As a women-centered gym, celebrating women by elevating their physical bodies and inner selves is the foundation of who we are. That mission guides everything we do every. single. day. But we’re also here for the global acknowledgment of the power of women during Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (both in March) and the duality of celebrating how far we’ve come while contemplating how far we have left to go.
It’s impossible to boil down the story of women’s empowerment to one thing, but we see it as the ongoing movement to create space for women to be all the things they want to be in the face of systems that have, and still do, force them into spaces they should be. It’s why we fought a lawsuit and backed a state law that maintains our space as a women-centered facility so that women could have a place to hold space for themselves and each other in ways that matter to them.
Even in an environment dedicated to that purpose, taking up and holding space for yourself is not always easy if you’ve never been explicitly or implicitly encouraged to do it. So here are a few ways to get started as we celebrate all the ways women already enrich the world and all the ways they could enrich it further if we support them:
CREATE BOUNDARIES BY SAYING “NO.” Instead of feeling like you “should” say yes. Knowing your limits is a gift to yourself and others because saying “yes” when you want to say “no” can leave you resentful and depleted. And we’re not just talking about saying “no” when you have too much on your plate. Say “no” when you simply don’t want to do it. That’s reason enough.
CREATE SPACE TO DO YOU. That could mean a lot of things. It can mean slaying it at your professional career, throwing yourself into a hobby, singing at the top of your lungs in the car or meditating as soon as you wake up. Make a goal of creating space to connect with your authentic self every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
SAY WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND. We know this is a tough one, but voicing what you think and how you feel reminds yourself and others that your thoughts and emotions matter. If this is something you struggle with, we recommend starting small. You don’t have to do it in front of a room full of colleagues right away. Instead, start by speaking up to friends and family to build your confidence.
SCALE BACK THE SHOULD-ING. When you find yourself thinking about all things you “should” be doing, pause and listen for whose voice is telling you that? Is it your authentic self? Or someone else’s expectations of you? When you find yourself should-ing, redirect your mind to consider what you actually want and need.
EMBRACE LETTING GO. Whether it’s an activity or a person, if it’s not serving you well, consider whether you really need it in your life. Letting go is rarely easy, so remember that you can be sad about it even when it’s for your own good.
DON’T APOLOGIZE. We’re not talking about not apologizing when you’ve wronged someone, but we do mean stop apologizing for setting boundaries, voicing your thoughts, feeling your emotions or going at your own pace. We recommend changing the narrative. For example, if you’re jogging with someone who’s been training longer, don’t apologize for having them wait for you. Thank them for doing it instead.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Another tough one because we’ve been socialized to be competitive to stand out when our merits aren’t always recognized. But there’s simply no point in comparing yourself to anyone else. Teddy Roosevelt said it best: comparison is the thief of joy. Watch how much freer you’ll feel when you shift that energy to your own journey.
Lastly, set aside the notion that creating and holding space for yourself as a woman is selfish when it’s the least selfish thing you can do. When we empower ourselves, we build out the framework to empower others. So here’s to the power of women, not just one month or day out of the year, but always.