What Defines a True Woman? – Returning to Be-You-Ty

For many years (actually most of my life) I was lost to myself, trying very hard to live up to a picture (actually a variety of pictures) of what defines a true woman and how it ‘should’ be, without connecting back deep inside me, and listening with care to my body, but instead from a variety of ‘external’ pictures or fixed ways to be defined as a ‘true’ woman.

There was then a time in my life that I got caught up in a way of being as woman that I thought (with the ‘help’ of my head) was ‘natural’.

As a young child I watched my mum who was always crazily busy on this committee and that charity – doing ‘noble deeds’ but running herself so ragged, utterly unable to sit still and intensely self critical in this seeking of perfection. There was a drive and a very fixed idea of what it was to be ‘good’ and ‘nice’ and ‘proper’ – and so, sadly an absence of any tenderness to self and so for others. I actively rejected (and reacted) to this way, as definitely not being ‘it’.

 No role model in sight in Church, Boarding school or the ‘Cream of Society’

I went to Sunday school at the local Anglican Church for a few years when very young, where I was told that women were sinners, dirty temptresses, and that being a ‘good girl’ meant self sacrifice and putting everyone else first. This I scanned and also added to the reject pile – it felt untrue that women were less than men and much much less than God – something I couldn’t make fit with how I felt inside, which was as heavenly as the flowers that swayed in the breeze outside church – an idea once shared with the Sunday School Leader that resulted in my sitting in the ‘naughty chair’ for many weeks on end! I stopped attending Sunday school.

Later I went to boarding school and was exposed to lots of images of women in videos and glamour magazines, which told me that being a woman was to be flawless, underweight and tantalising for men. Makeup seemed only to be worn as a mask – to portray self as desirable and to measure one’s worth based on feedback from men, or in comparison to other women, to see self as ‘better’. It all felt pretty shallow and yucky to me. All the messages were that beauty was measurable and at its best, only skin deep. This contributed to me turning my back on make up, nail polish and other potentially ‘supportive of natural beauty’ items.

In my late teens I stayed with my wealthy grandparents at their country estate in England and had a taste of the life of the ‘privileged few’ – attending balls and being ‘introduced to society’. I met women who ‘had it all’, in that they were wealthy, stereotypically very ‘beautiful’, had very ‘successful’ careers and even made ‘independent names for themselves’. Not one woman in this set, this elite privileged few, at the pinnacle of all that life tells us to aspire to successfully attain happiness as a woman, not one seemed any more content than any other woman I had ever met or observed.

So you probably get the picture… I was looking outwardly and with no small dose of desperation for an example of something to aspire to, something that reflected some real value of what a true woman might look like. Except, everywhere I looked I saw a lot I did not like about the ways of the world.

Eco feminism, ‘natural’ woman but no sign of the true woman yet!

Next stop – university and an honours degree in Women’s Studies. Perhaps academia had ‘the answers’?

Eco-feminism and a ‘back to nature’ approach seemed to have the answers for a while – but that turned out to be another merry-goose chase that actually took me further from nature (which I’ll save for another blog).

In short I tried out a lot of different ways – with the emphasis on tried. At no stage did I consider that the ‘it’, the true woman I was looking for outside me was in fact something within, that never left me, but that I left her, in my external quest. And then with a laughable irony – I sought to block out the pain of having left her (me) and seeking it unsuccessfully on the outside, by numbing out with drugs or toughening up to be as ‘worthy as a man’ (but that’s yet another story).

Thank God for Universal Medicine (UniMed) who reintroduced me to that true me inside that was there all along. When I first attended a Universal Medicine event I was a shell. Not only was I heavily using drugs, I had recently shaved my head and had become super hardened in my body, through working the land (supposedly ‘close to nature’) – in short I was lost!

With the ever loving support of Universal Medicine and Esoteric Women’s Health practitioners, and through attending UniMed presentations I gradually began to come back to my body, and feel that the way I live my life and my relationship with myself as a woman is up to me and the choices I make in each moment. I am not a victim to life, but a participant in it and in fact, I am the captain of my own ship more than I had ever dared feel previously. 

I have gradually made simple but profound changes in my daily life; when I sleep, how and why I exercise, the quality I choose to move and rest and more, all of which support me and my body to live more and more in a quality and ever growing self care – although this is very much a work in progress. I recently realised how far I have come from the hollow numbness and incredible hardening and shielded hurts I began with just seven years ago.

And as I sat to write this I was able to look back on this time and these experiences from the difference in the way I live today. Today, I more and more love being the true woman I am:

  • I take great joy in having a beautifully set up dressing table, with make up, jewellery and perfume that all supports and celebrates the delicateness of my nature and the warmth and beauty that I am as a woman.
  • I have come back to love the feeling of walking as me – unbound by things to live up to or to do to prove myself. Just walking in my own warm flow.
  • I have come to reconnect to the fact that the beauty I have always felt in nature is in me too and I sometimes feel powerfully childlike again – celebrating as I once did as a young girl running through the tall grass or playing amongst the trees – glowing from within – needing nothing more.

It is so understandable I (and I imagine many women) took (so so so) many ‘bum steers’ along the way, seeking outside of me, but with heartfelt appreciation I can say that I am steadily coming back full circle to the knowing that the knowing was always there as a child of what it is to be a true woman:

It is grace, like a spring breeze barely shifting the grass as it passes.

It is flow, like the steady passage of a clear warm stream around obstacles.

It is power, like a mighty oak standing and watching, seeing all, unwavering.

It is the delicateness of a rose in the morning dew.

It is the timeless stillness of the stars in the silent night sky.

This is me – coming steadily home to the woman I am.

With heart-full thanks to Natalie Benhayon, and all the amazing women; true role models that reminded me of me.

by Kate Burns, Bellingen, Australia

572 thoughts on “What Defines a True Woman? – Returning to Be-You-Ty

  1. It is amazing how far we stray from just being ourselves and so supportive to have true role models to shine a light on the way back to reclaiming ourselves.

  2. I had never accepted myself as a woman and it is only through the esoteric women’s health modalities and my own healing that I have come to accept and embrace my beauty as a woman.

  3. As a child I too knew that being busy was not the answer yet I followed the trend but not for very long as illness and disease caught up with me… what a blessing but this is what can happen when we choose to follow pictures, ideals and beliefs that are outside of ourselves and not true to who we truly are.

  4. It is extraordinary how far we can journey from ourselves ironically in search of just that…. how stunning however to be able to make our way back though the gorgeous support of UM when so many are still seeking what lays within yet are seemingly unable to reach it misguided by all the false images and messages that are imposed upon us along the way.

    1. Yes, the support offered by Universal Medicine and Esoteric Women’s health is simply there if we are called to more. There is no imposition, it simply waits, like our essence does, for us to want to know more.

  5. The great beauty is that we may have a few layers over our lives that consists of patterns and or pictures of how we think we should be and yet over time we can peel back these layers and reveal the beauty-full women we are always. All it takes a collection of movements that continue to confirm and appreciate the connection that was there from birth, but may have been hidden by false layers from family, friends and or society from years past of ways that inevitably disconnect us from our true power.

  6. This was delightful to read Kate. I loved your sharing of your knowing of the woman from within that never went away, despite not finding any true role models. There is so much to appreciate about what Universal Medicine has given us; true role models, permission to feel lovely, powerful and delicate again and awareness of the many layers of ideals we have taken on from the church, family, school and the media.

    1. I love the way you sum this up Fiona, it is so true, Universal Medicine has gifted us true role models, permission (and responsibility) to walk letting all our loveliness out, to be seen and to understand the many layers that have come from the outside as we have grown up and lived that tell us to live less. Thank you for this spot on summary – I appreciate beyond measure the gifts of Universal Medicine and the ripples that now stem from such support, with so many gorgeous and developing role models leading the way and showing it is possible to shine in a world that is telling us to do and be anything and everything other than who we are from the inside out.

    2. I agree Fiona, there is so much to appreciate about what Universal Medicine has given and continues to give us, like true role models, permission to feel lovely, powerful, and delicate again, and so much more.

  7. What a profound and honest sharing Kate about the constant seeking for the woman without, only to return home to the innate delicateness within and live the true woman from this quality.

  8. Thank you Kate, it’s a very powerful piece of writing, it’s very reflective of the journeys women make to understand womanhood and to find themselves in the world. Life seems to advertise an array of boxes to be ticked, things to do, ways to look and be, yet like many women I did not consult with my own self. I really appreciate the support and nurturing I have received from both Universal Medicine and Esoteric Women’s Health to return to and live from the true woman within.

  9. A great sharing of a woman in her true essence and exploring that in every way. Thank you Kate this is a great account, that many women can relate to, including myself who spent many years trying to live up to the image of how a woman was meant to look and to now enjoy exploring and deepening my own rhythms and routines that support me as a women everyday.

  10. How different our lives would be if we lived by the first impulse of being as ‘heavenly as the flowers that sway in the breeze’, rather than believing the lies about being less and sinners etc.
    “This I scanned and also added to the reject pile – it felt untrue that women were less than men and much much less than God – something I couldn’t make fit with how I felt inside, which was as heavenly as the flowers that swayed in the breeze outside church”

  11. Stunning article, loved every word, the end was like a sweet song to my ears. Thank you for sharing, it was like being on the journey with you, it is truly awesome you have found your way back to you but I suppose, its a journey that never stops and keeps unfolding every day.

  12. Everything in life appears to be geared to continuing the ‘big fat lie and set up’ of being okay when living in comparison and judgment about ourselves and another.
    So very far from the true quality that is available between women when all the protections are released.

    1. Beautiful Stephanie- gorgeous to feel in and between your words there is another way for women with ourselves and each other.

  13. “No role model in sight in Church, Boarding school or the ‘Cream of Society’. This is why is is so important for us, who feel strongly about this, to lead the way in our own corner of our lives. Our influence is non the less far-reaching.

    1. So true Irena – we are all role models whether we like it or not – time to live all that we are from the inside out and show our sweet girls and everyone it’s possible to be who we are in full, in a world that asks and moulds us to be anything and everything but.

  14. Beautiful Kate, this is like a before and afters kind of blog without the photos, but just from feeling you in this blog, even with all the side stepping from the woman you were born as, you have always been there and it is a delight to see that shine through now without the outer getting in the way.

  15. What a very beautiful blog Kate, thank you for sharing your experiences and your wisdom; it is deeply appreciated.
    Grace, flow, power, delicateness and stillness; I to am steadily coming home to the woman I am.

  16. And hence, we got this rich power (love) inside us, that we know we can only let out and deepen all of this love to be lived.. Hence again, we know we are the torches that can bring the light and love forth – in our simply living ways.. incredible connection we are there to be coming back to by making.

  17. Thank you Kate, oh so true.. It made me stop and feel how far I have come and on which path I have chosen to be on now.. Love is the way, who we are is love, we are women of love.

  18. Yes so true Kate, when we ‘try’ we are not really doing anything. We are attempting something but without any real intention to change, you could almost say it can be half baked attempt. But what you have shared, really expresses how one can truly change and build self care and love into ones life.

  19. Gorgeous blog, in the end it is nature that reflects it all to us, not seeking to unite but to observe brings us the true way to live, the grace and harmony that is being human.

  20. Our reality is a collective choice made by us, and as women we have made the choices to not know who we are. So we react and hold back, taking us further away from the truth of ourselves. What we are reacting towards is actually just the choices we have made but don’t want to take the responsibility of. The simplicity of this all is then just to take responsibility again in what we know to be true, to recognize that we have made it harder for ourselves for the delay we have chosen, but the simplicity is still to just start moving in a way now which we know to be true.

  21. Something to be deeply pondered on, we leave ourselves in the search for who we are. Crazy isnt it. Your story resonates with me and like you I no longer look outward for myself having come to the same delicious truth as you have. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Thanks Meg – true – only by ‘Be’ing – not doing, not measuring up to pictures etc – and just being ‘You’ the true inner connected ‘you’ do we begin to tap the depths of what beauty is and feels like to live – warm – alive and wonderful.

