I am not a feminist. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and came to believe that a feminist was an angry, bra-burning woman who hated men.
I love men. Some of my favorite people in the world are men; my husband, son, dad and brothers are at the top of the list. So I decided long ago that I was not a feminist.
But what is feminism really?
The definition is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”
This brings me to Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech. She said:
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”
Feminism is not about women being angry and demanding our due.
Patricia Arquette is talking about advocating for ourselves just as vigorously as we do for our loved ones and the causes that we feel so passionately about. It is about us knowing our worth and working toward receiving the same treatment and pay as men.
We have, for too long, gone quietly about our business take caring of everyone else, giving ourselves what’s left, only to find there is nothing left.
It is time to stop being stingy with our compassion and acceptance when it comes to ourselves.
We must give ourselves permission to ask for what we want but first we must know what we want.
It is time we speak up and let our voices be heard without judging ourselves as arrogant or self-centered.
It is time we help lift each other up and stop calling women who assert themselves a bitch.
Go for that thing that may seem out of reach. Celebrate yourself if you get it. Heap yourself with the same compassion you give others if you don’t. Then go out and try again.
If we live our lives modeling feminism then not only will our daughters learn to do the same but our sons will grow up to be feminists too. We owe it to ourselves to do this, we owe it to future generations.
Recently our son noticed how his sister loved to play music on her smartphone but had a very cheap speaker. The sound quality wasn’t all that good but we never heard her complain about it.
Our daughter’s birthday was coming so he decided he would get her a new, better quality wireless speaker even though she had not asked for it.
When she opened the gift, she let out a squeal of delight. She was completely surprised because, although she wanted a new speaker, she had not asked for it.
Her delight was magnified because her brother was paying attention to what she liked (her music) and what she needed (a new speaker).
I think there would be less ugliness in the world if we simply paid attention.
I believe most people want to know they matter and what they have to say matters. We have a tendency to be so caught up in ourselves that we forget to pay attention to what’s going on around us.
When we aren’t paying attention, our children can think we don’t care, our spouses feel neglected, even the people we meet in the street can be left feeling that we are cold and detached.
My grandfather taught me what a gift it was to pay attention. Everyone agreed he was a great guy. When asked why, they would say that he made them feel special. All he did was pay attention.
When I was talking to my grandfather, it seemed like we were the only two people in the world. He would listen attentively and ask questions that pertained to what I was saying. He made whomever he was speaking to feel special because he payed attention.
I have also had the experience of people who talk incessantly and are not the least bit interested in what I have to say. Whether it’s true or not, I am left with the feeling that they really don’t care about me.
As a volunteer for Step By Step (a non-profit organization that provides empowering workshops for women who are, have been or are at risk of being incarcerated), I have had the privilege to work with veteran workshop facilitator Sally Kohler. Sally writes and facilitates the workshops for both women in jail and for when they come out.
Sally pays attention to the women who sit in her workshop. She is accepting and listens intently therefore many of them feel seen and heard for the first time in their lives.
Because Sally pays attention, these women begin to feel worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.
I have witnessed people transform their lives simply because someone took the time to pay attention to them.
The great thing about paying attention is that you can begin now and it doesn’t cost you anything. I suggest you begin by paying attention to yourself.
Pay attention to the thoughts you have about yourself. If you wouldn’t say those things to your children or your best friend then why are you letting them clutter your mind. Pay attention and let them go.
By paying attention to what and, more importantly, who is in front of us, we affirm that they matter. That simple act serves to bring more love, understanding and peace to our world.
You’ve heard of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? All I can say is it must have been a man who thought this up because no woman in her right mind would ever say anything so stupid.
I agree that the Golden Rule is positive in most situations. In dealing with the people I encounter, I try to be calm, polite and kind. All traits I appreciate in others when interacting with me.
However, recently I took issue with my husband treating ME as HE would want to be treated. Specifically when it came to my birthday.
When my husband and kid’s birthdays roll around, I try very hard to give them a special day. When the kids were younger, we had parties. Now that they’re older, they choose between dinner at their favorite restaurant or dinner at home with me making whatever they choose. And the same goes for my husband.
With my birthday so close to Christmas, it has always seemed to get lost. With all the hoopla over the holidays, everyone is too tired and partied out to have yet another party, including myself. As an adult, I have learned to accept this. Or so I thought.
