Chloé Valdary: Responding to Gender Discrimination with Confidence and Compassion

Chloe Valdary Headshot

TUNE IN TO THE EPISODE:

I have had 3 corporate jobs and in each one of those positions, I encountered direct and indirect gender discrimination. Sometimes, it was cruel and hurtful and sometimes, it almost felt like the perpetrator meant no harm and instead, genuinely believed in the rightness of their actions. Worse, there were times when my female colleagues were guilty of dismissing their fellow women and those incidents always hit me the hardest.

We rebranded this podcast to focus on serving women and what better place to begin than learning to respond to dismissal and denigration directed at us because of our gender. 

We begin by understanding what drives discrimination, how women can respond to gender discrimination at work in a way that’s compassionate, intelligent, and doesn’t jeopardise their growth, and the self-work women need to do to develop their confidence and not be held back due to stereotypes that they may have internalised.

About the guest-

After spending a year as a Bartley fellow at the Wall Street Journal, Chloé Valdary developed The Theory of Enchantment, an innovative framework for compassionate antiracism that combines social emotional learning (SEL), character development, and interpersonal growth as tools for leadership development in the boardroom and beyond. 

Theory of Enchantment is based on three fundamentals –

  1. Treat people like human beings, not political abstractions
  2. Criticise to uplift and empower, never to tear down, never to destroy
  3. Root everything you do in love and compassion.

Chloé has trained around the world. Her clients have included high school and college students, government agencies, business teams, + many more. She has also lectured in universities across America, including Harvard and Georgetown. Her work has been covered in Psychology Today Magazine and her writings have appeared in the New York Times and the Wall St Journal.

Shownotes -

0:30 – Introduction

6:30 – What drives discrimination?

8:30 – Why is it hard to be compassionate when faced with prejudice and hatred?

10:33 – In work environments, how to respond to gender discrimination constructively and without repressing your gender identity?

18:50 – How to maintain your individuality and also become part of diverse groups

22:00 – Is it ever okay to repress elements of our gender and/or race

28:35 – What there is a disparity in confidence of white women and women of colour and what can we do to bridge that gap

33:47 – How do we protect our performance from being impacted by our race and gender

37:30 – Quitting your job when faced with discrimination vs fighting it out

44:20 – How Theory of Enchantment can help – 44:20

47:23 – How anger and hatred can be useful – 

48:43 – How women can support each other –

51:00 – Where does Chloé find inspiration when she is all out of confidence

Resources + Guest Info

Krati : Alright, let me start by once again, thanking you for being here because I’m just so thrilled. I already shared with you how much I’ve been loving your interviews, hearing you talk about this very crucial subject and just being so in command of yourself, it is always so great to see a woman just own a room. It’s awesome. I love it.

Chloé Valdary  06:13

For sure.

Krati Mehra  06:16

Thank you so much for all of that for all the work that you’ve created. I know what led you to creating theory of enchantment. But I still I want to know what according to you drives discrimination, because I have to believe that there’s more than it’s more than prejudice more than ignorance. It can’t just be all about hating a particular race. That seems too simplistic.

Chloé Valdary  06:40

Yeah, I mean, I think that hatred comes from self hatred, ultimately, I mean, I think that a lot of prejudice and racism, in particular, comes from a failure on the part of an individual to be in right relationship with all of their own complexity. And what a person casts off a certain elements of themselves that they do not like. What often happens psychologically, and subconsciously is then we project that thing that we don’t like about ourselves onto another person or onto another group of people, which manifests in racism and other forms of bigotry. And so I think that that is the root of where a lot of hatred stems from. And it can be very difficult to come to terms with that if you’re on the receiving end of the hatred, because it can be very tempting to see the hater as it were as a kind of monster, as a kind of other, a separate from you without recognizing that you too are capable of hatred, right. So it’s a it can be a never ending cycle if you go down that road. But I think ultimately, it comes from a failure to assimilate all of the complexity of oneself. And instead taking an element of yourself that you don’t like or that you just fail to take responsibility for, and projecting it onto another person or another group of people.

Krati Mehra  08:18

Yeah, I think this is one of the reasons why I feel like theory of enchantment is such a gift because that is so difficult to do and hatred, it sort of feeds on itself. And when it’s hard, I have to say, because I always try to take that stance when I see the people coming, you know, treating me badly as someone who is probably in pain. But I have to say it is not easy to do that, despite I have a background in psychology, but even I find it. It’s hard to remember that in the moment when you need to remember it the most I think,

Chloé Valdary  08:50

what would you say is hard about that? Because I also think it’s hard. I’m curious to hear your like wheel perspective.

Krati Mehra  08:58

I think you get triggered in those moments. And one thing that I do is I walk away like I don’t say anything at all, I don’t say anything kind, but I try not to say anything unkind either. So I just walk away, because I think you’ll get triggered. There’s so much that it’s not just about that moment. Because if it were just about that moment, you would be probably be blindsided, you would be shocked you would be stumped, you would be confused for a response. But it’s not. It’s like there is a piece of us that almost expect to be treated in certain ways in certain situations. And then we already have a response ready to go and it just it’s not the right one.

Chloé Valdary  09:36

Yeah, there’s this idea in nonviolent communication, which was written a book written by Marshall Rosenberg, incredible book highly recommend. But it says that that’s like an actually viable, legitimate thing to do if you don’t have empathy for the person. If you don’t have enough empathy for the person who’s you know, being monstrous towards you, then it’s totally appropriate for you to walk away and remove yourself from a situation, you know until you can restore or replenish the amount of empathy that you have. So because you had to take care of yourself as well, and that’s really important.

Krati Mehra  10:14

Yeah, that makes sense. If you don’t have anything going to say, Just don’t say anything at all. No. But I think this is why I have you here because this is what I want to understand. We do provoke, especially when we are in a business setting where in our career is at stake or our reputation is at stake or just our sort of our our growth is at stake. You know what, something that we’ve been working towards our whole lives. When that happens, I think when that happens at workplaces, towards women, and they’re discriminated for being women in this, sometimes it’s very subtle. Sometimes it’s something that you can actually point to and say that this is wrong, this is being done to me, but most of the time, it is very subtle, like women are treated as highly emotional, highly volatile beings, or they are treated as fragile or something like that. How do we respond to that in a considering it’s a workplace? How do we respond to that? And how do we respond to that in a way where we are not self distorting into these uncomfortable, unrecognizable shapes or hurting ourselves?

Chloé Valdary  11:19

Well, it’s a hard question without knowing like a specific example or a specific situation. But I would say in general, the same, the same rule applies in nonviolent communication. When you are not having a need that is met, you are taught to state the feeling that has emerged. So for example, if you’re being let’s say, that’s this, I’m just pulling this off top my head, let’s say that like in the environment, they want people to like, build camaraderie, and like team up and go to all these group events, and then thinking in a free COVID mindset. But you’ve been sort of really stress, you’ve been working really hard on a project for the past few weeks, and you really need some alone time. And nonviolent communication teaches you how to, like, express the need, that you’re feeling. So let’s say you’re feeling frustrated, I’m feeling frustrated, because I have this need to be replenished, right, I’ve been really stressed out from work. From this project that I’m working on, I need to sort of restore my sensibility restore my health. And so I can’t go to this event now because I need to work on that for myself. And so I liked this technique, because it teaches you how to express the needs, how to express the feelings that you’re feeling, because those needs have not been met. And then it also teaches you how to ask, like, given that I have just expressed this, can you give me space, for example, would be a specific ask in this particular situation. And obviously, the ask would differ based upon the situation in the context. But just training ourselves to be able to state the feelings that we feel as they emerge, state the needs behind those feelings, and then ask to have those needs met in a very like, direct and compassionate manner. And you can also do that when you’re experiencing prejudice. And you’re experiencing, you know, someone who’s, let’s say, being dismissive towards you, because you’re a woman you can express. And this is hard, you can express, you know, when you said this, when you said X, Y, and Z, I felt really small and unseen in that moment. And the meat behind that is like I have a need to feel seen and connected and affirmed. And I’m wondering, given that I’ve shared this with you, if you can, you know, commit to not saying these things about women or you know, again, I’m making this up. But this is hard, because it requires you to be vulnerable. And it requires you to accept a value system, which I think has actually been very devalued in let’s say patriarchal culture, which is the capacity to express feelings. And the capacity to relate to people like this is not something that’s very highly valued in the culture. But I think there’s a way we can train ourselves, especially as women to be able to lean into that and to practice that on a regular basis.

Krati Mehra  14:34

Yeah, this is something I often teach my clients that I call it in my coaching, I call it stepping off that ledge. So all of that heat, all of that anger, all of that resentment, taking it out of your body and putting it out in the open. Let everyone look at it. It’s no longer your secret that you nursing it. It’s just when you do that it’s lost its power over you now you’re running the show. So yeah, Yeah, as you said, it’s not that especially when I think when these situations come up at a workplace, we tend to feel very flustered, cornered, ambushed almost. And to make use of all the more vulnerable during this adding to that vulnerability, I think, yeah, it is hard to take on. But let me ask you, because this is something that makes me curious all the time. Do you ever ignore it? Like at a workplace, there is an NGO day you get to go home? Do you ever ignore it?

Chloé Valdary  15:28

Ignore is a very interesting word.

Krati Mehra  15:31

Okay. So let me give you an example here. Yeah. This is an example that often like I see this happening all the time crude, sexist jokes. Women laugh at them, because that’s expected it makes you more sporty. It makes you one of the guys, but more often than not, they’re not okay, you shouldn’t, they are basically condoning those stereotypes. Those jokes are always built on the back of a stereotype that is actually very harmful to our gender.

Chloé Valdary  15:59

Yeah, this is a challenging question for me, because on the one hand, I do think that there are, I’m a, I’m hugely into Carl Jung. And so I think that there are like archetypes that like influence our world. And of course, one of the archetypes is the jester the jokester. And I understand that I do think there was a place for jokes and joking and things of that nature. On the other hand, oftentimes, when a man is making a crude, sexist joke, what’s happening, psychologically, is he has not made peace with the feminine that is within him. And so and so he’s projecting that out on to the women in the room because of that. And so there is a way to I wouldn’t necessarily say ignore, but it depends, like, if I’m, it could be that I’m totally not personally bothered by like, it doesn’t affect me, because I’m recognizing that that’s actually the dynamic that’s happening and has nothing to do with me. Right? But maybe, because I want to enter into that spirit of relationship as a value system. Maybe I do, pull him aside and talk to him and have a conversation with him. But also, if it doesn’t personally affect me, then maybe I don’t, it really depends, like if it’s a repeated pattern of behavior with this specific person. And also, like, if there are other women who, clearly it’s bothering them, but they may not feel comfortable saying something, I would hope that I would be be strong enough, but also relational enough to be able to call to go to him and talk to him. But if it’s an isolated experience, I’m not necessarily going to be affected by it. And then that case, again, I don’t think I’m ignoring it, per se, but it’s just I know that it’s actually ultimately not about me, but I know that it’s actually about him and his issues. So it’s tricky. It really depends.

Krati Mehra  18:01

Yeah, but that that was a point of view that I hadn’t appreciated, before you pointed out to me that it makes a lot of sense. So you don’t have to take on the responsibility of changing the person. But when it comes to the system, and the larger player, then perhaps you do what you can in the most compassionate, peaceful manner possible. Is it okay?

Chloé Valdary  18:22

Yeah, especially if he’s creating an environment where like other people are not, are not able to show up in their best selves, you know, with their best selves, because there’s this myth, there’s this lack of trust now, right? There’s this fear. And you can do your job in an environment where there’s a lack of trust and where there’s fear, it’s just not possible. It’s not a creative environment. So then maybe I would say something.

Krati Mehra  18:47

becoming part of larger groups like being at work and becoming part of bigger teams, how do we become like an integral part of it not stand out in a way where we are not given equal responsibilities, equal privileges, without losing a distinct identities? How do we do that, like we assert our personality, but we also allow ourselves to be a part of the group and not have those to conflict with each other? Does that make sense?

Chloé Valdary  19:16

Are you asking basically like, like, how do you become both an individual and part of a group?

Krati Mehra  19:23

Yes, as it relates to our gender, race, and beyond, of course, we all have quirks personality quirks. So, considering all this is I think a lot of people find that challenging because we are invited to you know, be authentic, as authentic as possible. But for some of us, our authenticity becomes a challenge to everyone else. Then how do we,

Chloé Valdary  19:46

I mean, I can tell you from personal experience, I’m a bit of an introvert. So I prefer to be untethered, I prefer to be alone. Instead, I get energized by being alone. It said my energy eventually deplete eats when I am around people for too long. So from the perspective of an introvert, which may be different for extroverts, so just bear that in mind. But from the perspective of an introvert, like I have a have a daily meditation practice, which really helps me to practice being in right relationship with all of my complexity, so that I can then go out into the world and see complexity and others not as a threat, but as a source of curiosity and wonder and all of those things. So the short answer to your question is actually, I think, I think it does require some kind of like ritualistic approach to life, in order to be able to, first of all have the confidence to assert yourself in situations, but also have the relational t so that you can sort of fold into the group and be with the group and be in that group dynamic and to and to move back and forth between the individual and the group. And to realize that one is just kind of an extension of the other, I have found personally in my life that requires, like having rituals, and practices like meditation, like deep study of like, you know, study a lot of psychological and spiritual texts, and practicing in the real world. I don’t know of any other way to get there like I don’t, I don’t think you can, like, just read, like be given a set of propositional statements or commandments, so to speak, and just like magically be able to exist in a space where you’re able to do that. I think it actually takes ritualistic practice. I haven’t found any other way that works.

Krati Mehra  21:49

Yeah, makes sense. Who, where our gender and race is concerned? Do you think it’s okay to hold back pieces of ourselves? Like, for example? No, never?

Chloé Valdary  21:59

Well, for continue to continue the question I’m sorry.

Krati Mehra  22:02

Okay. Like, I would, I would sometimes try to initiate conversation with my, with friends who are of a different race, I would be curious to learn about them. And sometimes I would get the response that, look, if I wanted to talk about this, I’ll talk about it with friends who are of the same race. I don’t want to talk about this with you, why don’t we talk about something else? I don’t know if I was approaching it the wrong way or not. But sometimes I really wonder if people there if they’re suppressing it, or if they’re just choosing to hold back that piece, and they just don’t need to feel the need to express it. But then I start thinking about whether it’s, it’s hurting them whether it is subconsciously causing sort of a lack of expression that is in the long run hurtful. So in that sense,

Chloé Valdary  22:48

in this situation, are the people you’re describing your friends? Like, would you say that you’re close to them? 

Krati Mehra  22:53

Yes, yes. Well,

Chloé Valdary  22:56

okay. So I don’t know, I don’t know these people, I have no idea. In their lives, you know, people are comfortable speaking about certain things, and uncomfortable speaking about not thinking about certain things. I think that’s normal, I think that’s human. I don’t know, if they’re suppressing something, or just more comfortable in different community talking about it. And maybe that’s just where they are now. Right. Like, maybe they will, over time become comfortable. And also keep in mind that like, I don’t know, if you’ve tried this, maybe you have, but like, people are more willing to be vulnerable when, when you show vulnerability. So I think maybe you if you if ever you go into that situation, sharing something about your background, and like, some challenging thing that that happens within the context that’s specific to you, that might give other people the confidence to do the same. I don’t know. Like, I would just you can’t you can’t force people to share what they’re not comfortable sharing. I wouldn’t necessarily assume that they’re suppressing anything. Okay. Okay. You know, because I don’t I have no idea. There’s no way I can know, you know,

Krati Mehra  24:08

okay, this was I guess, a weird question.

Chloé Valdary  24:12

I mean, I don’t know if you have a specific example, but like,

Krati Mehra  24:15

no, okay. But I would refer back my listeners to that first response that you gave that very clear, emphatic no, you do not deliberately repress pieces of yourself. Your be your gender.

Chloé Valdary  24:30

Yes. I mean, what do you mean by repress, like, I don’t think

Krati Mehra  24:34

that okay, let me put it this way. I have bungled that question badly. So I read the whole thing. Pieces of yourself for the comfort of others. Does that help

Chloé Valdary  24:43

with holding pieces of yourself? No. No, I don’t think so. There’s a there’s a statement that says there’s a quote, I don’t know who said it that says like every act of releasing a withhold is an act of love. Right? That’s not the same thing as I just don’t feel talking So that’s not the same thing as like, I just don’t feel like talking about the subject. Right? That’s not necessarily the same thing. Right? Okay. It could be there could be an overlap, but it’s not necessarily the same thing. So withhold is like, you did something to me a few days ago. And I was like, really angry about it. But I didn’t tell you because I was worried that if I told you that it would like, you know, crumble our friendship, but that’s an act of withholding. So I need to tell you how I feel like that. That’s what is really, you know, just one perspective. Yeah. But like, I don’t think a person has to share every aspect of their identity. And also, there is a value in keeping things to yourself, keeping some of the things to yourself being, especially in a, not to say it’s the same, but like, in our world, which is highly influenced by social media, and where everything has to be like, expressed and broadcasted 24/7. You know, there is value in not doing that. So, I don’t know if that answers your question. It’s probably not a satisfying answer. But that’s all I have. for that.

Krati Mehra  26:09

That makes sense. That does help. That is one, I think that is a perspective to be appreciated. Because I’ve, I sometimes think I’m someone who believes in what you see is what you get no mind games, I will put it out there, whether you like it, or if you don’t like it walk away. If you like it, let’s you know, take our friendship further, or whatever relationship we’re having. But I think there is also a certain maturity to you recognizing that this person is not ready for x y conversation for x five bits of me for x y pieces of my identity and then letting it be, but only if it isn’t hurting. Any of the parties involved are hurting a greater cause.

Chloé Valdary  26:50

Yeah, I mean, there’s first of all, there’s no way I would be able to know if it’s hurting that person. Unless I asked and then Yeah, it sounds like they wouldn’t be willing to share that information anyway with me because it so but there’s no way to know, so I can’t assume, right? That could be so many things going on, that are just totally ignorant of which I am. Right. So I’m not gonna try to guess. And the other thing that we have to watch out, especially within psychology, is this, is this need an impulse to fix everything? Right? Which is, which can be problematic. And often, I don’t know if I would say it’s disproportionately a thing that I think we as women experience. But if I were to guess, I would say it is, like, this impulse to fix everything I know, it’s definitely within me. Yeah. From and here’s the problem with that, too, want to fix everything is a kind of, it’s a it’s a manifestation of meaning to control outcomes. And meaning to control the outcome is the exact opposite of relationship. Relationship is about being with what is giving and receiving. Right is a very subtle distinction between the two. And so we have to make sure we have to like, watch out for that sneaky little impulse within ourselves, which I have to fix things, because it will hinder our capacity to be in relationship and allow things to emerge naturally. So that’s another thing to watch out for.

Krati Mehra  28:38

Yeah, beautifully, beautifully done. That was a lot of learning in there. You took my model question, and you didn’t let it completely derail the conversation. Thank you for sharing that. Now, for the like, the difficult this is a challenging question for me, because, but I feel the need to ask it. So now, like for the last few years, I have been interacting with people from all over the world, especially women, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with women. And I notice now this is just this is my experience of this matter. So it isn’t exactly a fair sample size, right. So but I have found that women of color are a lot more timid in their approach, especially when it comes to challenging topics. They second guess themselves, they would check and recheck their work, they would check and recheck their stance in life, even white women, especially American white women, that I’ve spoken to just have this confidence about saying things that no, I don’t know how to put it. Not the most diplomatic person but they say things that are provocative, that are controversial that probably shouldn’t have been said, but that’s their truth. So they say that they tend to declare it with a lot of confidence and it is admirable. Don’t get me wrong, I admire it. But there is almost a very clear distinction between how white women do it and how Men of Color, do it. And then I wonder if we are doing a disservice to ourselves and how we show up, we want equal treatment we want to be. And that’s fair, that is a fair demand. We want all of these growth. And all of these are opportunities in big, big bigger brands with bigger names. But how we’re approaching it, perhaps there is work self work to be done before we enter those arenas. Your

Chloé Valdary  30:25

Yeah, I mean, I don’t know about the dichotomy between the way white women speak in the workplace environment versus women of color. But I will say that, it sounds like the context that you’ve laid out here is like, we are in pursuit of status, right, we are in pursuit of climbing the corporate ladder. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, right. But I would challenge us all, as women, regardless of skin color, I would challenge us to take some time to develop the self. And that takes, you know, that’s not to the that that’s not exclusive, that’s a mutually exclusive, you know, you can still develop yourself while climbing the corporate ladder. And in fact, one will influence the other. But I would challenge us to do that, because we don’t want to get caught in this obsession with power, power being the power is important, let me be very clear, power is extremely important. I was just having a conversation with a friend about this. Power is very, very important, but on a hierarchy of values. So you have a value system, I would caution you if power is the number one value. Right? Awesome. I would caution that because that will be a very unsatisfying life for you, if power is on the, the highest rung of the ladder of values that you have, because you will never be able to be satisfied. Right, there will always be more power that you could get. And I would also encourage, in lieu of that, to have another value system that is higher than power, you know that for me, I believe that that value should be love. But it’s up to every every person to figure out what that value for themselves is. But for me, it’s love. And so if my highest value is love, how do I exist in the world? How do I how can I develop myself in the world such that I am radiating love, everywhere I go. And at all times, whether it’s in the corporate environment, whether it’s in the family environment, whether I’m walking on the street, you know, like that is going to be my compass. And that will determine what I do. And what I say and when, when very uncomfortable contexts and situations arise, and but you have to have a value system basically is what I am. And that value system will determine, you know, how you speak up when you’re not being treated properly? Or, you know, how to fold into the group as per your earlier question, how to be assertive, how’s it be relational? That value system is actually what’s going to help determine those behaviors and those moments.

Krati Mehra  33:38

Okay, and if we were to step away from, like, from the corporate world set this question, in a more general with this question, a more general setting in life, like I have read studies where I’m just putting your gender impact your performance, mentioning your race, how you talk

Chloé Valdary  33:57

to you. When you say it impacts your performance, what do you mean?

Krati Mehra  34:01

Like for example, I sorry, I read about the studies that mentioned that on a mathematics exam, because there is this general idea that women girls don’t do as well on maths as compared to do better at maths. So the moment they would be asked to put down their gender and they would mention female, it would hit their performance, it would obviously.

Chloé Valdary  34:20

Yeah, I think this goes back to the development of the self, being aware, you know, learning those unconscious, it’s all about unconscious bias, but we don’t talk about the unconscious biases that a person has against themselves, but we don’t compensate there. Right. So if you have a perception of yourself that as a woman, I’m not that good at math, then it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Right? And so if that so then your task your responsibility is to learn what those unconscious biases you know that you Have against yourself. And first of all ask what’s that about? You know, what, where did? Where did these ideas come from? And if you want to consciously choose to unlearn them through. So, you know, I was never a math person. I don’t know if I thought that was because I was a woman. I’m not actually. Sure. It’s good, interesting question. But I was never a math person. But I, I downloaded this app called Elevate, which is a really cool app. And it gives you like, different gives you daily practices in math and reading and all those things. I was always more of like a reading person in the math person. But I have noticed that my math skills have improved ever since I started using this app. Yeah. So but I think it’s incumbent upon each individual to excavate the self as it were, and and learn what’s going on in there. So you can be conscious, deliberate and intentional about unlearning what you want to unlearn?

