Self-Compassion (and What This Means for Women’s Liberation)

Self-compassion is more than being nice to ourselves, which for women is very good news because we tend to be our own harshest critics. We struggle with perfectionism, always finding the flaws in our bodies, our homes, our work, and our roles as daughters/mothers/wives/etc. We’re too busy caring for everyone else, so the idea of self-care feels like an additional burden if not an outright act against God. And then there’s the societal nonsense that tells us we’re not good enough, smart enough, or ready enough. It’s a miracle to get through the week, let alone feel awesome about ourselves.

But self-compassion is more than a feel-good, happier way to live our lives. It’s absolutely critical to women’s liberation. Imagine a world where women loved themselves. If they thought they were amazing and brilliant and good people. These women would not only live better, they would take more risks, they would be less susceptible to criticism, and they would recover from failure more quickly. They would have what is called a “Self-Compassion Safety Net” that would give them confidence and resilience. And both of these are very important to changing the world.

In this week’s Zoom talk show, I’ll be sharing how to make a Self-Compassion Safety Net for yourself. We’ll start by reviewing the work of Dr. Kristin Neff who has identified three elements to self-compassion. Being kind to ourselves is one of them, but it’s not the only one, and it may help to enter into self-compassion with the other two elements first.

Elements of Self-Compassion

  1. Mindfulness vs. Over-identification – You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to practice mindfulness. Just noticing what we’re thinking and feeling is the first step, and that’s the only one you’ll need for self-compassion. When we’re mindful of our crazy thoughts and big feelings, we can use other tools to gain perspective and take a more balanced approach to our emotions rather than suppressing them or overreacting.
  2. Common Humanity vs. Isolation – You know that feeling when you’re spending time with your girlfriends lamenting your spouses/kids/job and you realize that it’s not just you? That everyone feels this way, too? That’s a basic version of common humanity, which is seeing our personal experiences as part of a much larger human experience. Not only is it fun, especially over a glass (or three) of wine, but it also helps us find patience and forgiveness for our shortcomings.
  3. Self-kindness vs. Self-judgement – Okay, at some point, you’re going to have to learn to be kind to yourself. The simplest way to do this, at least conceptually, is to treat yourself as you would treat a friend. It doesn’t have to be super-elaborate. Just taking a break when you’re tired or feeding your family frozen pizza for dinner works. And if that sounds like crazy-talk to you, I have a simple trick to get you there.

In the Season Finale of my talk show, we’ll walk through a powerful activity to bring self-compassion to a current challenge you’re facing. You’ll learn how to build a Self-Compassion Safety Net and identify one kind action that you can take for yourself.


Let’s go.


The Mentorship Paradox (and What this Means for Women’s Liberation)

Oprah is my mentor. And also Brené Brown. Whenever I am in a funk or facing down a fear, I turn to them to find the clarity and peace that I need most. They can be yours, too. All you need is one of their books, podcasts, or YouTube videos to directly access their wisdom.

I also have a wonderful relationship with my “inner mentor.” This lady is me, just 20 years older. Her kids are grown, she’s in the twilight of her career, and she gives the best advice ever. Stuff like, “Only do what brings you joy and allows you to drop the f-bomb,” which resulted in this Zoom talk show.

These types of mentors are important. They put us back in the driver’s seat of our lives by giving us the time and space to reflect. They help us hear our own voices that have been dismissed, quieted, and silenced over the years. Voices that are barely audible above the din of everyone else’s needs.

Women are taught early not to trust themselves. To question our feelings and seek external validation for everything. Little stuff like what to wear to an event to really big stuff like whether to apply for a new job or leave our spouse. Only we know the answer to these questions, but we ask others to tell us what to do.

So is it any wonder that many of us seek a mentor like a fairytale princess on the hunt for Prince Charming? If we just had a mentor, we would slay all of the dragons between us and our professional dreams. If we just had a mentor, we would know exactly what to do to live happily ever after.

But finding a mentor is tough when senior women are in short supply. For every four men in executive leadership roles, there is only one woman. And she’s busy. Further complicating matters is the backlash to #Metoo that’s left men more hesitant to mentor women.

Plus, others’ lived experiences and identities inevitably inform the advice they give. I’ve been encouraged by well-meaning white mentors to “fly below the radar,” which just isn’t an option for a brown woman whose very presence puts some people on edge. Not to mention the fact that I had to be a fighter jet my whole life, breaking the sound barrier just to make it in the room, so flying below the radar is antithetical to who I am.

In this week’s Zoom talk show, I’ll discuss the gifts and challenges of mentorship, share alternative mentoring models that work, and teach you how to slay your own dragons. You’ll get to meet your “inner mentor,” which is a concept based on the work of one of my other mentors, Tara Mohr.

Ready? Let’s go.


Why We Feel Like Imposters (and What This Means for Women’s Liberation)

Imposter Syndrome is an equal opportunity oppressor, afflicting people of all identities and backgrounds. That said, women are more vulnerable to it, especially those who are high-achievers, which I am assuming you are.

Due to stereotypes and other societal nonsense, our competence and intelligence are routinely questioned and there are higher expectations for our performance. Mistakenly believing that we aren’t good enough, we work hard to compensate for our imagined weaknesses. And the fact that we work so hard only reinforces our feelings of being an imposter because if we were truly talented, everything would be easy.

Image from Feminist Fight Club @saskdraws

This adds up to making Imposter Syndrome a very bad thing, unless we can flip it on its head using one of four strategies:

  1. Celebrate your imposter status – As a woman succeeding in a male-designed world, you are a revolutionary, dismantling the patriarchy from the inside. Like Alexander Hamilton, you deserve a musical all to yourself.
  2. Create community with other imposters – Frauds hide their true identity and never admit their falsehoods, which is why you must do the opposite. Share your fears with other women and you’ll be surprised to find out that they, too, feel the same way.
  3. Apply the 50% Rule to find the real imposters – Women make up 50% of the population, earn more degrees than men, etc. So it follows that if more than 50% of the people in the room are male, then someone doesn’t belong here. And it’s not you.
  4. Remember what got you here will get you there – Short-circuit Imposter Syndrome by focusing on your values and strengths rather than your achievements. Your values and strengths are your true self and less susceptible to Imposter Syndrome.

In this week’s Zoom talk show, we’ll explore the root causes of Imposter Syndrome and triggers that cause it to flare up for women. I’ll discuss in more detail the four strategies and walk you through a Life Map exercise that will get you focused on your values and strengths.

Ready to get started? Grab your journal for the activity and let’s go!


Why We Pursue Perfection (and What This Means for Women’s Liberation)

Beyoncé is the only woman who wakes up flawless. I imagine her rolling out of bed all sparkly in her sequin nightgown, lips still glossy and hair still did, giving herself a confident nod in the mirror before heading downstairs to, I don’t know, workout or something.

I’m not Beyoncé. I’ll never be Beyoncé. But rather than accepting my non-Beyoncé status, I try to be her. To be flawless and perfect.

At the age of 46, I still worry about what I look like. The pandemic pounds I’ve gained eating my feelings for the past 9 months. The wrinkles, bags, and gray hairs that stare back at me on Zoom.

I have a perfect mom/wife/homemaker To Do List that rivals Martha Stewart’s. All the closet-organizing and homeschooling and baking and other nonsense I should be doing while stuck at home. The list goes on and on, and it’s just the latest iteration of my perfection that has pursued me as much as I have pursued it over the years.

Perfection is exhausting. It makes our lives suck. And if we dig deep enough, we see how it is tied directly to gender. I mean, really, have you met many men who worry about being perfect? Me, neither.

Perfection is tricky for women. In some ways, we’re required to be perfect. In a culture that magnifies our mistakes and minimizes our successes, the pressure is to be perfect is everywhere – in our homes, at work, within our relationships.

We learn to use perfection as a form of protection, thinking that if we do everything right, the world will be good and kind. We use it to motivate ourselves, letting it drive us to the point of exhaustion. But in the quiet place of our hearts, we know that perfection is the most imperfect way of living our lives.

In Episode 3 of That’s What She Said? we will discuss perfection and what it means for women’s liberation. I’ll go over the “5 Signs that You Might be a Perfectionist” and we’ll learn how to replace perfection with “good enough.”

Ready to get started? Grab your journal and let’s do this.


Not Your Mom’s White Lady Book Group

I absolutely love book groups, and ones that focus on anti-Black racism are the best. It’s refreshing to hear epiphanies about privilege and earnest commitments to change. That said, if you’ve read White Fragility and fully comprehend Kendi’s “anti-racist” construct, you may be craving something new to add to your bookshelf.

Below is a list of books recommended by some very smart women who showed up for my new talk show last week. I’ve included a short description and encourage you to check them out. You can buy them from a black-owned bookstore (recommended by Oprah no less!) by clicking here.

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don’t have to settle for less. 

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown

How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls “pleasure activism,” a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work.

The Memo: Twenty Years Inside the Deep State Fighting for America First

The Memo is the gut-wrenching story that Trump supporters have waited to hear. From the self-defeating conflicts in the Middle East to the struggle against the “Soft Coup” to remove President Trump from office, Rich Higgins provides a view from the trenches of the ruthless war of deceit and betrayal waged against the Trump Presidency since January 2017.

