One of the critical keys to the health of any relationship (work, dating, marriage, friendship) is quality communication.
But we're often afraid to talk about the "real stuff." We are ashamed, afraid of hurting someone else or we just don't have the words.
We also allow our insecurities, biases, and past experiences to shape and shade our behavior.
Writing fiction in our heads, we sometimes believe that innocent actions are attributable to a heinous or hurtful agenda.
Three things happened recently that got me thinking about women and relationships (SOS's theme for February).
I wrote a blog about "mean girls" and women's inhumanity to other women.
Hosting and attending SOS events prompted me to realize that when women are comfortable speaking honestly and openly about their fears, insecurities, and goals in a safe environment, great things result -- new business relationships and friendships and a spirit of trust and respect.
"Women Talking" deserves its Oscar nominations. The antithesis of a testosterone-fueled action movie, it's unique in that not too much happens in terms of physical excitement or graphic depictions of violence. But the intergenerational and sometimes tense conversation is riveting.
Women often talk a lot. But we may shy away from the tough stuff -- unpopular opinions, sources of hurt, and perceptions of people who are "different" in some way.
But we can only make changes and improve relationships when we're willing to "get naked."
First, we must love ourselves.
Then, we need to exercise empathy and remind ourselves that everyone else is going through "stuff" that we may not even know about. Those things can impact behavior. Someone who seems aloof may simply be super-shy. When a woman lashes out, she may have had a terrible morning at home or work and you just happen to be in the path of the tornado.
Last (but as important as the others) is digging deep and understanding the fears and biases that impact our treatment of people who are different from ourselves.
Moving to Arizona from New York and navigating my "new life" as an East Coast, outspoken, frank, high-energy, older Jewish woman in tech has not been easy.
I can only imagine how people who are part of other minority groups feel. We
ll, I really CAN'T just imagine it.
That's why I was compelled to co-host our next Table for Six, which is going to be a raw and real discussion of bias. We're going way beyond the woke DEI blah-blah and addressing "all the 'isms" in a safe and supportive environment -- with margaritas, of course, because it happens to be on National Margarita Day. Race, age, gender, work style, state of origin...nationality...religion...politics...weight...nothing is taboo!
As we move through February (the month of love), let's think, write, and talk about what true love and respect mean and how we can incorporate more of it into our work and home lives!
And so the conversation begins.
Let's keep it going....
P.S. Guest bloggers are always welcome! Please let me know if you'd like to contribute this month (or next month, when the theme will be March Money Madness).