This year, I felt resentful as I thought about my upcoming birthday. When I looked to see what the cause was, I realized the past few years, my birthday dinner consisted of takeout pizza. I love pizza, don’t get me wrong, but on my birthday?!
When I thought about how my husband wanted to spend his birthdays recently, I noticed he doesn’t care to make a big deal out of it. I realized he was treating my birthday the same way. He didn’t understand that I wanted something more than takeout food.
I knew I needed to have a conversation telling him that I did not want to be treated like he wants to be treated. I wanted to be treated the way I want.
All that meant was either choosing to go out for dinner or having him cook dinner at home, NO TAKEOUT!
In case you’re wondering, he cooked our family a delicious meal of artichokes french, jambalaya and tiramisu. My favorite foods with my favorite people! It was the best birthday ever because I felt heard and honored! Not only by the people I love but by myself as well. (And it was extra special because my husband doesn’t often cook.)
Where are you expecting your partner to treat you as you treat them? A hint: Start by looking at where you’re feeling resentful. Speak up and practice asking to be treated the way you want.
Remember the Golden Rule of Relationships: Do unto your partner as you would have them do unto you, unless they tell you otherwise.
I am participating in a blog hop this week. The theme is “Why I Write”. At the end of this, you will find other women business owners who are also participating.
I came out of childhood thinking that who I was was not ok.
I was thin as a child but I thought I was fat. At least that’s what my brothers and kids at school said.
When I was 10, I had a teacher who chided us for answering a question wrong by laughing and saying sarcastically, “My, isn’t that a gem of wisdom.” I felt average at best.
I learned to stay quiet and invisible so as not to subject myself to humiliation, ridicule or abuse.
Dr. Brené Brown’s research revealed that vulnerability is the only road that leads to living a whole-hearted life.
You mean the only way I can be joyous and fulfilled is to be vulnerable? This does not compute! And you can’t make me!
The child in me is still afraid of not getting it right and being made fun of or ticking someone off and being punished.
I can choose not to coach, not to write and live a quiet life of desperate agony. This I know all too well.
But there comes a time when the pain of not speaking up is stronger than the risk of being vulnerable.
I now consciously choose to be authentic and vulnerable and risk putting myself out there. I choose to write because I am tired of being afraid of being hurt and hiding who I am.
Because of the work I’ve done on myself, I now have the privilege of teaching others how to overcome their fear of vulnerability. Through my work as a coach, I help others shed their limiting beliefs and step into their authenticity.
Each successive blog post I’ve written has gotten more and more vulnerable for me. I try not to compare myself to other bloggers, coaches or anyone who may seem more vulnerable than I. (Iyanla Vanzant says that when we compare ourselves to someone else it is a form of violence against oneself.)
So why do I write? I write to face my fear of not being being liked, being wrong and upsetting people. I write so that others who feel the same way don’t have to feel alone anymore.
I write to be seen and heard. I write because I have to.
Below are the names of the women participating in the blog hop. I hope you will take the time to check out their blogs.
Joleene Moody is a client closing expert, business coach and speaker. She helps women entrepreneurs significantly increase their income by finding or creating speaking engagements — and then converting attendees to high paying clients.
I noticed I was getting a bit bored with my normal walking route lately. So I decided to try doing the route in the opposite direction.
This woke up my senses! It was a completely different set of scenery. The trees, the road, the creek, the traffic… everything seemed fresh and new!
When I took the usual route I came from the opposite direction and was on the opposite side of the road. I never noticed how much the small trees that lined the north edge of my neighbor’s property had grown over the past year.
I also noticed that this route seemed to be ALL up hill. No kidding. And, I found that my mind didn’t wander as it would when I walked my usual route.
I began to wonder about the many things I do a certain way just because that’s how I’ve always done them.
I think about the many times I would drive to and from work and not remember any part of the drive. I was so in my head that I was totally on auto pilot.
That sounds like it would be good, right? But what about life? Am I going through life on auto pilot? Am I so stuck in the past or worried about the future that I’m not paying attention to the life that’s happening right now?
I love routine. It brings me comfort.
I love that my husband gets out of work at 4:30 most days and will be home shortly thereafter. We have dinner by 7pm, talk about our days and discuss what’s happening tomorrow.
By 10pm, I’m on my way to bed as my husband attempts to stay awake to watch the Twilight Zone at 11pm, he doesn’t always make it. Although this may sound boring to some, this routine is comforting for me.