Krati Mehra  35:58

Yeah, because I think the things that we hear on the television, or the radio, we hear our parents discussing, probably the other room, they all sort of seep into our subconscious. And they they show up in these ways that we even don’t recognize, and they’re so unaware of it, somebody else probably points them out, which is just tragic, I think.

Chloé Valdary  36:22

Yeah, I mean, in the theory of enchantment, online course, we have a lot of like different lessons on parental baggage. And so you can be start to become conscious of like wear messages that you’ve internalized about yourself, like where they actually came from. And so again, it’s all about making the unconscious conscious, so that you can actively take steps to intention, all of this is in service of being in right relationship with yourself, right, the fullness of yourself. So yeah, parental baggage is a big one that affects, like how we see ourselves and the messages that we tell ourselves, because oftentimes, the voices inside inside our heads are actually like the voices of our parents that we don’t realize, in

Krati Mehra  37:03

turn a lot. Yeah. And I think I would highly recommend that. Because I also believe that a lot of people then choose the defense, when they divorce from their self, and they show up. Again, it goes back to you know, you consciously repressing pieces of yourself, because that is how that is the only way that occurs to you that you can show up in full confidence,

Chloé Valdary  37:25

which is, yeah, it’s a defensive mechanism. Yes,

Krati Mehra  37:29

this was this was helpful. Thank you. Okay, now, going back to the corporate setting, a lot of women feel challenged to, I think they feel pushed to quit their corporate jobs and go out on their own when they face discrimination, especially when it’s racial discrimination, gender discrimination, discrimination of that nature. In those settings, what do you think is the better choice to make stay within the system and change the system or like Come out fighting in a way where you Your fight is visible to everyone else, your stand is very, very apparent, like you take a proper stand.

Chloé Valdary  38:06

I really can’t give a one size fits all answer to this, it really depends on the situation. Yeah, like I, it just really depends on the situation, it could be that like, the work environment that you’re in, just doesn’t share your values. And if it doesn’t serve your values, you’re not going to be aligned. So you can try to find another company that does share your values, you could try to start a company that, that transmits those values, there’s fundamentally a difference in values. And you don’t I mean, and you don’t see that changing over time, meaning you’d like communicated to someone about your values and why they’re important to you, and how they’re not being reflected in the workplace culture. And that just sort of falling on deaf ears, then you could choose to stay, you probably will be miserable, because you’re on a line, or you can choose to leave now that’s different from a culture that maybe you go to your boss, and you express these things, and they actually are receptive, right. So it really depends on the situation. But ultimately, if a company’s values are not aligned with your values, I would say, and it’s scary, because you know, you need job security and you need, yes, you know, you need to pay the bills and all these things that are necessary on a day to day basis, but your health and generally feeling of contentment is also important. And I think that needs to be prioritized.

Krati Mehra  39:34

Absolutely, that that does help. Because I think we almost especially when it comes to race, we almost feel obliged to take on the bigger fight. But not everyone has the capacity for that. And a lot of the times we when we don’t have the right resources, we often go about it in a way that is that doesn’t create much change, but creates a lot of conflict. So yeah, your answer does help in that process. Thank you. Okay, so I have another question here on this how theory of enchantment can help build women of color. This is, you know, this is challenging for me. And I want to share that because I have never faced I have, of course faced gender discrimination in subtle little ways at workplaces in school. But I’ve never faced racial discrimination. So to me, it becomes, I became a part of the conversation, when I became aware of the Black Lives Matter. I have joined workshops, and I tried having a conversation about it. But the room gets so heated, when you are a part of that conversation, I was intimidated by the passion that I saw, and then justified very Justified Anger and outrage, I remember being in a workshop that went on for about three hours. And I think I spoke all three sentences. And because I was just in awe of these people who had been through so many challenges, and they didn’t give up, they were still fighting, and they were determined to fight. But as I said, there was so much understandable anger in the room. So I have to ask, and this to me feels like a difficult question, understanding all those emotions. How do women of color approach the discrimination view discrimination in a compassionate light? I know, we have already touched upon that. But if there’s anything else that they can draw on, that can help them engage with that energy without being you know, in an oppositional way. And instead, you know, and not letting their anger lead the way?

