While I was in New York this past weekend, I had a moment of realization brought to me by an act of kindness from a group of women. My friends and I were out, when out of nowhere a waitress walked up to us with a bottle of champagne. We told her she had the wrong table, and she assured us she didn't; that it was a gift from a few tables down. I searched the room, assuming it was a group of guys until the waitress pointed out exactly who they were. It was a group of young women, celebrating a birthday. At first, I was confused. Did that really just happen? Are they hitting on us? …
I walked over to them and thanked them. They kindly said, "no problem," and acted like it was no big deal. Nothing else was said. They carried on celebrating, and we did too. Turns out they weren't hitting on us and it wasn't a mistake. These girls were simply being generous to another group of girls. I could not get over it. I was so impacted by that act, that it got me thinking about women and how we interact with one another.
Isn't it peculiar that I immediately assumed the gift was a mistake, flirting, or from a group of guys? I thought that because as women, we are competitive in the ugliest ways. We look at beautiful and sexy women as threats and not team members. We criticize at every chance we get. I am guilty of it. We (intentionally or unintentionally) threaten or feel threatened by each other's boobs, curves, jobs, influence, and designer bags instead of being so focused on growing ourselves, that it causes us to understand the struggles we all face and clap for each other's wins. We see powerful women as a rarity and not an option for all of us. We are so accustomed to inferiority, that it has become a way of thinking.
This is not the cry of a liberal feminist. Instead, it's a personal realization that I wanted to share with you ladies. It's something I'm thankful that I see early on and I can one day pass to my daughter. I've noticed that there are three extremes that people think of women in our culture. Die-hard feminists who have acquired the "I don't need a man" mentality; women who are dependent on men, and women who think they can't have it all.
I am proud of being a woman. I'm proud of being gentle and physically weak. I'm proud of being emotional and tender. I am also proud of my professional life. Beyond that, of dreaming of a life- furthermore-building a life, that impacts a multitude of women. I dream of being able to employ widows. My mother and mother-in-law are both widows. My husband and I lost our fathers at an early age, and our mothers were left on their own, with children to take care of, emotionally broken, and starting from nothing. My heart breaks for the most special woman in my life. I lived it all with her. I saw strength manifested in her that is unparalleled. So much so, that it inspired me to focus my entire life on helping women in the same terrible situation to succeed as she has.
And that is just my story. But we all have one. We should all have the mentality that we are precious women, with the ability to change our environment, to make history. We can be wives, moms, professionals and world-changers at the same time. And we can be encouragers of one another to do the same.Random acts of kindness like sending someone a drink, a pair of shoes, and showing them we believe in each other can go a long way.
“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies, and men ran half our homes.” - Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO.