How do we feel about letting people see who we really are? In the morning as we get ourselves ready, does more than make-up get applied as we look in the mirror? Do we place on a mask of one sort or another – ‘having everything sorted’; ‘leave me alone’; ‘watch out, I am fierce’; or ‘I am no good’, for example?
I have very strong support networks and I often share deeply how I feel, but is there deeper I and we can go with sharing how we feel and who we are as women?
I, like many women, have felt overwhelmed by issues that can build up. For example, there are times I have not talked about them with anyone: I attempted to resolve it all myself, and I sought no counsel or support.
I have amazing friends, so why do I not share? Sometimes the issue may bring up a lot for me to deal with, I may feel unsure, lacking in control and daunted by it, meaning I can be reluctant to share how I feel, often resulting in gradually getting myself into a state of fear and anxiousness.
However, I have had experiences where I did choose to share more of myself, to be raw and open. For example, I had an unsettled feeling in my body and it became too much to bear, (which is in fact fantastic as the wisdom of the body is not to be underestimated) however, because I had allowed it to build up, it burst out with tears and fear. A gorgeous woman with deep love and care supported me with sweetness and tenderness and I reconnected with a knowing of what feels true for me.
We have all had those experiences when we a feel a tension and possibly are emotional because we feel we are following a path that does not feel true for us, and so when I shared how I felt, I felt a return to the truth I know within me, of who I am.
A steadiness, stillness, power and clarity was felt and reconnected with immediately.
It was a powerful and healing conversation and one that allowed me to realise that I can be more open to developing relationships with more women. The woman I shared with said that the conversation had also inspired her, because I was willing to be raw and ask for support.
I became more aware that I can share myself and not hold back, and if I commit to this in a responsible manner (so not emotionally dumping on someone else), it has the potential to be deeply enriching and empowering.
There is the possibility of deep healing and connection with ourselves and others when we are willing to be raw and open with another. I felt a deeper appreciation of myself and also the woman I shared with, through being open.
So what holds us back from sharing how we feel?
Being a very capable and responsible woman, often taking the lead, often making sure whatever I am doing gets done, with or without support – it could be I have gotten used to some degree, to going it alone. And as many of us women know, there is a lot of judgment around, particularly from other women, concerning whether a woman has it together or not, if the mask slips, or if she is not coping with all the different expectations she has placed on herself, or which are placed on her.
I support a lot of people in my life and feel a responsibility with that, but what I found is that I can attempt to hold the mask up, to keep the veneer of control on. I did not want to give people cause for concern, but I also did not want them to think I could not handle life. If the masks slip, we potentially lay ourselves open to emotional attacks and judgment, perhaps being considered not up to scratch or lesser as a woman…so there’s always a choice: do we face the world transparent or do we hide behind the mask of control?
What I hadn’t realised about the choice to ‘do it alone’ is that we rely on the thoughts in our heads to sort it out. But what is the quality of these thoughts? Potentially we keep the yuck inside… circulating and brewing, or at least attempt to, by not airing it or bringing out into the light of day and being honest. And is it possible that the more we continue this behaviour, the more we slowly degrade and erode our self-worth, clarity and our knowing of our true way of being? We can be honest with ourselves first and take steps to support ourselves with responsible choices, however there is something precious about being real, honest and non-judgmental with other women that is not utilised in society.
Could it actually be powerful and empowering to be vulnerable and transparent?
I have always felt strongly that any healing, evolving in life that I do, has to come from me, to be embodied by me to be of real foundation and have a lived quality. And although true, could it be that as women we treat ourselves harshly and somewhat twist this, in that we are not as open to relationships with others as we could be, allowing the support offered by them to develop our awareness and healing.
What would it be like to walk through life with nothing to hide and everything to share…knowing that our worth is not based on what we have, do, or the mask we put on for the world to view. Our worth comes from the fact that we are all born equal, beautiful, sensitive, and we forever have this as a truth that is not eroded by time or choices.
When we spend a life looking outside for approval, we neglect our relationship with our inner heart and the sacred woman within. Instead, we hold ourselves up against an imaginary measurement of where we think we should be, which we will never accomplish, because it is hollow in its creation.
Through this encounter: woman to woman, I have sought to develop connections with other women whom I find deeply inspiring and who I feel offer a unique angle on life for me to reflect upon. In fact every one of us has a unique angle that offers another a reflection to learn from and be inspired by.
Humanity is like one big diamond with all of us being made of the same material and essence, and yet having our own shine and angle that makes up the precious whole. True relationships have no distinction concerning blood lines. We are all connected and we can be united by what we share and understand, and be inspired by what is unique. Relationships evolve us: they offer a point of reflection that is precious, illuminating and healing.
I have become aware that if I seek connection with openness, the potential is there for intimacy and the quality of those relationships to develop. It does not need to be a ‘crisis’ situation: it can occur through developing a concept, a volunteer project, or a business. I have learned that it also does not need to be about action. We can develop a ‘way of being’ in relationships that works and flows together, and one that offers true support, intimacy and connection.
I also understand that relationships begin with our relationship with ourselves first. I am learning to hold myself with the love and care I would like from another. So walking through life working on, but being understanding of, my imperfections, and appreciating what is femininely divine by design: grace, a natural stillness, gentleness, knowing of an infinite capacity to love and be loved, honouring the wisdom of the body and expressing who I am.
Do we allow ourselves to drop the mask of control, instead embracing ourselves and each other for the wonderful women we are, issues and all, and so breaking free of the chains that bind us to ‘do it alone and look good’? There is an immense richness and depth available in relationships with other women when we begin to make it real and raw, allowing ourselves to enjoy the true freedom that having nothing to hide brings.
By Samantha Davidson, UK
For further inspiration …
Let’s get real … how honesty with ourselves and our relationships supports us to drop the mask.
For judgment to affect us, we must on some level submit to it being cast our way. Are we still holding ourselves in the past? Have we accepted our past choices?
What is true intimacy between women – and do we allow ourselves to be fully seen as who we are?