But there are routines that are downright boring for me. For example, a few years ago I was working with someone on my business. They advised me that I should set up my coaching business like any regular 8-5 business with an hour off for lunch.
I did that for a while, got totally bored and rebelled. One of the reasons that I decided to start my own business was so that I could set my own hours.
For years as a dental hygienist, I had to work the schedule the doctors set, usually 9-5, 8-4 or 7-3.
What I notice is that I am happiest when I set my own schedule. Sometimes I don’t sit down to work until the afternoon. Other times I have woken up in the middle of the night and answered emails or sat down to write at 7am or 8pm or on the weekend.
I am learning to trust my instinct and do what feels right to me.
By following a different route or a different way of doing those things we do often, we have a chance to look at things from a whole new perspective.
That’s another reason why I LOVE collaboration. There have been many times I have changed my opinion simply because I was open to hearing someone else’s take.
Listen to what others have to say and then, trust your gut. Choose what brings you comfort and joy but try changing your routine even just a little from time to time.
You might find that’s all you need to add a little spark and a new perspective to your life.
It’s Spring! Before you know it, it will be time to break out the shorts and swimsuits. Nothing like the thought of having to give up the bulky sweaters and winter coat to create the motivation to get into shape.
Having literally been in hibernation due to illness this winter, I feel like a bear who is emerging from a cave. Unfortunately however, I have not been living off my fat stores. This bear is out of shape and overweight. Wow, that was hard to put out there.
I have had an up and down relationship with food and weight since I was 12 years old and someone called me “pleasingly plump.” I still can’t believe anyone actually said that to a kid.
I remember being taken to Lane Bryant to shop for clothes. Nothing against the store, it has beautiful clothes. But as soon as I figured out that the store was for “bigger” women, I marked myself as fat.
Between 8th and 9th grade my weight didn’t shift but my figure did. No one else thought I was fat except me.
Thus began an endless string of diets. When I was pregnant, it was a relief to be able to eat what I wanted. And it was torture watching the number on the scale go up.
After my second child was born, I was overweight and uncomfortable and decided to join Weight Watchers. It was a wonderful program that helped me plan my meals and I was able to get down to a reasonable weight.
I have been fairly successful in maintaining my weight until I became ill this past November.
As I begin to feel better, I’d like to learn to feel comfortable in my own skin. I have begun by questioning my relationship with food. It turns out how I eat has a lot in common with how I live my life.
I am a planner. I feel most comfortable and safest when I know exactly what’s going to happen. I don’t do well when surprise cake, cookies or pizza show up. I think that’s why I did so well on Weight Watchers.
Planning works until my rebellious shadow kicks in and says, “I’m tired of you depriving me of a good time and good food! Who cares what you weigh!” Suddenly all bets are off.
In life, my pattern has been to go along to get along, push through and restrict and not listen to myself until I reach the breaking point. Then my rebel says “Screw it! I’m going to do what I want! I’ve had enough!”
Although I call myself a spiritual person, I don’t feel safe in the unknown. Because I like to be in control, I have a tough time surrendering to my Higher Power.
Unfortunately, God doesn’t send out emails with an update of what’s to take place in my life that day, week, month or year.
By choosing to practice surrender and trust, I can cultivate the faith that God is in all things, especially the future.
I am a secretive eater. People rarely see me eat sweets or foods that I consider “bad.” I’m afraid they will think “Wow, she really should not be eating that! Take that cupcake away and get that woman a celery stick instead!”
In life, I have always had a passion to learn more about God and how to live a life that is authentic for me and help others do the same. I felt resistance to following that passion because I am not only afraid of what others will think but I had fear of failing, not being good enough and being rejected by the world and even those I love.
So I would hide. I wouldn’t talk about my dreams or my fears. And I wouldn’t talk about God. I did NOT want anyone to see me as a Holy Roller!
I put on a happy face to look as if all is well even though I was miserable inside. Until I decided I couldn’t take living this way anymore and began working with a coach.
Since becoming a coach myself and doing the work to connect with myself and especially God, I am now living a more authentic and joy-filled life.
Practicing not using food to numb my feelings helps.
I have once again set out to get myself in shape. I’m not sure what that will look like but I know I am older, wiser and will be more compassionate with myself.
