By Aimee Therese

2018 was a tough and beautiful year for me. It brought painful life changes, valuable realizations and exciting new beginnings. Much of this was due to the support, insight, love and encouragement of the bad*ss women in my life, who actively built me up and helped me recognize my self-worth. I have experienced firsthand the various ways surrounding yourself with such people can have an empowering impact, and I’m excited to share some of them with my VINA community!

Inspiration through Their Successes 

There’s nothing quite like seeing the women in your life succeed and getting to celebrate those successes with them. In a society still heavily dominated by men, these successes are all the more meaningful and inspiring, because they remind us we are also capable of achieving our dreams. 

Bad*ss women don’t hide their successes; they share them and use them to remind other women not to hold back or be intimidated. They are not threatened by others’ achievements and excitedly share their valuable insight with those willing to listen. 

I’m surrounded by countless renegade women who are actively crushing it professionally and personally. They always own their wins and encourage me to do the same–something that can be difficult in a society where men are often encouraged to boast about their achievements, while women are chided for it. 

Part of what makes these women so inspiring is their tenacity and drive to go beyond dreaming of accomplishments and to actively pursue them. For example, if they tell you they want to learn a new language, they’ll take the necessary steps to do so, motivating you to do the same with your goals. 

They Actively Affirm and Build You Up 

Bad*ss women are quick to recognize when you’re down and all the quicker to remind you how valuable you are and how far you’ve come. They validate your experiences while helping you see the light at the end of the tunnel. They recognize the strength, resilience and potential within you and insist on helping you realize it. 

After experiencing a difficult life change in 2018, I felt embarrassed, defeated, and valueless. During this time, I was living (temporarily) with two of the fiercest women I know. There were numerous nights I’d go home to their apartment feeling overwhelmed and depleted. They would immediately offer me warm hugs, hot tea and listening ears. When I doubted myself or my abilities, they pointed out what I’d already accomplished and helped me realize there was far more strength within me than I was giving myself credit for. Their love, kindness and wisdom helped me move forward and rebuild my confidence.

Judgment-free Spaces for Self-Expression 

Bad*ss women are too busy building each other up and getting sh** done to pass judgment on others. They cultivate healthy spaces for you to express yourself without feeling criticized. Do you love eating ice cream at 3 in the morning? No judgment. You’ve worn the same pair of jeans three days in a row? No judgment. You don’t see what all the fuss is about Meryl Streep? Okay, a little judgment, but they’ll still love you!
In judgment-free spaces like this, no topic is off limits.

While living with the powerful ladies mentioned above, I always felt safe opening up about my fears, insecurities and numerous vulnerable topics. Never once was I shut down or made to feel ashamed for what I shared. They encouraged me to be honest and open and made sure I always felt heard and validated.

They Value Their Time 

A common thread I’ve noticed amongst the bad*ss vinas in my life is how they value their time and care for themselves. They suffer zero fools because they don’t have time to waste on them. They prioritize self-care and eliminate anything/anyone toxic from their lives. Bad*ss women encourage you to follow suit—not wasting energy on empty things or allowing unnecessary negativity into your life. They are aware of their mental, emotional and physical needs and make sure to take care of them. 

One such strong woman in my life is incredible at recognizing when she needs time to rest, relax and refocus. She identifies what she needs and values herself enough to prioritize self-care. Watching her care for herself inspired me to do the same—whether it meant stepping away from an activity for some me time, taking a quick nap to reset, or treating myself to a movie or a substantial portion of chocolate chip ice cream.

Celebrate Wins, Grow from Failures 

Empowered women jump at the opportunity to celebrate your achievements. They’re excited to see you move forward and live your best life. They also come alongside you when you experience failure to share their own stories; They help you see where you can improve and what you can do to be successful in the future. 

All throughout this past year, I’ve had a circle of vinas all around me to celebrate triumphs, big and small. They have cheered for me, affirmed me and made sure I took time to soak each one in. If things didn’t work out how I planned or turned into a complete mess, they offered me valuable insight and encouragement to help get me back on track.

The best thing about bad*ss women? They’re everywhere! All around you are women taking sledgehammers to the glass ceiling and over-the-moon about equipping others to do the same. Empowered women empower women–they build each other up and help each other move forward. And, finally, bad*ss vinas make sure you know you yourself are one bad*ss woman.

Originally published on Vinazine.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.