Good morning! I hope your summer is going well and that you are enjoying the warm weather and time with family and friends. This post is a pretty long one, so do grab a cup of chai (substitute your favorite brew) and settle down. It was originally intended to be the final post in my series of what the phrase ‘a woman of substance’ means to different people, but I kind of waffled and debated over whether I really want to post it. Anyway, here it is and I hope you will share what you think of it. In the final part of the series, I wanted to write that we can all be a woman of substance- I am not writing that in an awful I-feel-I-am-a-woman-of substance-and maybe-you-can-be one too way. It’s not to draw attention to one person being a woman of substance, but not others. I think we can all agree that we get a chance, and the choice, to be that woman a million (or a hundred, a thousand or at least, 12 or 24) times every day. If we can make that choice- to not make that snide comment, to not ‘put someone in their place‘, to take an extra minute to listen when someone wants to share, to thank someone even if you don’t *really* have to, to appreciate an effort though we have nothing to gain from it- to take the positive choice even half the times we are presented with, then surely the road to being this mythical and legendary ‘woman of substance’ can be started today? I am not an expert and I dont have data, barring my own experiences and those of the people I know and talk to. But this does seem to have a ring of truth, yes? Which brings me to this- we can’t do it alone. We can’t be a paragon of kindness, and a beacon of light and warmth (tongue firmly in cheek here!) without the support of others. Starting with family and your closest friends, if we could keep widening the circle, talking and acknowledging it within our life communities (friends, workplaces etc.) like ripples, the effect of a small act is sure to reach further and further. Having said that, its important to remember that you deserve your kindness too- so it doesn’t mean you let others walk over you or you are always at the giving end of kindness, or that you let someone treat you disrespectfully. Everything starts with you, so please treat yourself with care and kindness.
I wrote this, and then I thought that sure we can all do this, but it’s too broad a sweep over such a nuanced topic. We need more perspective and lacking scientific data points (there might be, I am going to look to see what the research on this says), we need more points of view. So instead of broad, vague strokes, what if I made a list (say, top 5) on how I’d like to be treated by others? Because doesn’t that then tell me how I should behave? And then I can ask some others on how they would like people to treat them… stay tuned for part 2.
Image credits: Studio OUATT