I have been fortunate to be surrounded by strong and independent women my whole life both on a professional front but also personally. Granted my chosen profession is female dominated but the support and mentorship I have received within this community has helped me both be and feel successful (in this business, those are two separate things). It is also what put me on the road to becoming a Canadian ambassador for WIFA, Women in Fitness Association and essentially making it my life’s mission to help raise other women up to build and sustain an empowering career in yoga/fitness.
When I hit high school in the early 90’s, (well ok 1989) there was a lot of cattiness being portrayed by girls/women in movies like Working Girl, Clueless and cult favourite Heathers. Essentially, unless you were lucky enough to find a great friend who would become your boyfriend and save you from the mess of other bitchy women/yourself you would be left to suffer in the mire. This made quite the impression on a 14 year old girl who’s only truth was what was either told in Seventeen magazine or the latest John Hughes film. Adding a little oil to the fire by way of hormones as we navigated our way through maturing at different rates and getting dumped for new friends and boyfriends made for a very confusing time as to what it meant to be a woman.
Somewhere along the way I just became a bit done with all that. Probably making it out of my teenage years helped immensely but more so I realized that what I put out, I got back. That I am my own mirror in my relationships with other women. If I’m bitchy and judgmental, the women around me are equally bitchy and judgmental as we find equal ground through gossip and toxicity. If I’m caring and supportive, well the same thing comes back again. Sure, I think this is true of relationships in general, but there is something special about women. We are highly intuitive and natural nurturers, we want to take care of each other. We also carry a strong protective shield and are very – very quick to put our back up should we feel manipulated or mistreated. This comes across as either withdrawn (it’s easier to just go along) or pushing back (aka bitchy). Because we see our self in other women, we become the first to judge and are also very hurt when we have been let down by the women in our life. Stepping back, inserting a bit of yoga/mindfulness, we remember that everyone has their story and the baggage that goes along with it. If we can honour this in others and step forward in our relationships with women and see someone trying to do it all: to be a powerhouse in their careers, the best mom or the angst around becoming one or not, wife/partner, daughter, sister and friend all while staying updated in the latest fashion, remembering to post on social media, cleaning our house and eating all the right foods. No wonder we are so freaking tired.
The last few years, pushed forward by prominent female leaders and the #metoo movement something has changed in the very foundation for how women see themselves, each other and also how we want to be seen by others. Essentially, we are done with adjusting ourselves so others don’t feel threatened or sorry for us or embarrassed by what we say or do. We are done with trying to do it all to please who? Women are putting themselves out there and taking chances, sharing their hearts in ways that are REAL and vulnerable and rather than our greatest fear of being ostracized the opposite is happening. We are supporting each other not only through the darkness but also through the light. We are praising each other for our success and offering a hand to help make things even better.
While growing up certainly isn’t any easier now, my hope is that the girls of today are feeling supported by each other and all the other women rallying around them and pushing for their success. With organizations like Lean In for women in business and tech, WIFA for women in fitness and wellness and all the groups for women entrepreneurs, moms, mental health, recovery etc.., we have a chance to make a huge difference in the world in the likes of Gloria Steinem in the 1960s. I’m proud to post this on International Women’s Day but I will be more proud when this day is as needed as International Men’s Day. My friends, raise each other up! Smile at the girl who has “resting bitch face” (btw it’s probably me) engage women you don’t know in conversation, learn their stories and share the love. The more we see other women as competition the more competition will exist. The more we judge or gossip about women the more fuel we add to the fire making us all look small. For the sake of our daughters and nieces stop complaining about what you look like on the outside and live life from your heart, taking care of each other and raising each other up. Then maybe we won’t need this day any longer.
For all my female friends working in fitness/yoga or wellness here is the WIFA plug!
The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA) is a non-profit that exists to support women of all ages and races to succeed both professionally and personally within the fitness industry. WIFA membership includes quarterly virtual meetings, live gatherings, mentorship pairing, networking capabilities, speaking and presenting opportunities, and blog contributions.
Join Today! Use Code: LISA to save 10% off your membership https://www.womeninfitness.org
This is an International Association meet-ups and networking opportunities are available all over the world! ❤