Being raised Catholic was not my choice. And I questioned it constantly. Part of being Catholic then was learning that there were things you never talked about and never asked about (even if you thought about them constantly). That may still be the case, but I chose to leave Catholicism decades ago.
The phrase "the elephant in the room" comes to mind for such topics. Growing up I felt like there were twenty full-grown elephants in every room at all times, squishing me to the point where I couldn't breathe. Things like, just go to church and don't ask why you have to every Sunday, or we know Uncle Charlie is an alcoholic but just ignore that he just drank an entire bottle of wine at dinner.
As soon as I was brave enough to, I vowed that I would live a life without elephants in the room. Unless I was at the zoo or a nature preserve because I do love elephants—unfortunately for them, their size works really well for this metaphor. I've been living an elephant-free life for some time now and frankly do not know very many others who do. Folks seem okay with keeping particular topics under wraps even if they are losing their minds about them on the inside.
While it was groundbreaking when introduced in 2006, the #metoo movement, which was "founded to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low income communities find pathways to healing," has morphed into a platform for blame and shame to expose and crucify men—oftentimes, unjustly. Look, I've seen my share of men behaving badly or downright inappropriately and getting away with it, but the vast number of men are good people who respect women (likely because they had mothers who would kill them if they didn't).
Girls are generally taught to not display aggression, but we can still show them how to be strong and empowered while being respectful and commanding respect in return. I certainly have no tolerance for any type of domestic abuse situation or sexual harassment of any kind and wholeheartedly believe in education and intervention.
But this movement has inadvertently created a society of distrust and fear—men in the workplace and social situations don't know if they can compliment a woman without fear of retaliation or if they can volunteer to mentor a woman without being accused of misconduct, etc. The workplace at-large requires that men and women respect each other and work together, not create platforms that further divide us. It's just not healthy.
"But this movement has inadvertently created a society of distrust and fear"
Women need to be able to clearly delineate between behavior classified as intimidation or threats from an unwanted pass and a genuine compliment. I, for one, would like to see men continue opening doors and holding elevators for women—that's chivalry, a concept that's been around since medieval times. I am confident enough in my own abilities and how I present myself to the world to not need reinforcement from a man; but if a man says I look nice today, I'm going to thank him for noticing. Just as I would if another woman said the same thing.
My son, who I believe has a high level of respect for women and sees women as equals, was shocked when I told him that I believed the #metoo movement has many unintended consequences; he called me an anomaly. To the contrary—I've had a number of one-off or small group conversations with affluent, professional, smart/savvy women who have confided the same view but would never say that openly for fear of negatively affecting their careers or how the carpool moms might see them.
"My son, who I believe has a high level of respect for women and sees women as equals, was shocked when I told him that I believed the #metoo movement has many unintended consequences; he called me an anomaly"
I feel like I am in a minority of women who have a solid core of self-confidence, are bold enough to stand tall, and choose to (respectfully) escort the elephant right out of the room. How do you define yourself, how many elephants are in your room and what are you going to do about it ?
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Hooray! You are off and running in a new year and a new decade with impressive dreams, impactful goals, and a bucket list overflowing with possibilities.
For so many of us, we start out strong with our resolutions and plans and then life, fear, excuses, time all get in the way. We stop. We abort. We never start.
Here are a few simple ideas, a checklist of sorts, that will support you in taking forward action on igniting your wishes into tangible realities in 2020.
- Rewrite all your lists. Combine business plans and vision boards, bucket lists and New Year's Resolutions into one compact and accessible list.
- Then look for overlaps. Where are you pursuing the same goal two different ways? Combine them into one easy, shorter and more digestible ask.
- Drill down further on your goals with a simple question. Why do you want that specific thing? Then take your answer and ask again. Why do you want that specific goal, what will it bring to your life? How will it make you feel? Will it matter one year, five years, ten years from now? Why?
- For every goal on your new combined goal list, attach 3 in-real-life action steps that you can pursue right now to move that goal forward. Rinse and repeat this every month.
- Goals are about evoking change. What does change mean to you? Challenge yourself to change one thing every week that will take you closer to achieving your goals. Repeated 52 times, your one change becomes a concrete, consistent, and valuable action step in getting your goals and not simply setting your goals.
- Review your successes. Take a success inventory once a month. Success breeds success, and it keeps you focused on what is working rather than what is not. Adjust and tweak your goals from that vantage point. Rather than starting over…pivot and lean into what is next.
- Mid-year re-evaluate your goals. What is working? What is completed? What needs to be changed. Allow those updates and changes into your life. This is one of the things that separates those who get goals from those who set goals. Use your power of choice to give voice to what you do next. You are the CEO of your goals. Own this power.