A Woman of Strength
Choosing Grit and Grace
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou
As I’ve talked with my family and coaching clients this past week, in this post-election environment, I have had to reach deep inside myself for my own inner wisdom. How can I be honest without being polarizing? How can I support the need to grieve and affirm a long-view? How can I talk about my own hopefulness when there is so much evidence that would suggest a dark future is near?
For much of this campaign process, I focused on Hillary (I will come back to Trump). She has been a teacher for me. I listened to her speeches. I studied her energy. I learned about her history and commitment. I kept asking myself “How does she do it? How does she remain steadfast, focused, and pushing forward in the face of so much resistance and malevolence?” She just never gives up.
I studied this woman to learn what I did not learn growing up. Growing up, I was taught by the patriarchy. These lessons included being invisible, appeasing, staying quiet, and suffering severe consequences for rebellion.
Yet this woman, Hillary Clinton, must have had a different kind of teacher while she was growing up. Because she learned to confront patriarchy, to defy it, to stand strong in her own point of view, and to come back with determination when it crushed her. The causes to which she committed her adult life were her motivation and north star, not the fear of not being liked or not fitting in.
Hillary Clinton has not only broken the glass ceiling that a little girl can run for President of the United States, but she has shown us the kind of inner grit and grace we need to take on the patriarchy. On some level, and at great personal cost, the public awareness of some of the defeats and heartaches she experienced, has served to teach us how to recover from setbacks and come back strong. To me, she is a woman of grace and grit. She is a woman who chooses her path. She is a woman of strength.
I don’t agree with all her political views, nor do I need to. I can stand in admiration of the inner qualities of grace and grit and purpose of this woman who has stood publicly before us these past months and years.
As I reflect on my own childhood (because how we were raised is very much a part of who we are today), there is one powerful lesson that my upbringing in the patriarchy has taught me, and this lesson is important in view of our president elect. The lesson is choice.
For many of us, this election may feel like patriarchy has won yet again.
But I am taking a different view today. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” We are not powerless children. We have choices. We know where the lines are being drawn and this gives us tremendous advantage in planning our choiceful, skillful response.
As women, we have a call to action to heal the inner wounds of the patriarchy that live within us and to unlearn the ways that we have been taught to be quiet and invisible.
To be effective, we also need to be skillful in our approach, grounded like a rock, and with a compass filled with purpose towards life affirming outcomes. Grit and grace – women of strength.
My commitment is to continue healing my own inner wounds of the patriarchy and to continue working with other women who want to heal and unlearn the imprint of patriarchy that lives within them. To coach and support them to develop their own inner grit and grace and purpose towards life affirming outcomes. This is my choice. What is your choice?