Being kind, charming and generous is easy for most of us when life is good. If time is abundant and there is plenty of money – if we're loved, connected and have a purpose, most of us can bring our A-game. It's not so easy when times are tough.
If we choose to be present in life, to be open to love and to strive for the things we want, we are going to meet disappointment – probably many times. And it can leave us feeling pain, sometimes physical – almost airless.
This may apply to you now – or in times ahead: as low as we can feel, this place down here on our knees is where we all learn who we really are. In the belly of disappointment, if you sit with your pain you'll discover resilience and courage quietly waiting there for you to rise again.
The greatest amongst us have failed and failed again; muscle fibre must be ripped to be rebuilt stronger – and so must you. You can choose victim or warrior, the choice is yours and will define how you face the days to come. Here, some ideas on handling disappointment and rising again.
Be Curious About Your Feelings
First thing's first. Get past the big three: blame, anger and righteousness, which we use to deflect pain like Wonder Woman's golden wristbands. Underneath those red hot emotions used to protect yourself, sits your warrior heart, tender – exposed and strong. Examine your feelings of shame, fear, rejection and despair; where do they come from? They hurt like hell, but they won't kill you. Unpack them, feel them; a lot of the sting will pass when you have examined the worst.
We put so much energy into not feeling raw and painful emotions, yet the quickest way to let them go is to stop resisting them.
This is not about dwelling in a dark place; this is about facing your fear and seeing it for what it is; the sooner you do, the sooner you'll take flight again.
Give Yourself A Reality Check
Drop the story and drama and look at the situation, devoid of your hot and heavy emotions. What has really happened? What is the real cost physically, emotionally, socially and financially? Get some distance from yourself and look at the situation objectively; you may not be able to see it yet, but good will come of this if you do not create a victim story.
Be really brave and write a benefit list; a list of 20+ benefits that will come from your experience. I know it sucks, I've done it myself, thrashing about yelling, “There is NO benefit!" Then I get over myself and often this one simple task is a turning point.
Vulnerability Is Strength
I don't see vulnerability as weakness; I see it as an extraordinary strength. When we accept and love ourselves – broken and flawed, big-hearted and hopeful – nothing can harm us. If you are feeling smashed and broken, open yourself to the warrior within – your strong heart is right there, fuel it with self-love. We all mess up – every single one of us, over and over again. The moment we stop trying to hide our mistakes we are free; it is the pretending that is exhausting. Take responsibility for every choice and every step you have made, do not choose victim.
When pain is known and self-love present, we can stand in the storm of anything. Vulnerability is strength, authenticity impenetrable.
Focus On The Silver Lining
Creativity and clarity are two benefits that come from failure and loss. If your back is against the wall and your resources and options limited, let go of panic and fear, focus on solutions and outcomes. Take your foot off the brake which is driven by fear, allow your clever, conscious brain to swing into action and start finding creative solutions. Your conscious brain is the happiest when it is problem-solving, but you must give it the space and oxygen to be brilliant. You must focus on what you want, not what you don't want.
You must focus on what you want, not what you don't want. Walk, dance, scream, cry – turn the music up and breathe in possibilities; the solutions are right there to be uncovered. Remember, clarity is a beautiful benefit that comes when we have screwed up or are in the rawness of loss. We stop caring what others think; there is a clarity that reminds us what is important and what is not.
By shedding the need to be presentable, right or perfect we discover what we want, who we are and what our purpose is, we realize that hitting rock bottom can be the greatest gift you'll ever receive. Easy is boring; the richness of life is felt when we experience it all. Exquisite joy, lust and love, the lonely depths of failure, the sickening feeling of regret and the soaring heights of success.
Choose warrior and out of the ashes you will rise: stronger, wiser, broken and beautiful.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.