Chloé Valdary  41:25

Yeah, I mean, feelings are energies, anger is an energy is a kind of energy. And anger is a, in in the world of nonviolent communication, anger is described as a tragic expression of an unmet need. And so I think that, you know, as women of color, we can do the self work of learning how to be in touch with our emotions, and start to channel our emotions, again, which are energies in ways that are healthy in ways that are productive, creative, sustainable. So when you when you notice, anger arising in you to be able to have the wherewithal to say, first of all, to make that conscious to say, I am angry, I am feeling anger right now to be very like, cognizant of it. And that’s important, because then you’re, you’re bringing it to consciousness so that it is not control, you bring it to consciousness, it’s less likely to control you, you’re able to control it, right. So you express the feeling, I am feeling anger, and then you express the unmet need behind the feeling, there’s always an unmet need behind negative feelings, and to be able to then express that need, and then to go into the requests. And so therefore, this is what I’m, this takes, like, the six years to be able to do because, yeah, it’s a it’s a art, we’re not conditioned to respond in this way. Yeah, without condition to respond to ourselves and this way, let alone to other people in this way. Right. James Baldwin said that I think that the reason why people cling so much to the hatred is because they suspect that once they’re finished dealing with hatred, they’ll have to deal with pain. And people don’t want to deal with that. Right? Again, going back to learn how to be with what is, which is the relational piece and the relational skill. Learn how to be with the feeling, make the feeling conscious, express the unmet need behind the feeling, request something of someone and then listen with empathy, listen to them, in the same way that you listen to yourself, where you’re able to actually discern what they’re feeling, and the unmet need behind that feeling. Right. That’s an act of giving and receiving, right, but you have to be in right relationship with yourself to be able to do that, which requires work, which requires understanding your own shadow, learning your shadow, those parts of your personality that you’re unaware of, right and starting to assimilate it into your being such that you can arrive in a room and talk about oppression, prejudice, with that, with that greater sense of consciousness of what’s actually fueling this prejudice and oppression in the first place. Right. But that takes practice and that takes a lot of work. And it’s a it’s not an overnight solution.

Krati Mehra  44:28

And I believe theory of enchantment can help you do the shadow work, right?

Chloé Valdary  44:33

Yes, we teach a lot of shadow work. We do a lot of shadow boxing, like you know, Dr. King in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. He talks about how because you know, there are a bunch of clergy clergymen who were upset that they were doing non violent protesting and he was like, the people are angry. I am taking their anger, anger and teaching them how to channel it in creative ways. If they do not channel it in creative ways. They will channel it in destructive ways. Right? And I was so blown away to see Dr. King using language of channeling energy, which is very like Zen thing, you know, to do. But he talks about how self purification was one of those pieces of learning how to channel energy essentially. And self purification entails shadowboxing right? Being aware of what triggers your ego, right? The thing that triggers your ego is the thing that makes you feel like you’re superior to other people. Right? If you’re feeling superior to other people about some attribute, some behavior that they’re engaging in, it means that that impulse is present within you. The reason why it triggered your ego is because it’s actually present within you. And you didn’t, you haven’t put yourself in our relationship with it, you cast it off, I think about the term outcast. And in that sense, you cast it out. It’s called self alienation. Right? And then self alienation, you’re, you’re seeing all the things you don’t like about yourself and the other person. Right, which is why it triggered you. Yep. So that this just does, we all have to do self work. And self worth takes a lifetime, it doesn’t stop. But if we want to be able to create what Dr. King called the beloved community, I see no other way to do that.

Krati Mehra  46:29

Yeah, you are in a way carrying on that work. And to me, it’s beautiful to insert something so light, so beautiful into what is essentially so filled with hate. And it is you know, as an isolated concept, it is hard to understand that we can hate fellow human beings who are just like us, but it is happening everywhere all the time. And if you can manage to insert something light and beautiful and give it like a container almost, where when you put it in and what you get out is something so beautiful, even if you’re the only person doing it in a room full of that much negativity, I think it’s something beautiful and that they’re right, there is an incentive to be a part of that movement, like you are doing with theory of enchantment. That is I think it’s beautiful, not easy, as you said, definitely. be hard on yourself. Yeah. Cause we should contribute to

Chloé Valdary  47:29

thank you for saying that I was just gonna say, hatred is very useful, in the sense that it will tell you where your shadow is, right? If you can read if we, if you can reframe hatred is something that like, something to be conscious of, not because it’s like, morally bad to hate, right? But because it actually shows you something about yourself. It’s very useful. And also ultimately, hatred is a numbing, it’s a thing that helps you numb pain. It’s like it’s very similar to alcohol in that way. Right? So it’s, it can be an addiction in that sense. But you don’t, it’s interesting in over the years that I’ve been doing this work, I’ve started to D stigmatize hatred, in the sense that I’ve started to see hatred, not as this kind of mystical monster, but as something that can teach us about ourselves and something which is again, just a numbing solution to deal with pain. And I think if we can understand that we can take the stigma out of it. And then when someone is like, responding to us with hatred, you can see beyond that projection, and actually start to address the issue.

