The Woman

XXVI: Women Empowerment - Are You Helping Us Or Hurting Us?

I am, by no means, a feminist. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the equality of the sexes and  women's rights, but I have not hit the streets for the cause, nor have I engaged in any heated social media rants about social injustices faced by women, BUT, I do believe in doing my part, as a woman, to uplift other women. 

Many people have no clue how difficult it is just being a woman. There are so many things that women face on a daily basis that (some of us) mask, or work through just so that we can secure a seat at the table that was probably made for men and by men.

emotions

For many of us, emotions are difficult. We work to control them. We work to conceal them. And, unfortunately, we open ourselves up and allow others to indulge in them (or do with them what they please). 

I am a woman who conceals a lot of the things that I feel. I keep my feelings as basic as hunger (yes, it's a feeling to me) and anger. Anything beyond these things, are debilitating to me and therefore are a threat to me all due to the fact that I was once very open with my feelings. I was open to friends, family, and past loves, but I've been shown time and time again that that was a mistake. I am of the belief that if you show me a pattern, I’ll believe in it. So instead of being open with my feelings over and over, I closed them off almost completely.

Other women deal with emotions in more healthy ways.  This means, however, that they are bogged down by the emotions that they cannot change, and sometimes cannot control. They work through this to be the strong mothers for their growing children, or to be everything to their friends and families, but this means that they put their feelings on the back burner until the breaking point shows its ugly little head. 

So, as women, are we helping each other or hurting each other by being petty, catty or callous when we could simply use that energy to check in? We could use that energy to make sure that that person is not struggling with their own personal demons and emotions. And, if we're sincere about it, that person may even open up to us. That person may find a safe space in us. And that may blossom into the best and most unexpected friendship. 

peers

Law school is competitive. Everyone knows this, but even with it's competitive nature, it is our job to still uplift those in the trenches with us. 

I see how the competitiveness inherent in law school ruins people's perception of others and keeps us from making the connections that (1) may be helpful in the future, and (2) could blossom into beautiful friendships. But, I am all about taking a step back and remembering that we are all humans with feelings and we are all dealing with life in varying degrees and fashions. So, instead of first deciding to be catty, rude, or judgmental with our peers, we should give them a chance. Trust me, humans are only humans, so they will definitely give you a reason not to trust them somewhere down the road. But, until that's happened, try not to judge others based on your own personal insecurities, inadequacies, or inabilities. 

Take the catty and competitive out of things and be empowered by the fact that you're standing triumphant next to another woman who is also standing triumphant. "We all made it to this point, so let's celebrate that", should be the mindset at all times. 

love

Although I want no parts of it, a lot of people seem to. And although I find myself doing this too, it is important for us to remove ourselves from other people's situations just so we have a talking point and just be there as a friend and a listening ear. If we are not able to listen to a friend's relationship problems or feelings without taking it to judgmental levels, then (1) we don't need to be that person's friend and (2) we have to check ourselves. 

Love is hard. Relationships are hard. And sometimes you just need a listening ear that actually cares. As women, we should have a better understanding of the effects that a relationship can have on us. We should have an understanding of the attachments and connections that, once formed, are hard to let go of. And, we should have an understanding of a love lost. These things are hard to work through, trust me. So, if you're called on to be a listening ear, or a friend, then try to be that full-time. Don't take off the "friend hat" just to try on the "gossip hat." I promise you, the former is a million times more worth it.

 

Women - we are a force. We are necessary. We are amazing. But, let's face it, we need each other. 

There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.
— Michelle Obama