A turning point in my life was when I became a fan of other women instead of their competitor.
This happened more recently than I like to admit. I spent many years overwhelmed with insecurity and doubt that turned outward as hot envy and judgment.
I hardly ever think of that time now; I’m a vastly different woman. But I can still remember its wretched hold over me.
Who’s That Girl?
One day, as I sat in my car waiting for the crosswalk to clear, a woman caught my eye as she walked by. She took long, confident strides in a pair of high heels and a short , swishy skirt. She looked straight ahead with unapologetic purpose, an aura not of look at me, but more of I’m all that and happy about it.
She owned it.
Suzanne v.1 would’ve scoffed… “She’s acting like she owns the place. Who does she think she is?”
That I possessed that level of insecurity is not a happy memory. It came from a place of intense emotional pain.
But on that day, I remarked to my young daughter in the car that I’d just seen a woman who was beautiful because of the way she carried herself.
I realized in that moment that I had changed in a fundamental, irreversible way:
Women could own their power, beauty, and wisdom without taking away mine.
And I never felt this way until I owned my power, beauty, and wisdom.
I suppose you won’t be surprised to hear that my inner transformation occured, in part, as a result of lifting heavy-azz shit.
I’ve seen it over and over again in the women I coach, too-
… becoming confident about lifting and proud of what she’s accomplishing,
… witnessing her body changing shape, and
… identifying with being an athletic, strong, and capable badass.
And so much more.
Owning it means all these things, both in and out of the weight room. You approach the weight stack without fear of what the dude sitting there thinks. You don’t care how much weight you lift compared to someone else. You’re in the zone, and if others want to watch, gawk, ignore, or envy, good for them.
When you walk out of the weight room, you know you can handle whatever comes your way. You ain’t no victim. No one can ruin your day except you. Your empowerment comes from inside and you can’t keep it tucked away just so that others don’t feel threatened.
You don’t have to.
I saw an interview with Nobel Prize Literature winner Toni Morrison the other night. She told a story about reading her own book, Beloved, for the first time, 25 years after writing it.
When asked what she thought of it, she said, with deep authenticity: “It was really good.”
I smiled – this is a woman who owns it in triplicate.
Sometimes modesty is insanely appropriate, and other times it feels false. More often than we think, being unafraid to show our own self-love and acknowledgement is far more powerful.
More to come.
This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.