Imagine a place of cheering and not judging… where behind every successful woman there is a sisterhood of other women who have her back and where the first thought is always: be your sister’s keeper. This is Sisterhood, it’s a world of empathy from women to women.
Sisterhood is about female camaraderie. It’s the basis of long and strong relationships. It’s all about being the champion of other women, of celebrating other women’s successes, not just in the workplace, but in their personal lives too.
For instance, when you listen to derogatory remarks about other women’s bodies, such as a few popular ones regarding armpit hair: “Do you believe how gross that is!” or “How could she?” are just a few comments you can read on Madonna’s daughter’s famous Instagram post. These type of negative comments about the freedom of choice are, to say the least, interesting because how many of us suffer so much in order to be perfect and to do everything right?
All these negative comments and judgement almost always come from a place of hurt. We got used to never being happy or in peace with our bodies and with ourselves. So, the lack of support and acceptance from our peers makes it even more devastating.
True sisterhood is a “come as you are, and I love you anyway!” type of place. A place we can just be ourselves and loved for who we are. This also means that real sisters come from a place of love, but nevertheless, we will tell it like it is when the time comes. Sisterhood is about being truthful and supportive, and this also means holding your sister accountable for her actions as well.
It’s about collaboration instead of competition. It’s about seeing other women as potential, as collaborators. Seeing other women as adversaries is a stigma that was perpetrated by men in the past, and that is still very much alive; but that we as victims of it, have the responsibility to shut it down and create a new reality. We can accomplish so much together. Is there any doubt about that? It’s so much easier to share a journey, to share a struggle, and to be able to count on another person to help us along the away than to do it all alone.
It’s so empowering to see successful women’s teams, to see the possibility of it all, the sharing of resources, small or big, the showing up and standing up for each other.
This being said, whenever you feel the urge to criticize, shame, or downgrade another woman, stop that thought process, reflect on that feeling, go back to it, and instead train your mind to think about a positive ending, instead of that negative one. The power of positive thoughts and comments is immense, it goes so far. True sisterhood inspires us to be better, to be stronger, to be our best selves. When someone expects us to be good, we will be good, when someone expects us to fail, we will fail.
Celebrate the potential, speak good things about other women, don’t just compliment her clothes, complement her intellect, her ability to be positive, her empathy. Each one of us is beautiful in our own way, in our own capacities.
Also, and not less important, know where your loyalty is. Because loyalty is the most sacred feeling you can have towards another woman, it’s something you need to cherish and to always take into consideration whenever you decide to do, to think or to say anything about another woman.
There is a wonderful speech about life given by the writer David Foster Wallace called “This is Water” to the graduating class at Kenyon College. This speech fits so well into the sisterhood theme, and the freedom of choice, to try to think without prejudice and with empathy beyond the obvious, and to live a happier, real life, beyond our natural bias.
There is a part in the speech that illustrates an ordinary day in the middle of traffic at rush hour, where David Foster demonstrates that you can choose to be mad or frustrated and live an unhappy life or you could choose another path; that instead of feeling road rage you can choose to think: “…the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he’s trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he’s in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.”
To be part of a world with more sisterhood, is all about the work we must do to get outside ourselves – to get away from the bias we were placed in. We’ve been taught that other women are our competition, are not capable of being our real friends, that other women are creatures that we cannot trust – this is our bias.
Feeling this way is so much easier because that’s what we have been taught and fed unconsciously, it has become our automatic unconscious. Therefore, when there is not a conscious will to contradict this, we will end up being unfair and let our bias decide for us, instead of our true heart. This means we need to choose a path of hard work, in order to not let our bias get in our way.
So, whenever you see or feel that another woman’s behavior or image is so inappropriate and so morally and wrongly depicted, think that maybe that person is not like that all the time, that any type of behavior always comes from a cause. This kind of thinking takes will and effort, and some days you won’t be able to do it and that’s OK, it’s part of the process. In the end, you will always get to decide how you get to consciously see the world.
Choose to live a life with empathy toward other women that are going through the same struggle as you and refuse to see it through the eyes of the intolerance of others.
There is a saying that we only hate and criticize in others what we really hate about us. It’s time to love ourselves more, to be kind to ourselves, so we can be kind and empathic to others.
Self-love is an everyday effort, it is fundamental to a beautiful world with sisterhood. And because love is contagious, be the example you wish you had.