This post covers how to deal with emotions. It briefly mentions sexual misconduct. This is best read when you can make some space for it.
I hope you find it helpful.
I’ve been acutely aware that I’ve been quiet this month as International Women’s Day and the International Day of Racism has come and gone.
I’ve been quiet because I hit my limit but almost didn’t realize it. It could have led to flat-out burn-out.
Each day of the week that started with International Women’s day brought bad news of women’s lived experiences. I noted them from around the world: Canada, the UK, the Iraq-Syria border, Myanmar and Nigeria. As I did, I carried on with my work focusing on the technical ways to realize gender equality and treat everyone as human beings.
It was only on Friday evening, on my way out to take an after-work walk, that the sadness hit. Walking on the sidewalk in my neighbourhood tears streamed down my face. I had a deep and heavy sadness for the women who are victims and survivors.
I was surprised by my reaction. For all the actions I take daily to release this kind of energy, I didn’t realize how much I had kept this feeling at bay so I could get on with my work!
In that moment I realized I needed to stop, drop and breathe.
And that’s what I’ve been doing this month. I’ve been practicing daily, the act of removing the pressure “to get it all done,” to acutely listening to my body. When faced with the option to “push ahead” versus “pause and rest,” I choose to pause and rest.
Recently, I attended a meeting with members of the Canadian Armed Forces to discuss their progress on the Canadian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. I was grateful I had allowed myself to pause, rest and really feel my sadness this month. Doing so restored my resilience enough for me to share my anger, frustration and disappointment in the military given the recent allegations of inappropriate behaviour with female subordinates and sexual misconduct by 3 high-ranking members of the Canadian Armed Forces including the former chief of defence, his successor and the commander in charge of human resources. My restored energy and resilience made it possible for me to communicate in a way that was heard – as confirmed by those in attendance including members of the armed forces.
As I do my work, you are always in my thoughts. I know you are doing meaningful work with your unique insights, experience and approach. I want you to succeed and to do so, I hope you too are able to Stop, Drop, And Breathe when you need to.
Take good care of yourself. Be well. Stay Healthy. When they happen and as best you can, savour sweet moments.
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P.P.S. If now is the time you’d like support learning how to self-advocate while feeling safe and resilient, let’s chat. Book a free needs assessment or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about the services I offer here.