’s life allow you not to notice about your own? What makes focusing on so-and-so’s life (over which you have no control/effect/impact) so much more attractive to you than attending to your own?
And, truth be told, the questions aren’t that much different when I hear a woman whine about her own life! Whose life ever got better from whining?
Whining is something we do to talk ourselves into believing that we’re doing something useful. Whining is what we do when we’re not willing to say:
- This is my life and you can’t have it!
- Sad as it may be, I’m willing to walk away from you rather than become smaller than who I am so that I can stay.
- I am no longer willing to be less than who I can be so that you can feel better about being less than who you can be.
- I’ve changed my mind! I don’t want to do this anymore – just because I don’t want to do this anymore!
Whining is what we do when we’re not willing to be seen/heard/experienced to be responsible for:
- choosing to leave because staying no longer sources us. Instead, we make sure that someone else makes it necessary for us to go and takes the heat.
- taking care of ourselves and leaving others behind. Instead, we stay and become the martyr or the savior – becoming small and bent in the process.
- moving forward and engaging our own lives, knowing that doing so will upset/irritate/annoy others. Instead, we linger much longer than will sustain life for us or the people with whom we engage.
Women all over the world, from one breath to the next, allow themselves to be less than who they are. They stay silent when they have something meaningful to say. They stay invisible when the pressure in their body is propelling them to engage. They apologize for who they are rather than face the displeasure of another.
Over and over again – day after day – we pretend to be who we’re not so that others might be thrown off the scent of who we really are! We take back and hold back the power of our own thoughts rather than face those who might disagree or dismiss or ridicule what we offer. We slide back into the shadows rather than stand tall and declare that another’s inability to see and/or recognize the value of what we bring may have more to do with the veils that blind them that it does with the relevance of our offering.
It is difficult for others to see and hear when they insist on covering their eyes and putting blunt objects in their ears!
We have spent generations and decades of our existence being kind, and understanding, and patient – working at and trying to be inclusive and considerate – making room for others to be with us, to come with us, to keep pace with us. After all, isn’t that what women are supposed to do? And in that process, we find ourselves wondering: -Will I survive?” as we slip under yet another wave of our own self-denial and call it an act of nobility.
Enough! Enough with the silencing…the apologies…the invisibility…the whining! Enough with the self-deprecation and perpetual-understudy way of living! Is it not time for us all to reveal ourselves to be the Masters of our own lives that we already are? When do we cease to be the apprentice and become the Magician!
Women of the world: stop whining! Stop whining and start claiming…and stating…and revealing…and declaring…and decloaking! It is long overdue for us to engage! Long overdue for us to uncurl and stand tall; for us to allow the full measure and force of our genius to unfurl and billow in the winds of change. It is time for us to take our place at the table and stop whining because no one will invite us. Perhaps, even more, it is time for us to notice that the table is already our own.
My belief about it? Women whine because we’re pissed! We’re pissed at the degree to which we allow ourselves to become irrelevant in our own lives – and then say ‘thank you’ for the privilege of being marginalized and overlooked. We’re pissed at the degree to which we slip so easily into the shadows without the smallest of protests to make it clear that we will not go gently into our own invisibility. And we’re pissed because we already know it’s up to us – and we resent it.
Kofi Annan, Director General, United Nations has said that the future of the world depends on women. We already know that. What we now need to pay attention to is what is it going to take for us to get out of our own way?
From my 56 years of being a woman and my 25+ years of working with women, I know nothing if I don’t know this: women are powerful! We are aware, astute, sentient, intuitive, insightful and visionary. We have what it takes – and we hate ourselves when we slither into the shadows rather than hold our ground.
I, for one, am also done with that!
Breathing is good…