Be There for Her: Sustain the Tradition

“Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.”
Some years ago, I reported to a man who had a five- year- old daughter. One day he asked if I would be willing to have his little girl come to my house on a Saturday to play dress up. The young girl’s mom “wasn’t the fancy type,” but her daughter surely was. While I happily agreed, I let life get in the way and never “fixed her crown.” I have always regretted that I didn’t share a part of myself with that girl whose emerging sensibilities were so much like my own.
When you look back, you may see the many women who have stood behind you and beside you – those who were there for you. They showed up without fanfare or judgment, without seeking any glory for themselves. Their doing so made a difference and contributed to how you:
saw yourself
travelled your path
pursued your goals, and
overcame difficulty.
That’s how they went about “fixing your crown.” By their own example, these women show us how we can be the woman who is there for the next woman whose crown needs fixing. It’s not about “paying it forward.” No, it’s about carrying it forward, a tradition worth perpetuating and sustaining amongst women.
Every day, I challenge myself to earn my place amongst that invisible tribe of women who shake loose the envy, jealousy, comparison and criticism of other women. These women truly possess a superpower: the willingness and ability to be there for one another. There are so many ways we can be there for the women and girls in our life, those we know well and are close to, as well as those we encounter casually, along the way:
• Start by making a conscious decision. Our behaviors and actions flow naturally when we already know how we want to show up in the world as wives, mothers, daughters, co-workers, friends, neighbors – as women who are there for other women.
• Be her listener. There are plenty of well-intentioned people ready to give advice and offer solutions – often prematurely. When we are listened to deeply, and without judgment, we begin to trust ourselves more and to believe that the answers almost always live inside of us. Big, meaningful questions like these support listening: “Why is that important to you?” “What matters the most in this situation?” “How do you need to be different to make that happen?” Of course, if you sense she’s ready for input, check that out: “Are you open to an idea or is it better if I just listen?” or “Let me know when or if you’d like me to offer a suggestion.”
• Be her champion. You know how good it feels when someone knows what you want to achieve and provides their unconditional support. We all need the assurance that there is someone in our corner believing in us, rooting for us, and even cheering us on. Get more concrete by asking her directly: “How can I support you while you work toward that goal?” “How can I be there for you through this?” Another way that you champion her is by consciously using language that empowers her. Beyond “You’re awesome” and “You’re amazing,” be more specific about why or how this is so: “because you are driven, strong, clear-minded, inspiring, generous, kind, courageous.”
• Be her beautiful mirror. We get enough “feedback” from the makeup mirror and sadly, from other women that points out our flaws and imperfections – physical and otherwise. Flip that on its head and be the woman who celebrates another woman’s inner and outer beauty. The next time you notice that the woman in line in front of you at the CVS has beautiful hair, tell her so. The next time that waitress-in-training greets you with a warm and genuine smile, tell her never to lose that because it’s, well, beautiful.
• Celebrate her. It hardly matters how. Give her a big hug (or a virtual high five), send her a text, share a glass of wine. It doesn’t matter how you acknowledge her; what matters is that you do.


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