It takes more than a fight to be strong.
Stop apologizing and stand strong.
Saturday night in Brooklyn thousands of people made their way to Barclays Center. They found their way to their seats, eager to watch a night of UFC fighting. The second to last fight was between two women — Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Each woman fighting to win the strawweight title — the second time they had competed for the victory.
Minutes before the fight began, I was in Minneapolis. My partner and I spent the weekend in my hometown visiting with friends and family. He suggested a dinner date Saturday in my favorite part of the city to connect with one another. A retreat for the two of us. We drove back to my friends house — our hosts for the weekend — hearts and stomachs full. We walked into the kitchen and our friends rose from the couch to meet us at their kitchen island. The husband paused the TV to create space for conversation. We chatted about nothing and everything the way you can with friends you have known for 20 years.
Her husband, a UFC connoisseur, explained the fight that he had ordered from pay per view. The fight others had gathered to watch live in Brooklyn. As our conversation wound down, we made our way to the couch to tune into the fight.
I was immediately struck at the UFC’s designation of the female fight as a co-main event. Its name (co-main) suggested equal significance between the male and female fights that night. It seemed equally rare for a sport to have male and female fights on the same night with the same audience.
As Rose and Joanna fought in the ring my attention peaked again at the close of the fight. The two women met back in the ring at the close of the fight, awaiting the call of who had won. Rose’s name filled the event center, her right arm thrust into the air confirming her victory. She and Joanna made their way to one another in the center of the ring — hugging and showing respect towards one another. I was proud of the display of the two women supporting one another.
Moments later, the heavyweight belt hanging over Rose’s right shoulder, the commentator gave Rose the floor to speak to her victory.
“I am sorry the fight was not as technical this time.”
Rose Namajunas, two time strawweight champion, started her victory speech with an apology. My heart sank. I wanted to see her stand firm in her win. I wanted to witness a level of achievement bigger than the feminine tendency to apologize for our existence. Rose’s win was not that opportunity. She, like most of us, was probably not aware that she had led with an apology. She, like many of the the women we support at Inside Out, let an opportunity to improve be a greater focus than any success.
What I did Saturday night is something that is available to anyone. I started a dialog with my co-spectators — men and women — about the frequency in which women apologize. That conversation was an opportunity to raise awareness about the patterning women develop. The language we embrace, often without realizing it. The more awareness that exists, the less opportunity there is to dismiss this behavior as harmless or insignificant. When we reach that level of acceptance, the more able we are to change our behavior.
This Chrome extension is an easy tool for raising our own awareness around the frequency with which we undermine ourselves. Stop qualifying your message and start seeing your value.
Many of our best ideas come from the women who attend Inside Out’s events. The Chrome tool is no exception. Join us at our next weekend intensive, June 2 and 3rd, if you want to raise your own awareness and charter your own path to change.