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown

Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.

How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community

Birdsong shows that what separates us isn’t only the ever-present injustices built around race, class, gender, values, and beliefs, but also our denial of our interdependence and need for belonging. How We Show Up returns us to our inherent connectedness where we find strength, safety, and support in vulnerability and generosity, in asking for help, and in being accountable.

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

In centering Black women’s stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women’s unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism.


In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary society. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship.

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele

The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino

In questioning the phenomenon of “covering,” a term used for the coerced hiding of crucial aspects of one’s self, Yoshino thrusts the reader into a battlefield of shifting gray areas. What emerges is an eloquent, poetic protest against the hidden prejudices embedded in American civil rights legislation. Yoshino reveals that the struggle against oppression lies not solely in fighting an imagined, monolithic state but as much in intimate discourse with the mother, the father and the colleague who constitute that state. 

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world. This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

And just in case you missed these the first time around, here are the books that have been out and about for awhile now:

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

White Fragility brings language to the emotional structures that make true discussions about racial attitudes difficult. With clarity and compassion, DiAngelo allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people.’ In doing so, she moves our national discussions forward.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad and Robin DiAngelo

An indispensable resource for white people who want to challenge white supremacy but don’t know where to begin. Saad moves her readers from their heads into their hearts, and ultimately, into their practice. We won’t end white supremacy through an intellectual understanding alone; we must put that understanding into action.

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Oluo does more than deliver tough, blunt truths about the realities of racism, power and oppression. She also, in bracing fashion, offers a vision of hope; a message that through dialogue and struggle, we can emancipate ourselves from what she calls ‘the nation’s oldest pyramid scheme: white supremacy.’ That is why I don’t think this is merely one of the most important books of the last decade. It is also one of the most optimistic. 

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

A page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young Black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi has done something that’s damn near impossible: write a book about racism that breaks new ground, while being written in a way that’s accessible to the nonacademic. If you’ve ever been interested in how racist ideas spread throughout the United States, this is the book to read.

Why We Compete with Each Other (and What This Means for Women’s Liberation)

From Mean Girls to the Queen Bee Syndrome, women have been socialized to view each other as competitors rather than allies and co-conspirators. We judge, criticize, and – at our worst – undermine each other’s success. This causes havoc within women’s communities and distracts us from the larger issue at hand: Fighting the Patriarchy.

What if we took all of the rage and anguish that we feel about our lives and directed it at the real causes of our discontent? What if we fought the sexist systems and structures that make fighting each other feel inevitable and even necessary?

In Episode 2 of That’s What She Said?, we will explore the concept of “horizontal hostility,” which is when marginalized groups (that’s us, ladies) turn on each other. We’ll talk about identity-based nonsense like anti-Black racism in the women’s movement and what we (who identify as white women) can do to make up for it. Speaking of which, check out my “Not Your Mom’s White Lady Book Group” reading list.

Then we’ll finish up with a fabulous quote about pie (yes, you read that right), spend a few minutes reflecting in our journals, and share our sparkles of inspiration with two women we love.

Ready to get started? Grab your journal, find a quiet spot, and let’s go!


Episode 2: Why We Compete with Each Other (and What This Means for Women’s Liberation)

Join me next week

We’ll be exploring “Why We Pursue Perfection (and What This Means’ for Women’s Liberation).” Join me for the LIVE show next Thursday, 11/19/20, at Noon EST. Can’t make the time? I’ll send you the recording. To register for either option, send me an email by clicking here.

Why Supermodels Marry Old Dudes (and What This Means for Women’s Liberation)

Let me start off by saying I have zero beef with supermodels. In fact, I would personally love to be a supermodel. And I think many women would agree that being freakishly beautiful, rich, and famous sounds like a pretty good gig.

What I do have a curiosity around is why beautiful women – whether they’re supermodels or not – consistently end up marrying old dudes. What’s the allure?

There are a couple of factors at play here, and while we may not be super models, they certainly apply to our non-super model existence. So we’re gonna spend a little time exploring them in my first LIVE blog post.

In this video, I’ll solve the mystery of why supermodels marry old dudes, drop a few accidental swear words, walk you through a powerful activity (you’ll need paper and a pen), and set you up to connect with other women in your life.

Ready? Let’s do this.

Tune In Next Week

For next week’s show, we’ll be talking about why women compete with each other and what this nonsense means for women’s liberation. I’ll also share how white women can step up for racial justice by supporting and advocating for women of color.

If you’d like to attend the live “That’s What She Said?” show next Thursday, 11/12/20, at Noon EST, send me an email by clicking here.