Presently I’m reading ‘The Climb – conversations with Australian Women in Power’ by Geraldine Doogue. I don’t know why I was surprised to read that most women Geraldine spoke with (I’m only half way through) have experienced obstructive, arrogant, bullying behavior towards them by men in their workplaces, particularly in meetings.
I googled “why women find it difficult to speak up” and at least a dozen articles came up on the first page saying exactly the same thing. We are living in 2015 right?
I don’t move in those circles, thankfully! And these are the so called ‘movers and shakers’ of our world? These are the places of politics and business.
Recently a friend told me that she had just realized that she had been in a friendship (with a man) for over 20 years that had been straight out abusive. She had endured regular criticism, threats (that he could get any woman he wanted – she wouldn’t sleep with him) (I’m wondering why he still hasn’t found that perfect woman!), mocking, belittling, embarrassment and disappointment after disappointment that he just wouldn’t step up and be the person she believed he could be and treat her with the respect she so desperately wanted and felt she deserved.
Isn’t it interesting that she wanted him to treat her with the respect she craved and felt she deserved? She knew she deserved better. She knew he treated her wrongly. Yet she stayed in this friendship craving that which this man couldn’t give her.
It reminds me of my post yesterday. We don’t ask ourselves the question ‘Why?’ Why is this person treating me like this when I know I don’t deserve it? Because that’s how they are. Why don’t I speak up or move on? Because um ?????
There are many reasons we don’t speak up or move on but the main ones coming to my mind are a mix of being predisposed to:
lacking self respect
being dependent, and
From the moment we come out of the womb, and possibly from the moment we are conceived, we are labeled. We have grown up being called that label and we very quickly know and understand our own selves as that label. Due to tradition there is ‘baggage’ that comes with the label. With the ‘female’ label comes the baggage of all manner of weakness and inability. The need to be provided for and protected. The idea that men are better and more than women. Yes, there have been changes that have altered these concepts to some degree, however the baggage still does remain and won’t change until the girl or woman herself changes it for herself and supports other women in making the changes as well.
Girls and women need to do the work of developing deep and iron-strong self respect themselves. We can state, demand, fight, revolt and argue till the cows come home that we should be respected for no other reason than we deserve it, but that will NEVER happen until we love and respect ourselves first.
Women will not be able to stand up in board rooms (or anywhere else) and tell men (or other women for that matter) to back off or to stop, and neither will they receive the support of other men and women, until it is so obvious that women love and respect themselves so much that no-one would dare treat them badly. They just wouldn’t be able to.
The second thing girls and women need to work on is their ability to depend on themselves for their comfort – and I’m not talking about material comfort. We need to be able to enjoy being with ourselves. We need to be able to feel completely fulfilled by things we generate ourselves in our lives. If we feel the need or calling to be creative, we need to do that. If we feel the need or calling to be academic, we need to do that. If we feel the need or calling to be whatever – we need to do that. We are here to play a role in the drama of life. All of us are. And we need to play THAT role, not a role that someone else tells us directly or indirectly, we should play. Playing OUR role will ensure that we will feel completely fulfilled because we are using our talents and skills and abilities to their fullest. We are burning our OWN fuel and not someone else’s who will resent us sooner or later for it. If we don’t burn our own fuel (the energy within us) we will stagnate and slowly die inside and thereby be the label – weak, hopeless, pitiful, victim, unable……
Lastly, fear. Just as darkness is the lack of light, fear is the lack of feeling fearless and courageous and brave and strong. Girls and women need to imbibe these feelings and experiences and make them a part of who and what we are constantly. We need to face fear head on, remember it is nothing but the lack of feeling fearless and courageous and adopt the feelings of being brave. The more we practice this, the more it will become natural. And we ARE these things naturally.
The human soul is genderless and within it it has the whole spectrum of qualities and abilities. This is what we need to remember. We are the soul – genderless – and therefore we have all qualities and abilities. Therefore, we can do anything.
Its as simple as that! We just have to remember and practice, remember and practice, time and time again.
Then we will be able to speak up – if we need to.
lots of love,