Welcome! I’m Dalisia Coppersmith, founder of Strong Women Rising and Revive Learning & Wellness. My mission in life is to end the quiet war against strong women that still exists today and to help those I describe as assertive, high-achieving women to learn: 1) why people have such a love/hate relationship with us, and 2) how to reduce interpersonal gaps that persist in both our lives and our careers. We need their strengths to move this world forward.
Call it my passion project, my give back, my legacy…to all of these amazing women I see out there in the world still struggling with a timeless, toxic dynamic that stems from thousands of years of patriarchy. (No, I’m not a man hater…just a realist who sees that all genders engage in this.)
If this sounds familiar, you’ve no doubt been relied upon for your strengths and your ability to accomplish the impossible, then criticized for your style. Some of it, perhaps deservedly so—but even those of us who have spent decades learning to soften and adjust for others still hear things like:
“The problem isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it.”
Or how about…
“You intimidate people. Maybe if you soften your approach a bit.”
And my personal favorite…
“If you were just a little less direct…”
I’ve heard these comments all my life—even when I worked hard to soften, be less direct, less blunt, etc. It seemed the more I changed and bent and contorted myself for those around me, the more they expected me to shrink and disappear day after day. The nice people became the silent aggressors.
It didn’t happen all the time, but it happened enough for me to finally notice the pattern!
This led to me giving up my personal power and effectiveness…all just so that OTHERS could feel more confident, more powerful, more—whatever it was they needed—as they quietly worked to take the strong woman down.
What resulted was a mess—a big, unhealthy mess.
And that new dynamic didn’t make anyone happy in the end. It just led to a less effective workplace, home life, and/or friendship, as I diminished my contributions to avoid being “too much.” This curse of the strong woman has followed me everywhere—even when I tried my best to be kinder, gentler, even submissive and silent when I could muster it. After using me for my strengths, it seemed others would do a 180 and sap my strengths for themselves!
That had to stop. I only wish I had figured out what to do about 20 years earlier!
We are wired to fix things, but we all know that the only thing we can fix is ourselves. I realized that I could never become small enough to make others feel big enough. Yet–I also couldn’t expect others to accept my criticism, impatience, or uncaring moments. I had to learn how to be “me” without diminishing others. I know some of you out there have lived exactly what I’m talking about or you’ve seen someone else live it.
I find it fascinating that the Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by the western woman.” I’d say it will be saved by women, period. Assertive, visionary women definitely have our place in that—if we build our self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and wellness.
I don’t know that I’ll ever see an end to the war against strong women, but I DO know that I can help other women navigate it and hang onto their sanity. I CAN help them find their signature voices and set them loose on the world without destroying their relationships, damaging their careers, or themselves.
Coaching one woman at a time is great, but this effort needs an army of women helping each other. It’s just hard to help women who don’t realize they need help…until it’s too late. That’s why I’m stepping out on a limb here to start this movement called “Strong Women Rising.” Not everyone will understand it…but the kind of women I’m talking about here definitely will.
If you are an assertive, high-achieving woman and you’ve experienced the bait and switch of “Save us! / We hate you!” …in spite of your best efforts to avoid that, then please keep reading the blog, invite others, add to the discussions, and join our private Facebook Group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/strongwomenrising.us. You can also follow me on IG @dalisia.coppersmith.
Finally, whether you’re a man or a woman, you can help! Let’s keep it going and bring more women in for community, rest, and mentoring. They are out there—and the world needs their leadership—right now.
Hope to hear from you soon.