My plan is to listen to me and listen for God. And to ask myself questions such as, am I getting in shape for me? For others? For God? How will being fit and healthy impact my relationship with God? With others? With myself?
If you’re interested, I definitely recommend reading Ganeen Roth’s book Women, Food and God and following her guidelines along with me.
We’re in this together. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you on your journey to God, health, fitness and the life you are meant to live!
“God is always for us and never against us.” Dr. Michael Beckwith."
My “kid” mind also believed that God was an old man with a white beard looking down on me from the sky. That’s where Heaven is, isn’t it? Up in the sky? Up there, where it’s all rainbows and unicorns. And Hell is down somewhere, maybe in the center of the earth?
I believed if I was good and followed the rules then I would go to Heaven with all of the good people. And if I was bad and broke the rules I would go to Hell where it’s really hot and I would burn and be miserable forever.
Of course my “kid” mind decided that I definitely wanted to go to Heaven. I love rainbows and unicorns, burning in fire, not so much.
As I got older, I wanted to learn more about the white-bearded man in the sky.
I’ve read numerous books by well known spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, Neal Donald Walsh, Rob Bell and Marianne Williamson. I’ve taken numerous Bible study classes and have had and listened to many hours of conversations with spiritual and Biblical scholars and teachers.
After all of the research and time I have spent pondering the tough questions, I have come to believe one thing for sure. God is NOT a white-bearded man that sits in the clouds and judges every little thing I do.
I don’t remember exactly when I first considered the idea of God not being a figure in the sky. I do know this concept through me for a loop. Everything I had believed as a child was suddenly being questioned. On the other hand, it felt right and I thirsted to learn more.
I can’t tell you who or what God is. I am still on my quest. But I will tell you that I believe my journey is about creating a relationship with God. And I don’t believe it will be complete in my lifetime.
Take a look at your “kid” mind beliefs. Do they still ring true for you today? Do your own research. Talk to people you trust and admire. Read books. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should believe. Use YOUR wisdom. TRUST that still small voice inside.
I know that if we continue to look for God, we will find Him… or Her. I invite you to join me on this journey. May we travel with love, open hearts and patience as we uncover our way to God.
I was diagnosed with shingles around Thanksgiving. While the blisters have long since gone, it is taking longer for the pain to completely dissipate. My doctor informed me that I could have residual pain for up to a year. (For more information about shingles go to http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-topic-overview)
While I would not wish this illness on anyone, it brought some lessons that have been life changing.
Because I had shingles over the holidays, I told myself that I would hunker down and take good care of myself. My plan was that when the first week in January came, I would get back to work and my normal routine. However, my body had something else in mind.
I found that even though the pain had lessened and I was able to take less pain medication, my stamina was low. I was fatigued by 3pm and even if I took a nap, I was exhausted by 7pm.
I was frustrated and wondered what was wrong with me. After all, I “should” be better by now because I had taken good care of myself. Right?
My mind was full of useless internal (and some external) whining. I was thinking about how this wasn’t fair… I was afraid because I needed to get back to work because money doesn’t grow on trees… I began thinking that my family probably thinks I’m a slacker and I just need to suck it up…yada, yada, yada…
Suddenly I could hear Eckhart Tolle’s words ringing in my ears. What if I totally accepted how I felt each moment, no stories, no pity party, no internal dialogue? What if there was no place I needed to be? What if I was exactly where I “should” be?
For that day, I decided to clear my head of all the “shoulds” and judgments. I simply did what I could and what felt right.
And here’s what happened, I connected with a colleague and a friend on the phone, created a good portion of a workshop, ate a delicious and nourishing breakfast and lunch, washed, folded and put away a load of laundry, dusted and vacuumed the living room, showered and wrote this.
As soon as the pressure to be somewhere else was gone, I was free to be exactly where I was. I realized that a lot of my fatigue was caused by me not accepting how I was feeling.
I also realized this is how I do life, I fight it. I worry about what others think. I’m always trying to figure out what will make those around me happy. I battle between what I want to do and what I feel I “should” do. It’s a constant fight, no wonder I’m tired.
By accepting what is, there is nothing to push against. And by listening to my own inner wisdom, I empower myself and rely less on the approval of others. As a consequence, it frees up a lot of mental and physical energy.
Needless to say, this feels great. And this way of being has to be more conducive to healing.
It’s clear this is something that’s simple and powerful but not always easy. And I will continue to practice.