I think one of the biggest obstacles we face as women stepping into our feminine leadership is the fear of judgment, criticism and getting attacked.
While some of our great-great-great-grandmothers got burned at the stake for being themselves and speaking out, we now have public shaming on social media. Women are pitted against each other in competition and caddiness as a result of a long timeline of mistrust and a patriarchal model of leadership.
As I’ve been making Sistership Circle more public, I have had to face this fear head on as women attacked and spammed my Facebook post, and the latest, a leader called me “deceitful” in an email yesterday.
It stung. It hurt. Even when I look in the mirror and know myself as a woman of integrity, authenticity and vulnerability, it’s still hard to brush off any negative criticism that comes my way.
So I feel it. Fully. And then I respond. Not react.
I’m not going to spiritually bypass by saying “I’m just letting that go because that’s her stuff.” That would be perpetuating the problem. I’m not going to write it off in judgment of being judged. That’s the old model of an eye for an eye, which only leads to blindness.
You may have been in this situation and stayed quiet. You may come across this in the future and wonder what you should do. So I’m going to lay out for you exactly what I did step by step and hope that this will empower you to speak up in the highest truth. To heal and love instead of judge and separate. To stand for something instead of suffer in silence. To be empowered and compassionate instead of disempowered and victimized.
1) Know the truth. Come from the truth.
The illusion is separation, judgment, criticism, disconnection.
The truth is oneness, love and connection.
The safe route is to shrug it off, blame it on the other person as “her problem,” judge her for judging you … all to make yourself feel bigger since you felt shut down.
But the truth is that this is you staying small, pretending to be big.
The bigger thing to do is to speak up and not withhold. The next step is to speak up in a way that is coming from love, compassion and kindness.
2) Get in the other person’s shoes. Look at this judgment as rooted in this person’s values.
Every judgment is the shadow of a value. I asked myself: why is she calling me deceitful?
I got in her shoes. Maybe she got burned in the past. Something happened where she got screwed. Or it wasn’t that intense but she witnessed someone being inauthentic and out of integrity and she decided to take a stand against it.
Her values are integrity and justice. We are on the same team.
3) Get grounded in the higher purpose you are committed to.
If you take the higher road, that road is based on a larger commitment. Mine is healing the sisterhood wound, creating collaboration and connection, and leaning into love. (I’m actually going to pin that on my wall as a reminder.)
This is the context I respond from. I don’t take this personally. I don’t get sucked into drama. I don’t get into an argument. And I definitely don’t make up a victimized story about it, hoping others will commiserate with me. I stand for something, my commitment to truth, love, joy and peace.
4) See her for her greatness. Speak to her greatness. Don’t jab below the belt.
When we are judged, we want to feel better by getting back. Defending. Protecting. Attacking. We feel bad so we want her to feel our pain. Or we ignore and numb out to feel better. But these are not sustainable solutions.
Instead, when we get in our heart space and speak to her highest, we get the most incredible response.
Think about yourself: there are times when you are in your ugly and you react. But that’s not who you really are. Who you really are is a good woman doing the best you can with what you have learned. So is this person attacking or judging you. So if you caught this person on a good day, who would she be? Speak to this beautiful, magnetic woman in her highest.
5) Take inventory and responsibility. Is there something that you can refine?
Get down to the essence of what she is sharing and see if there is some feedback that you can implement. Have her feel heard. Be willing to look at yourself in the mirror. Take ownership if there is anything that will make you better.
6) Be vulnerable. Share your hurt feelings.
This is the scariest part. You don’t want to open our heart to someone and show that it is tender when she just hurt you. But the truth is, she may have no idea that what she said affected you the way it did.
Most women are good women doing the absolute best they can with good intentions. Think about it, are you a good woman? Do you have good intentions?
I would think so. You are reading this article! You are committed to personal growth and women’s empowerment.
So when you share the impact that someone’s words had on you, she will most likely come back to love. That’s what I have found happens every time I vulnerably open my heart to someone.
This is the hardest part. But brings the greatest reward: LOVE.
I’m not going to share the email to protect privacy, but what I will say is that we came back to love and had a beautiful exchange. There is the possibility for future collaboration. And most of all, we walked our walk of feminine leadership in sisterhood.
7) Handling social media.
Social media attacks can be so impersonal. But with my Mastery Facebook post, I had to remember that they can’t see my face, they don’t know who I am. And so I can’t take it personally. All I can do is lovingly and compassionately respond, not trying to put them in their place, but help them understand. I’ve found that this is best done privately to take out the crowd effect.
Please share in the comments == >> Have you been attacked and chosen to be kind and compassionate instead of fighting back or disengaging in apathy? Is there a situation in your life right now where you feel judged by someone and want to respond instead of react?