Last year I opened the virtual doors to my own business. It was a dream come true brought about by hard work and lots of advice from some really brilliant people. One piece of advice I received from a number of sources was to get active on social media but to make sure that my activity wasn’t political. This advice might be good for some people and some companies but I don’t think it’s good advice for me.
You see my business, my passion, and what I know I’m meant to do is help women find their voice, personally, professionally, and politically. What message would I be sending these amazing women if I kept silent on issues that mean so much to me? “But you might offend some prospective clients” was the opinion of more than a few of my advisors. Yes, of course that is a risk. Yet remaining silent on my beliefs would inevitably be more damaging to my psyche than it would be to my pocketbook.
If I don’t present myself truthfully in all aspects of my life, how can I push my clients to do just that? Wouldn’t my message be even more powerful to them if they disagreed with me and we were able to talk about that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn how to agree to disagree and yet treat each other with respect and kindness? For years I hid my opinions, sometimes I would adopt the opinions of others without even checking that they made sense to me. One day I had had enough of that and I vowed to find my voice and use it. That is when I started the challenging but ultimately, wonderful work of understanding myself, my beliefs, and how I want to present myself to the world.
Many women that I meet in my work and in my personal life have lost their voices (or maybe they never had them). They’ve been emotionally beat down, have little faith in themselves, and are often afraid to ruffle any feathers. They want to please those around them, to be likeable, and loveable. Yet I see the toll that living that life takes on all of us. The truth is (as clichéd as it may sound) that we can’t be loveable if we don’t know who the hell we are and what we stand for.
Political opinions are but a small way to find your strength. Why do women often find it difficult to ask for raises, promotions, help from others, equal pay, respect, love, and kindness? Why is it ever ok to be treated like second-class citizens both in our homes and at work? How will we ever raise daughters to stand up for themselves if we aren’t doing it ourselves? Why is it wrong to voice our opinions and stand for something, especially ourselves?
So won’t you join me? Start today. Tell someone exactly how you feel. Do it with respect and assertiveness. Don’t be a victim, don’t ask for pity, don’t beat someone else up to get your needs met. Stand up and ask for what you want. Stand up for someone else or something that you believe in. Support political candidates who share your vision. Heck, put a lawn sign up and watch your neighbors go crazy. Run for office. Ask for that raise. Ask someone else to do the dishes; you weren’t the only one who ate off of them! But most importantly, ask for love, ask for respect, and use the most powerful gift you have, your voice.
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.“
Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com
You can reach her at Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com
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This article was originally published at Smart Women Inspired Lives with Lisa Kaplin
. Reprinted with permission from the author.