Many years ago, I was in a meeting discussing timelines for a project. One member (female) had been pushing dates back constantly. This time it was incredibly frustrating.
The meeting ended and you could see a ton of eye rolling and sarcasm, especially from other women.
A couple of us we're still wrapping up and something happened. She displayed her vulnerable side. We've never seen this. She started chatting with us about how difficult it has been to try and hold everything together. That there's immense pressure from her boss (also female) but no resources. At this point her position is on the line.
Suddenly the moment she showed her vulnerable side, we left our judgements behind and started connecting. The tone changed. We empathized with her. We collectively found ways to help make the project a success without sabotaging her position.
There was a shift of mindset. She wasn't asking for help but the moment we all "aligned", it was this powerful force. Kind of like "don't worry, we'll figure this out!"
Why is it that we need to show our vulnerable side to connect? Perhaps it brings a human element. Some of us love hearing people's stories. It helps us bond.
I truly hate the phrase "airing your dirty laundry" when someone opens up. Being vulnerable requires strength and courage.
BUT, if we open up, the risk is that we'll be told we're using it as an emotional weapon. So we act strong instead. There is no winning.
What's the point I'm trying to make?
When it comes to women empowerment, I think we need to first look within.
As women, how do we react when we see a woman experiencing growth or suffering?
We can attend a protests for equality but are we supporting women going through a divorce? Infertility? Abuse? Are we cheering on the ones excelling in their careers? Raising children? Surviving? OR are we talking them down and passing judgements.
Let's not force someone to open their wounds just to earn respect and support.
Sadly, we are the hardest on each other. It's human nature to judge without knowing someone's full story but this can be changed by making a conscious effort.
We are so powerful together