Research shows that women who show support for other women are far more successful in the workplace and even at home. That’s because when we choose to lift up and support the strong women in our lives, we are essentially empowering them to do great things. And this, in turn, allows everyone to thrive. For any lady you know or meet, whether it’s through family or an acquaintance, here is a gal’s guide to supporting them so that they may become strong women.
Support Their Aspirations and Dreams
Encouragement goes a long way! And supporting someone’s aspirations and dreams could be the little boost they need. Ask them how their venture is going and if there is anything you can do to help out. It’s not just about words of encouragement, either. Maybe your friend is starting her own business and needs an extra hand as they prepare to open a store or website. Even if it’s not your idea of a dream come true, it’s still important to support their aspirations and dreams with everything you got! And if you plan in advance, you can find a cute gift to give them as a sign of your support and appreciation for all that they’re doing. Everyone loves a thoughtful gesture!
Remember that January is National Mentoring Month, which means you can mentor young girls to become strong women too! Urge your gal pals, mom, or even grandmother to take risks and to do hard things. Envy has no place in supporting strong women in your life. Instead, you should be supporting and celebrating their great success.
Become Accountable Partners
To lift strong women up even higher, go along with them on their journey. Be their accountability partner and hold them accountable to their aspirations and dreams. Being accountable for yourself also exhibits this strength and pushes them to succeed as well. When you support the strong women around you, it tends to be contagious, and they also support you in return. Keeping each other on track with our goals and aspirations is not just about dependability, but encouragement. It makes your goals and dreams feel acknowledged and attainable. The important thing to note here is that you collaborate and not compete. Competition is only going to lead to jealousy and defeat the purpose of supporting each other.
Create a Tribe
If you want to take it a step further than creating accountability partners, you can create an entire “tribe” where you can lean on each other for support. Don’t forget to allow your tribe to grow and welcome new members as well. Remember, this is not a private boys’ club. And this is not a sorority girl clique, either.
Creating a tribe—and growing it!—can introduce you to some of the most strong women you will ever meet. Stay connected by having a girl’s night out, or, if you’re a more spread-out tribe, via Facebook Group or another social media outlet. You never know when you might introduce two friends who really hit it off or who can offer a job or support during tough times.
Be Honest and Transparent
Honesty is valued, more than ever. Talk candidly and openly to other women about everything. From relationships to salaries, nothing should be off-limits or too taboo. Honesty and transparency are especially vital when it comes to our mental and physical health. Women diagnosed with breast cancer makes a perfect example of this, as do expecting mothers who may feel nervous about having kids. Being honest with each other breaks down these scarier barriers.
Essentially, by being upfront and transparent with each other, women can be more empowered to confront their partner with a troublesome relationship issue or even strike up the courage to ask their boss for a raise.
Part of being honest is also that you are dependable. Be a shoulder to cry on when life gets tough or simply answer the phone when they call (not letting it go to voicemail). And don’t just be there when they ask for help. Reach out to them too! Call them, text, and ask if you can swing by—whatever you have to do to show them you’re a reliable support system.
Take Their Emotions Seriously
Women are stereotyped for being highly emotional which has been blamed on periods, hormones, and hysteria. Sadly, this has led to a general disregard of women’s emotions. Men, and even other women, often shrug off the emotions and pay little attention. But the next time your friend or mom shows sadness or anger or frustration, trust that their emotions are indeed real and take them seriously. Stay by their side until they feel better. This validates their feelings and makes them feel supported.
Be Nice, Not Nasty
Drop the cliquey, high school “mean girl” routine, right now! Women should lift each other up without judgment or envy. Instead of making a snarky passing remark about their latest achievement (just because you haven’t yet achieved similar), say kind words and congratulations. Stop being passive-aggressive with other strong women too. Spreading gossip is another nasty trait and a terrible way to treat other women. It’s natural to want to hear a good story, and it’s almost contagious, but it’s ultimately tearing other women down only to build yourself up in a superficial way. Instead of using gossip or snarky, passive-aggressive remarks, be nice to support the strong women. Compliment them on their recent achievement or simply cut them some slack if it didn’t go as planned.
Use More Powerful Words
Speaking of compliments, women are tired of being told to smile in order to “look pretty.” Certain language and vocabulary only fan the flames on the idea that a women’s physical appearance is all that matters but beauty comes from within and everyone should be remined of how important they are. Try using more powerful words and phrases, such as “You are brave” or “You are kind.”
It’s Time to Support the Strong Women
It’s not difficult to support the women around you. The basic principle here is to always lift them up, and never tear them down. And, of course, grow your circle and invite more strong women into your life.