With the influx of reality t.v. shows there is a noticeable trend, or lack thereof : women encouraging women. Instead of working with each other, offering support, or even constructive criticism (sincere criticism) many women are tearing each other down. I know “reality” t.v. is edited to the nines to garner ratings making it hardly a reality.
However, the actions of the reality stars in those edited clips are enough to say, “Sisters we have a problem.”
MANY WOMEN TEAR EACH OTHER DOWN
I recently sat down with Nikki Phoenix, Founder and President of Women of Esteem, to discuss this very topic of women encouraging women. Women of Esteem is an Antigua based voluntary organization “highlighting the strength of the female gender all across the globe.”
As we sat in the coolness of the shade of one of Antigua’s most popular restaurants C&C Wine House I opened up our discussion by asking Nikki her concept of what encouragement is. She answered knowledgeably, getting to the root of the matter: “T
o me, before I can encourage anyone else I have to know who I am as an individual. You need to know your center and have a general understanding of who you are, your fears, your capabilities. …have a general analysis of who you are before you can analyze somebody… before you can find that strength to deliver to someone else.”
ENCOURAGING SOMEONE GIVES THEM STRENGTH
Internally I confirmed that statement thinking, encouraging someone is delivering strength to that person, but that strength has to have a source; the strength of the encourage comes through self-encouragement. I asked, “If you don’t have strength, how can you get strength”?
As a “Kingdom Woman”, Nikki used the opportunity to cite the passage of scripture that speaks of King David encouraging himself. She recited a mantra that she shares with the girls her organization works with that is used as a form of self-encouragement: ‘I am born to win, I am born to reign in life, I am no ordinary person, I am destined for greatness.’ “Everything has a purpose”, she said. Identifying herself as an ’empowerer’, Nikki goes on to say that even if she is at her lowest moment, “in the dirt” as she so rawly describes it, she is still able to encourage others who are having successful moments because she knows who she is.
“Once I understand who I am I can encourage anybody. ” – Nikki Phoenix
Receiving encouragement on the other hand, she says, requires being humble. It requires a lack of ego. “No man is an island.” Bringing it back to the very reason why we met on this hot July day, the lack of women encouraging other women, Phoenix cited her observation. She notes, often times women don’t encourage each other because of their lack of confidence in themselves and security in who they are. Hence, they find it difficult to encourage other women and easily criticize. She eloquently adds:
“As a woman I think for me to encourage another woman, I’m encouraging myself.”
I took this opportunity to engage Phoenix in a discussion about how encouraging others helps you fulfill your destiny. She says, “The path you take is not a single path… there will be someone there to encourage you… If you fail to extend the favor, how do you expect it to return to you?” She says often times we do not make good use of our support systems. The sentiment I took from Nikki’s statement is we need the encouragement from one another to achieve our goals much more than we know.
I couldn’t end this discussion without linking our conversation to Nikki’s organization, Women of Esteem, and how it supports the cause of encouraging other women. “Women of Esteem is about encouraging,” she says, ” because we deal with women and girls and we focus on issues that would beak their self esteem, that belittles them, that have them thinking less of themselves. These individuals definitely need encouragement, but not encouragement in a pitiful state, but it is encouragement in an empowering state. ” Women of Esteem’s motto: Embrace, Educate, Empower.
YOUR SUCCESS IS MY SUCCESS
My chat with Nikki Phoenix was Empowering, Engaging and most of all ENCOURAGING.
I leave you, the reader, with this sentiment, especially if you are a woman, we are not each other’s enemies. We must condition ourselves out of thinking that another women’s success is our demise. Your success is my success and my success is yours. As we all achieve our goals and strive towards our destinies we lay a stronger foundation for all women to make a bigger impact in the world. Even greater, we lay a foundation for the girls of the world, our next generation of women.