“I just don’t like working with women. They are so catty. I’d prefer to work with men and when I look around, all of my friends are men too.” she said to me over coffee.
“I used to feel that way.” I responded. “Then I realized that the women I didn’t like were more like me than I thought they were. Somehow rather than reject them, I embraced them.”
It took me years to demonstrate my support of women, especially when a woman was unkind to me at work.
No one likes feeling angry and rejecting another. It takes energy to do that. Over the last five years I saw that how I viewed another woman had maximum impact in terms of how I treated her, if I support her or if I rejected her.
It’s all backwards. I look out, I judge or come to conclusion, and the irony is nothing is outside. It’s all how I see it.
Few people are bold enough to spend time working on how they see the world and situations. Most will spend hours, days, years and an entire lifetime trying to change what’s going on outside.
Trying to get the right body. Trying to get a good marriage. Trying to get love from our kids. Trying to be the over achiever at work. On and on it goes but we aren’t satisfied.
Then she walks into a room and we automatically judge:
Boy is she fat.
Wow. Nice Hair.
She isn’t a good mother. Did you see what she just did with her kid?
She acts like that for men’s attention. How pathetic.
Total garbage in our minds. Yet, its there.
So how do you overcome the reflex to reject another woman?
Look at your initial thoughts about her when you first come into contact with her. What you will find is that 99% of what your mind tells you about her isn’t even true. It’s just thoughts.
Here are five ways to bridge your mind into unity with another women:
1) Be Open To Changing Your Mind
Be opening to considering that whatever you think or don’t think about another woman isn’t the absolute truth. Often when we encounter another woman we are very quick to judge and label her to elevate ourselves. When those thoughts come up, look at them. Ask is that true? You may find that you start to question what goes on up there in your head.
2) Be patient
You may embrace a woman and she may automatically reject you. Be patient. Maybe you triggered something in her and she is slow to trust. Maybe no other woman has reached out to her and she doesn’t know how to receive. Be open. Don’t reject back in retaliation.
3) Practice by saying one small compliment
For the last few years to reprogram my mind, I would look out and find one good thing about another woman and act on it. For example, in an airport I told a woman that she had a great piece of jewelry on and how well it went with her outfit. I’ll never forget her response, how she thanked me and then said she actually woke up in a horrible mood and this small gesture made her day. This small practice helps you to cultivate the good thoughts and to find what’s right. The mind will always gravitate to what is wrong.
4) Be Empathetic
Your ability to relate is the most important skill you can develop. Practicing empathy when a woman lashes out at you is the hardest thing you’ll ever do – but it’s the biggest moment of your life. Rather than react back, think about how you may have felt in that situation. Conjure up a time in your life when you felt angry or hurt and how you lashed back. Then look at her again. I bet you see her differently. Treat her with love when she is the most angry, the most ugly and the most hateful towards you and you may find that she melts with the love you pour on her. Empathy is not pity and should not be exercised if you are being abused. Have discernment and know the difference.
5) Publicly Support Another Woman At Work
When you see her in the office, no matter how you feel or if jealousy presents itself in your mind, support her. In meetings, support women – openly and verbally if you agree with their point. Find woman that are polished and educated but need support at work and rally around her. Look for ways to embrace the younger women, but don’t overstep with advice that is really a mask for judgement. Stretch yourself. Support women that you don’t like at work, but do a good job to move through your feeling about her.
Sophia Nelson put it perfectly. “True sisterhood cannot be forced. It has to be developed over time. Not every woman will be your best friend, nor should she be invited to be in your inner circle, but every woman is deserving of your respect and support if only in the form of a smile.”