Create a Mutual Admiration Society (MAS) with a group of friends. This should be a network of women—or even just one or two women—who you can reach out to when you are celebrating, when you need a pep talk, or when you need an outside perspective.
These are friends who can give you an unbiased, clear, and honest response to your concerns and help you check your behavior and your progress—and for whom you can do the same. You have to allow each other to be truthful, even if what one of you has to say will be difficult for the other to hear. You don't want to be mean to each other—this is the admiration and support club, and there’s no place for toxic femininity—but you do want to be able to be honest so that you can each help each other become stronger and better.
The folks in your Mutual Admiration Society should be people you can trust to encourage you, call you out on your shit, and help you call out others on their shit. The people in your MAS need to be able to do the following:
- Listen to you vent so you can work through your frustration before you talk to the person you’re having an issue with
- Reflect back to you what they hear you saying in order to see if you’re communicating clearly
- Give you a compassionate critique of your behaviors or responses to tough situations
If you say, "Okay so here's the situation...was I being rude?" you know your MAS will respond honestly. They may tell you you were really inappropriate and you totally mishandled that situation and then help you figure out how to make amends or solve the problem. Or they may say, "No. You were amazing, and you said exactly what you needed to. Good job." Either way, you know they’re speaking honestly and with your best interests at heart. They set you straight when you need it, and they give you support and positive reinforcement when you need that.
They can also be helpful allies when you’re combating your Inner Doomsday Machine. Do you feel that negative self-talk or discomfort creeping in? Reach out to your MAS to help you drown out that voice.
You may not currently have a Mutual Admiration Society, and that's okay. Ditch the Bitch Stigma: Embrace Your Inner Badass will help you identify ways to build your network and strengthen your relationships.
Want to reach out to friends but don’t know what to say? Get a cheat sheet with a handful of messages you can use at BitchStigma.com/library