I’ve been thinking about the women of the #MeToo movement. From Larry Nassar to Harvey Weinstein’s victims and every woman yet to be heard, I can’t help but feel the incredible pain these women had to endure through the years. And yet they showed up to do the work.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I’m all too familiar with the psychological and physiological damage sexual transgressions can wreak on women’s souls.
But I also know this: women who come out on the other side, almost always are better equipped to deal with personal and global challenges.
Which is why I believe that these women are our best hope for a better future. Here are a few reasons I believe #MeToo women would make exceptional leaders:
Almost all the women I know who’ve been harassed or abused have come out of it stronger in the mind and spirit. Motivational talks about resilience by people with zero experience of overcoming real challenges can feel shallow and dissonant. #MeToo women, by sharing their truths and experiences can be stellar examples of resilience.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve talked about your experience or not. That’s not the kind of courage I’m talking about. If you’ve been subjected to sexual violations and have risen the next day to show up for yourself, your family and your work, you’ve shown courage. Some women have had to face their abusers over and over again because they live or work with them. That takes courage. And true leadership demands courage every step of the way.
I’ve had to overcome depression, anger issues and a host of physical challenges as a result of my abuse. But as I healed myself and made myself whole, I was immediately guided to share those healing tools with others. I’m able to hold space for so much more than cut-and-dry business development strategies for my clients. Truth is, everyone in this world is suffering in some form or the other. When women step up to share their wisdom with others, they create a ripple effect of healing and wellbeing.
Empathy is often thrown around as a must-have leadership quality but it’s impossible to acquire it from the outside. Empathy is cultivated from deep within us: when we’re able to peel the layers of self-protection and feel into another’s experience. Being violated heightens our sensitivity, makes us highly intuitive to changes in energy and mood. This same sensitivity is what helps us develop empathy.
There’s an ancient and mysterious practice called alchemy: the ability to turn ordinary lead into gold.
I believe the #MeToo movement has an evolution ahead of it. First, we speak up, then we take up space and introduce a new, more balanced form of leadership.