6 Things to Remember Before You Walk Into *Any* Room
March 11, 2019
Have you ever walked into a room and felt immediately small?
As a black woman, this feeling has happened to me more than once—and sometimes it’s due to the lack of representation in the room, but other times it’s because I forget my own power.
It’s easy to get swept up in the idea that someone else’s job, net-worth, or social status means they are worth more than you.
Research shows that our self-esteem (or what we think and believe about ourselves) varies depending on the situations we enter and who else might be there.
Whether we actively realize it or not, we calculate our worth with unreliable measuring sticks—or things outside of our control—and that self-determined value can actually impact our overall wellbeing, manifesting in stress and other conditions.
Our self-esteem can impact what we feel we’re worth, our confidence, self-image—and ultimately, it can impact whether or not we practice self-compassion towards ourselves.
Because of social media and a cultural emphasis on pop culture, comparing ourselves to others is embedded in how our society functions. How do we break out of that cycle without completely overhauling our life? (I still would love to keep my Instagram, thank you very much!)
One way: Remembering your power.
In every room you walk into, you carry power in a million small—but-mighty ways. Remembering your power can help vanquish that self-doubt you might have entering new spaces or even a new week (👋 Sunday Scaries).
Having a hard time thinking of what they could be? Here are six things you show up with to every room you enter:
1. Your Experiences and Perspective
The triumphs and failures you’ve collected over the years all serve as tools of learning. There’s a lot of power in embracing those experiences, remembering the lessons you’ve learned, and letting them inform any future moves.
Brené Brown once said: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.”
Instead of avoiding your story, explore what it feels like to own it. Your experience shapes your mindset and helps you view the world differently from everyone else—and that’s pretty special.
2. Your Voice
“When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” The writer and activist Audre Lorde said those words, and they serve as a great reminder for the moments when fear creeps in and tries to silence your voice.
Your input is shaped by those experiences and perspectives that you carry—and paired with your voice, they can help you cut through the noise.
3. The Ability to Say 'No'
Saying "no" can be a scary thing, but remembering that a "no" is another way of facilitating trust is a good way to remind yourself that there’s power in your "no."
In whatever rooms you may walk into, you can control the boundaries that you set for yourself. Saying "no" can help you reclaim that.
4. The Ability to Say 'Yes'
In the same way saying "no" enforces boundaries, so does saying "yes." Saying yes—or no—and using your voice to share your perspective is a radical act.
If you ever feel hesitant in doing so, find inspiration in Malala Yousafzai's words: “I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”
Your yes is for you, but it can also open a lot of doors for people to come.
5. The Support of the People Before You
Elaine Welteroth, former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, shared a powerful reminder of what she tells herself when she walks into a room, especially as a "first":
"It is not easy to be the first, to be the only to do something, but here’s what I would say: No matter how isolated you might feel, how alone you might feel, how alone you might actually be, you are not alone. You stand on the shoulders of generations of women who have come before and have suffered and fought for you to have the opportunity that you have. And you enter every room with your ancestors."
The people who came before you lived full lives with sacrifices, triumphs, and struggles that have led to you. Realizing that they paved the way for you in their actions—and that you are paving the way for future generations—can be chiling, but seize the power it affords you and know you truly are never alone because of them.
6. ____ Insert Your Strength Here
Whether it’s your compassion, your creativity, your growth mindset, or your ability to forgive easily—you have a lot of strengths, big or small.
Notice your unique strengths and make it a practice to recall them before you walk into any room.
When you flex those strengths, there’s very little that can stand in your way. 💪
Today's recommended meditation: