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Sorry, Not Sorry: What We Can Learn from Hillary Clinton

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This piece was originally published on the ZGiRLS website on November 21st, 2016.

This is not about politics. This is about being brave.

It doesn’t matter what your political beliefs are, what Hillary Clinton did this election cycle was brave. She endeavored to do what no woman has ever done before: earn a major political party presidential nomination and run for the highest political office in the country. 

Consider the magnitude of that. And not just in the context of history, but in a context closer to home… Think of a goal that you care about. A goal that you’re considering chasing down. 

Would you make your goal globally known, rally millions of people to support you, and submit to having your progress picked apart by critics on a daily basis? And all of this with no guarantee that you’ll succeed in the end. Yikes.

Social scientist Brené Brown says that vulnerability is a willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome. Regardless of your political affiliation, you just witnessed the ultimate demonstration of vulnerability. Hillary put herself out there, she let herself be seen, and she tried to accomplish something that no one has ever done before – with no guarantee that she’d finish on top. Like I said, this is about being brave.

This is not about politics. This is about rising up.

Being brave isn’t easy. After all, every time you put yourself out there, there’s a possibility that you’ll fail. And as we all know, the heartbreak of failure hurts like hell. That’s the thing, when we dare to be brave, we inevitably stumble and fall. Just like Hillary did.

In her concession speech, Hillary explained, “I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks. Sometimes really painful ones…This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

Brené Brown maintains that our willingness to be vulnerable is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. Let me just say: if there’s something our divided nation needs right now, it’s more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. Sure, that all sounds good. But where do we go from here?

Whether you feel triumphant or devastated with the outcome of our presidential election, we all have a choice as to how we respond. Just like any elite athlete after a competition, you pick yourself up, (don’t wallow or gloat), evaluate what’s under your control, and select a course of action that you care about. We summon some bravery. We challenge ourselves to get vulnerable. And we fight for what’s right. As Hillary said: it’ll be worth it.

This is not about politics. This is about empowering girls.

Hillary Clinton apologized for not winning the election. Let me be clear: she should not have apologized. For all of the bravery that Hillary modeled during the election, this is one area where she missed the mark. 

There is no reason to apologize for fighting for your values and vision. There is no reason to apologize for slogging through a contentious battle. There is no reason to apologize for standing your ground through setbacks, insults, illness, and injury. 

There is no reason to apologize for being brave. 

Hillary was right to give girls a shout out: “To all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

And while Hillary may have paved the way for women and girls in some sense, she didn’t define a path. She showed us what it looks like to be female, and to be brave in a man’s world. But there’s so much more to be done.

It’s been a good show, but now more than ever, it’s our turn. Women and girls take heart: it’s time to rise up. Unapologetically.