Krati Mehra  48:45

Yeah, amazing. That then theory of enchantment is there to help you do that. This is like such a great note to leave it on. But I do have more questions. We will talk about addressing that we have talked about countering the opposition that we face, negativity and hate that we face. But I also want to talk about how we can support each other especially where women are concerned and support each other. Not in a way where in we were saying let me throw the next punch for you support each other in like, loving, or in a way which makes sense to us as a community.

Chloé Valdary  49:21

How can we support each other? I mean, I think it’s very easy in our social media world to at least, uh, you know, certainly easy for me to like, lose myself in constantly being on social media platforms, and you know, in search of likes and tweets and retweets and all those things, as opposed to like, going out with my friends and being in relationship choosing to actively be in relationship with my friends. And so I think that’s something we can especially as women intentionally commit ourselves to doing you know, instead of You know, you felt that impulse to like, check Instagram. Instead of doing that, call up an old friend and like, reach out to her and see how she’s doing. Or even a contemporary friend, you know. So I just think we have to be very intentional about cultivating relationship because it’s not a value that’s valued in our society, and a deep sense and a deep sense. And that will also give us the opportunity to practice that giving and receiving and being with what is, as opposed to like, controlling outcomes. And this is something that I really have to work on, I noticed that that’s part of my shadows, like the need to control outcomes. Yeah, just being intentional about being in relationship and hearing each other out. And being each other’s support system. I think that that’s, that’s a way in which we can support each other. Beautiful,

Krati Mehra  50:49

because it’s been said on the show before as well. And I feel the need to repeat it here. You don’t want to have to fix things for others, you don’t have to solve their problems. You just have to be there sometimes. Everything. Yeah. This was great. This was so helpful. Now let me ask you the questions that I plan on asking every female guests that we have here because these answers I think are going to help a lot of people. So when you closely when you feel the need to bring your A game, but you feel all out of you know, a lot of energy you feel all are down and out. Where do you find inspiration?

Chloé Valdary  51:25

So I mentioned earlier that I have a morning meditation, I have a regular daily meditation ritual, and it’s very influenced by different wisdom traditions, Taoism being one of them. And in Taoism, there’s this like, it’s not esoteric, but I don’t want to get too much into the weeds here. There’s this idea of understanding what’s called the inexhaustible nothingness of your being. And that’s really beautiful, because it helped free you from getting from getting too caught up in any form, like over identifying with any situation that you’re in. Right? So like, you can be angry for a minute, and then let the anger go, just like waves come and go in the ocean. But as opposed to identify with the anger for like, 20 hours. So now this is not something I’ve mastered for the record. But so if I’m in a situation where, you know, I’m not feeling 100%, and I have to, especially as an introvert, and I have to communicate with people, I’m not, maybe I’m feeling judgmental in my head, right, maybe I’m feeling like others, which obviously means myself. If I can remember to tell myself, this mantra that that we have in the meditation that I do, which is man, I realized the inexhaustible nothingness of my being and befriend myself with loving kindness. If I can remember that, or if we’re just say, remember the being mode. Then I didn’t, like, brings me back into the present moment, as opposed to like me, ruminating over what’s going to happen, what happened in the past? Ah, you know, it’ll bring me back to the present moment, and it’ll help me be more in tune with reality.

Krati Mehra  53:11

My last question to you is your number one advice for a female audience to help them live a happy, healthy and an empowered life?

Chloé Valdary  53:20

Read the book The Way of Woman by Helen Luke. One of the most incredible books I’ve ever read in my entire life taught me so much about relationship and learning to be with what is the way of Woman by Helen Luke? Incredible book.

Krati Mehra  53:38

Okay, this was so helpful. This was so great, anything you want to share with our audience?

Chloé Valdary  53:45

Sure, yeah. Check out theory of enchantment theory of enchantment.com. And you can enroll in our online course to go through some of these practices that we’ve been talking about today. You can also follow us on Instagram, at theory of enchantment, Twitter at enchant theory, and best of luck to all of you on your journeys.

Krati Mehra  54:09

That’s it for today’s episode. So did you love it? Or did you love it? Thank you for joining me today and sharing your time. If you’re eager for more, head on over to on her terms bought.com For shownotes guests information, downloads and more. And if you want to be a part of the conversation, ask questions and share your struggles with other powerful women. Join my intimate community over on Facebook. The link will be in the episode description. Until next week, this has been another episode of On her drums podcast

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Hi! I'm Krati Mehra

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I know what it’s like to fall apart and gradually put your pieces back together to build something better than what you had before and I share all my lessons in this space hoping that you will share my learnings without the struggle.

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