My path to success and happiness lies in smashing the patriarchy. Let me explain: Smashing the patriarchy is not a rallying cry against men.
It’s a call to examine the way I interact with people and how I treat myself. It’s the prompt to admit that the way I have lived for years does not serve me and does not lead to feeling successful or happy.
Smashing the patriarchy is about changing culture so that all of us can feel connected, fulfilled, happy and at peace. If my intention is to change the culture to this end than I need to start with myself first!
I am an experiment in smashing the patriarchy.
To do this I’ve had to recognize that the patriarchy is a system based on stereotypes and conformity. It lives within my thoughts and influences my feelings, what I ingest and how I take care of myself.
It’s the harsh voice inside my head that tells me how I should be instead of accepting who I am and how I need and want to be.
It’s in participating in this system that I, and many others, disconnect from our truth and power. It’s why we end up feeling unhappy, burnt out, and like failures. It’s also why we experience emotional, physical and structural violence.
The patriarchy doesn’t only impact women. The LGTBQQI2SAA+ community and men also feel the unhappiness, toxicity and loneliness of stereotypical living. We are all causalities of the patriarchy.
This way of living is unsustainable. It’s why I choose to smash the patriarchy within me and this requires re-defining what success and happiness is for me.
In the past, success in my life and work meant working in the midst of conflict on women’s rights implementation. It meant adjusting to hostile, toxic work environments that lacked the ability to communicate effectively and to be compassionate. Success meant a sacrifice of all my time, energy, funds, relationships as well as my physical and emotional well-being because through systems, procedures and leadership I was told that this is what it took to build peace – even if it meant losing myself in the process. It was a sacrifice for the greater good. I wanted the greater good. I thought it would make me happy. It didn’t.
I no longer define success this way. Success now means putting my needs and desires first. It means filling myself with good energy by focusing on self-care. It means creating and reinforcing healthy boundaries so that I can witness and support someone else’s difficult and human journey with compassion while not getting sucked into it to the point of burn out. It means accepting myself as I am. No judgement and loads of compassion. Beautiful, imperfect, human Jo. Guess what? This way of living makes me feel happier, connected and whole.
This is what I’m learning on the path to smashing the patriarchy: It’s not an attack against anyone. Rather, it’s the process of unlearning everything that has kept me small and powerless. It’s about defining success and happiness on my terms, in a way that resonates with who I am and how I want to feel. It’s about stepping into my power with intention, self-compassion and empathy for others. Finally, it’s about supporting people in realizing their truth and empowerment in a way that doesn’t disempower others.
So how ’bout you? Are you ready to accept who you really are instead of who you feel you should be? Can you get curious about what success and happiness really look and feel like for you? Will you join me in smashing the patriarchy within?
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