If you don’t stand up for yourself, how can you stand up for anybody else.
-Mrs. Green, a marcher in the 1963 Civil Rights Movement on Washington
Gloria Steinem related this in her latest book My Life on the Road. Mrs. Green happened to be marching beside Gloria on that day, and Gloria was telling her about all the efforts she and her friends took to get a man of influence to listen to them and take up their cause. That’s when Mrs. Green shook her head and said: You white women! If you don’t stand up for yourself, how can you stand up for anybody else?
I’m a life coach and therapist. My job is to help people re-empower themselves. And yet there are times when I come up against something that scares me, and all I want to do is hide in a corner rather than deal with it, hoping it will be taken care of by someone else. But, paraphrasing Mrs. Green, if I don’t stand up for myself, then how can I facilitate that in my clients and those I care about?
Here’s how I help others, and can use as a reminder for myself frequently:
- Choose your battles. Not every event I disagree with is one I need to fight. But the ones I engage in are important to me spiritually. I speak up for equal rights of all races, because I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t have equal rights. I actively fight against all animal cruelty, and increasingly, the equal rights of wild nature to live freely in their own habitat.
There are many things I don’t agree with that I won’t take the time to fight against right now. For instance, I disagree with using salt on winter roads, but I’m not willing to take the time to fight for a less eroding alternative. That’s going to have to be someone else’s fight.
I’m sure you have a lot of things in your life that you don’t like or want to change. Which of those are personally important to you, that you’re willing to spend your energy on? Not that’s important to your spouse or loved one, unless they are that important to you; but that deeply moves you, so that you can sustain the effort it will take to stand up for.
- Be clear on what you want to gain. Is it something that can happen this year with effort? Or in a few years’ time? Or something that can only get started in this lifetime? Gloria Steinem didn’t have a clear idea in 1967 of what she was ultimately fighting for; all she knew then was that she wanted to empower more women. So she decided to walk in the Civil Rights march (after having almost talked herself out of it).
- Take action. All of us has more power than we know. We have the power to influence the course of our lives and of others’ lives. Ms. Steinem showed up in 1967 and walked. That’s all she did that day. And that led to other things that ultimately culminated in a world-wide women’s rights movement. Every step she took was scary and required a huge stretch on her part. That’s true for you and me.
What is important to you right now, and what can you do to make it a reality? How can you stand up for yourself today?
Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions. In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.
This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.
3 Lessons on success from an Arab business woman
Quote of the Week
How many more of us are faking the facade? How many more of us are pretending to be something we’re not? Even better, how many of us will have the courage to be ourselves regardless of what others think?
― Katie McGarry, Dare You To
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages. For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org