I don’t care if you like me.
I’d like you to like me. I’d prefer you to like me. I enjoy being liked, and loved, as much as anyone. But, in the end, it is more important to me to to live and speak my truth, than to be liked. And that means not everyone will like me. And I can’t care about that.
Years ago, when my daughter was in Brownies, I made the audacious (you’d think blasphemous, from the reaction I got!) suggestion that an organization such as the Girl Scouts, that prides itself on empowering young women, should not be having girls selling crappy junk food for its fundraiser.
I need to add a disclaimer here. I am not against cookies per se. I do even occasionally buy Girl Scout cookies, because I want to support the girl scouts that I know and this is currently the only way to do so. My thought was that an organization as large and powerful as Girl Scouts shouldn’t be pushing young kids to sell crap. It shouldn’t be the institutionalized directive. How great would it be if their fundraiser was also something that taught the importance of health and wellness? In this age of rampant childhood obesity, why would such a group continue to do this?
I got all excited and fired up. I went to the other moms with the brilliant idea that we, as a troop, take a stand. That we come up with our own fundraiser, that truly empowered girls. We would have the girls understand how important health is. We’d let the Girl Scouts organization know what we’re doing and why. We’d be starting a paradigm shift – a revolution! Maybe there would even be a movie made about us, like Erin Brokovitch!
Guess how that went over.
They looked at me like I had just suggested we put swastikas on the Brownie uniforms. One, who I don’t think disagreed with me completely, said that we were just one small group and there’s no way we could make a difference. To which I responded with my favorite quote from the amazing Margaret Meade.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
She was unimpressed. The Cookie Mom (yes, that’s a thing) actually yelled at me, told me I should take my kid out of Girl Scouts, a few other choice words, and finished it up by telling me that I was a rotten yoga teacher. Needless to say, Stella didn’t continue with Girl Scouts (her choice). She learned an important lesson in standing up for what’s right. I was proud of her and she was proud of me.
I got myself into a similar situation this past week. I somehow ended up in a Facebook group that was supposedly a support group for women going through menopause. I’ve always been bothered when women denigrate themselves, even in jokes. Memes with women inadvertently putting themselves down are all over Facebook. You know the kind, “I used to be hot, now I’m hot flashes,” jokes about needing alcohol to deal with children/partners, jokes about weight gain, stretch pants etc., blah blah blah. I always gently call out my friends who post these things, asking them to consider why they participate in this kind of negative self-talk. You see, our brains don’t know the difference between joking and not. We internalize the negative.
It’s not news that humor can be great and it can be hurtful. These days, racist jokes are unacceptable. Most people agree that sexist jokes, when delivered by men, are not cool. So, why do we jokingly allow our sisters to do it to themselves? My theory is that over millennia of patriarchy, women are so used to being put down, that we don’t even realize we are doing it to ourselves.
So, I brought this up in the menopause group, after somebody posted an awful cartoon of a fat, sweaty old lady with saggy boobs and a caption that read something like, “why must we be punished with menopause?” I’m sure you can guess where this is going. I was told to “Get a fucking sense of humor,” to “Get over myself,” to go away and that I was a drama queen. Funny, that I was suggesting that we build each other up, rather than tear ourselves down and for that, I got attacked.
I have heard some people say (mostly men), that that’s just how women are. They’re catty, they tear each other down to make themselves feel better. To that I call BULLSHIT. The women I hang out with, both in person and online support me and hold me up every single day. They are badass Goddesses and I could not live without them. They are are supportive, awesome and funny AF.
I think I’m fortunate, in that standing up for myself comes pretty naturally to me. I’m fiery, I’m opinionated, and I don’t back down from arguments. (My Pitta personality. Always have to throw in a smidge of Ayurveda!) I’ve been told I’m a know-it-all, that I can be too forceful and that I’m argumentative. I have softened some. Deliberately. I have worked hard at being able to listen to opinions that differ from mine, without immediately interjecting. I’ve worked on taking constructive criticism. I understand that I can’t just be a train wreck of forcing my beliefs on everyone all the time. And when I do argue, I do my best to do it respectfully. I don’t always succeed. I’m still working on it.
My point is, that we all sometimes have to take a stand. We need to stand up for what is right and just. In order to live an authentic life, we have to examine ourselves and our beliefs and behaviors. Sometimes our beliefs are self-limiting, sometimes we act out of our limiting beliefs. In my work as a coach, I push my clients out of their comfort zones and encourage them to change their self-limiting patterns. (Sometimes I do this in my personal relationships too, which goes over less well!) I encourage them to move out of their self-created status quo and step into their personal power. Their authentic selves. This doesn’t mean you’ve got to jump into an argument with everyone who has a differing opinion. We do have to pick our battles. But if we find that we’re constantly living in a way that is out of integrity with our true desires for our lives, it’s time to make some changes.
So, how did it end with the Facebook group? I left a Peace Out final message and left the group. I invited anyone who wanted to be part of a truly supportive group to private message me. And guess what happened. They started messaging me. They’ve joined my group. And I’m going to support the hell out of every single one of them.
I recently heard someone say, “I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.” I love that. I’m not either.