      1. “Warm – alive and wonderful” I think you just invented an amazing new dictionary definition for connection 🙂

  22. It’s a huge process coming to the understanding that as a woman I have given my power away to everything in life outside of me, instead of giving my power to what naturally resides within. Trying to be a version of womanhood based on beliefs, ideals or pictures is very different (and harmful) to connecting to what is already naturally there inside me and emanating my innate qualities.

  23. Kate it seems like there are so many ways women can be fed the ideal image – from early early on and continuing right into our older years – this won’t go away – marketing has done well to pry on the insecure – but if we connect to who we are without being told who we are, then we will find that we don’t need to listen to anything but how we feel and appreciate ourselves as the naturally beautiful, tender women we are.

  24. I agree with you Kate so beautifully expressed. I attended boarding school also only that I was a boy. Being a all boys school it certainly was a special occasion when we had a ‘social’ with girls attending however, the girls were treated as you say Kate. It was all about picking up and how far you could go with a girl in one evening. This same trend carried on after school in the clubs only that alcohol and drugs were involved. Women were viewed as objects. I had to drop and reduce all that I felt to fit in. In fact the only way to do this this way was to get wasted to pick up a girl. It was the norm and still is of society. I actually got to a point where to fit in and have sex with a girl was to be in the state of alcoholic-infused far from the real tender respectful man that I am. I am not a part of that scene no more.

  25. Church is responsible for so many beliefs in this world that cause drama and emotions. Not much love and evolving going on. Same stuff each Sunday. Nothing like The Way of The Livingness that is profound in the realisations that you feel in your body and not a doctrine format of this is who you are and you must follow it. It really is shameful that we as a one so-called-humanity have put up with being separated by religions for hundreds of years. We all are the creation of this mess its time we cleaned it up.

  26. Thank you Kate for a very beautiful blog of coming to the truth of who you are and filling your empty shell with grace, flow , power, delicateness and timeless stillness, qualities of the true woman. My shell too is beginning to fill as i open up to what is deep inside of me.

    1. A beautiful comment Jill, “My shell too is beginning to fill as i open up to what is deep inside of me.” As a society we seem to automatically dismiss ourselves and instead spend most of our time looking outside of ourselves for the answers. This is futile and just prolongs the emptiness. Opening up to what is already inside us is a beautiful process!

    1. Exactly Fiona – and as we seek outside – we actually take steps further and further locking ourself away from the absolute gold that forever awaits within for us to just stop, and turn the key.
      What a set up of immense proportions.

  27. Recently I was talking to two friends, there were talking about different aspects of themselves, things about them which I had never known, it was a lovely conversation between friends and what I felt whilst they were speaking is how deeply powerful each of them were despite being entirely different in expression. All women have this stillness within and when we connect to it, it is indeed ‘like a mighty oak, standing watching and seeing all, unwavering’

  28. I still catch myself looking outside of me for answers to what a women should look like. When I catch myself I bring myself back to the preciousness I feel within me and when I do that I realise all the glamour and appeals of the outside world no longer have their pull.

  29. We come to a point in our life when we allow our natural innate knowing to be taken over by everything outside of ourselves, we then aspire to be like the women we see, they are busy, many of them fulfilling a family role and a work role and we fall for aspiring to be successful, but what is the true cost when we do this? The key is to reconnect back to the inner knowing we have where we know the true beauty of ourselves as women.

  30. Kate thank you for your blog, it made me realise how deeply entrenched we are with old ideals and beliefs of how women should be, and how women have suppressed themselves in order to fit into society. Underneath women have a natural ability to connect to themselves and when they do, no one can miss their innate natural beauty.

  31. We are these beautiful qualities inside out that you refer Kate. It is in the connecting to all our own unique and innate stillness, loveliness and divine purpose that supports our inner fullness and completeness. There is no room to bring the ‘stuff’ in from ideals and beliefs that we need to make up any deficit. There is simply yet powerfully us in our fullness – exactly how the world needs us to be.

  32. Dear Kate, I just loved re-reading your blog….and the five pillars you offer of a woman
    Grace, Flow, Power, Delicateness & Stillness. Your sharing was for me exquisite.

  33. The seeking outside of ourselves to find who we are is an incredibly painful experience. Connecting back to the knowing of our body and the honoring and confirmation of the delicate and exquisite women we already are is deeply healing. Living in this connection with consistency is the key to redeveloping our lives to be who we truly are and let go of everything we took on that we are not. It’s deeply inspiring to see so many women embracing this process.

  34. Be-you-ty
    I love the simplicity of these words. The true beauty is within every man and woman. There is nothing outside that can ask our questions about who we are. The way of the Livingness is the way to returning to who we truly are. An everlasting way where we can jump, celebrate, run through the tall grass or play amongst the trees as you did when you was a young girl Kate. But the best we can feel ourselves and connect with this playfullness and innocence every single day. I’m feeling more joyful, vital and beauty-full than ever. Thank you Universal Medicine to introduce me that another way of life where I can feel and honour me is possible.

  35. You are spot on when you say the woman you were looking for was always on the inside, I often have a thought such as – what is a true woman? What does being a woman mean? But inside my body there is actually a sense and a knowing, and while at times we may be far away from that sense of a true woman – it’s always there.

  36. From a very early age we are presented with having to be ‘something’, to fulfill an image of how we should be and we become lost in an identity rather than being ourselves. It is such an amazing blessing to encounter role models such as the Benhayon family to see that it is possible and to achieve to live life as you express so well Karen, “I am not a victim to life, but a participant in it and in fact, I am the captain of my own ship more than I had ever dared feel previously.”

  37. Yes Shirley-Ann,
    We all have had moments where we have felt the truth, and even expressed it. This for me has been a point of deep appreciation, for the truth of my soul and how no matter that I was choosing to live so far from its truth, it still spoke clearly, and I heard it. The call came from deep within me, it is this that lead me to find Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine. I for many years let myself put myself down, saying that another lead me there, and this too is true, but I would not have been able to lead, unless I had the sense from deep within, that what Serge presents was true.

  38. I am returning to your article tonight Kate and the depth of knowing you always had for what it feels like to live as the woman you are is deeply inspiring and also deeply confirming.

  39. Kate I loved re-reading your blog this morning, it made me realise how much importance I had placed on the outside of myself, and how grateful I am to Universal Medicine for presenting to me that the love we seek has never left us, we just stop connecting to it within, until we reconnect back to the love that we are.

  40. Dear Kate, knowing you now and not knowing you then, I find it hard to imagine you hard, shaved and drugged. You are such a power house of strength, delicateness and love and I am appreciating that you are now choosing to live this. Amazing work lady.

    1. It’s amazing the places we can go from ourselves and still find our way back to who we truly are. Since being introduced to Universal Medicine I’ve seen and met people who you would never link with those hard and disconnected behaviours. It just goes to show that no matter what we do or have chosen we can return to who we truly are, nothing is truly a barrier.

  41. Kate this is a great sharing, I have spent many years looking outside myself for what makes a true woman, magazines, people and pictures all have their own view as to what a woman should look like, say, and be. However I now know that being a true woman has nothing to do with what the world currently claims a woman should be, the answer to discovering the true woman has all along been within myself, all I needed to do was connect to my inner-self to discover the beautiful woman I am.

  42. This is really beautiful Kate, we all know it from when we are born, but everything on the outside tells us different, it is beautiful to have come to Universal Medicine, and be reminded of who we truly are.

  43. Kate there is a grace through which you express yourself in this blog and when this flow is effortless because it is based on stillness and connection, I sense that the hardness and driveness has no place to dominate. So it is with all women. Instead there is space and everything has room to move and adjust to its natural rhythm and to expand with genuine warmth and appreciation. This is something for all women to understand is there for them and that everything else is just a distraction which will ultimately let them down. Thank you for reminding me!

    1. Dear Helen,
      Your comment too holds the grace of you. I love this sentence. ” So it is with all women. Instead there is space and everything has room to move and adjust to its natural rhythm and to expand with genuine warmth and appreciation.” I felt in it the call to deepen my trust in that everything has room to adjust to its natural rhythm. Thank you.

    2. And thank you for reminding me Helen that we as women have all the answers we will ever need if we only allow ourselves to connect to our stillness, “everything else is just a distraction which will ultimately let them (us) down”.

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