Attending a women’s group has been a great support and valuable learning for me; it is something I cherish and look forward to. Just before the last women’s group, I came across some old notes that I had written from a women’s group a few years back. On the top of the page I had written a question: what does it feel like to be a successful woman? Continue reading “A Successful Woman”
Is it enough to sit around and talk about the way that things are? Does this really change anything? At an Esoteric Women’s Health event – Wellbeing for Women – in Melbourne this question was posed. The women in this group had been coming together for over a year and discussing what was going on for women, what was going on for ourselves, and we were loving it. Ultimately we were exploring the phenomena of holding back the true power of women. Continue reading “The true power of women – no more holding back”
Is it possible that there is an untapped resource at our fingertips: have we neglected the fact that we all hold innate wisdom, and through connection with this and sharing what we have learnt along the way we can support ourselves and other women to arise and flourish?
Is it possible that we all potentially complement one another and that the insidious and reducing behaviours of comparison and jealousy between women have distracted us from our true power, for far too long?
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?
In a recent conversation with a female friend we were sharing our appreciation of another. This may sound like a normal, everyday thing to do, however there was something quite spectacular and revelatory about our conversation…
As we shared and reflected about this person we discovered that there was even more to appreciate. This person was making an ever-growing amount of choices in their life that were supporting them to feel (in their own words) more like themselves than ever before.
I recently spent the weekend with a friend and felt an amazing connection. This is someone I have met only twice before, yet it felt like we’d known each other for lifetimes. It felt strange and odd feeling so connected with someone I barely knew, with nothing sexual about the relationship and no neediness from either of us. Just the simple confirmation and joy of a deep connection with another person, and reflection from an equally beautiful woman.
Part of what made this connection so strong was a natural intimacy between us. There. I said it. Intimacy! That little word, so loaded with ideas and expectations. It got me pondering why I’m so uncomfortable with the word intimacy, and also the relationship that I have with it, and myself. Continue reading “Women, Intimacy and Friendship”
Girl power was all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s. The phrase “girl power” is used as a term of empowerment, independence, and self-sureness, but what came of girl power, and is there such a thing as true girl power? Or more so, the true power of women? Particularly when working together.
In 1994 the Spice Girls shot to the top of the pops with ‘Wannabee’. They were a group of women ‘working’ together, but is there more to it than that? The Spice Girls were a brand, a product, a group of women where there were friendships and where to the outer world there was a ‘spunky’ toughness. But is toughness needed in ‘girl power’ – or in truly power-full women when they are together?
I recently spent the weekend at a sporting event where I met many women. While I was there, I had a very ordinary, extraordinary moment that made me stop and appreciate just how powerful women can be when we support one another.
I met a woman with whom I had an instant feeling of knowing her, even though I was pretty sure we had not met. We didn’t speak that much to each other over the two days. There was a moment of chatting as we waited in line for a toilet, and another moment when her friend came to see me.
What I noticed about her was her grace, and a quiet dignity within her that perhaps she hadn’t fully recognised in herself.
What if instead of ignoring it or pretending it doesn’t happen, we could understand comparison and competition between women as an opportunity to notice something more about ourselves?
Could comparison be a reminder that we have forgotten our own loveliness?
When we start to see comparison as a symptom of forgetting ourselves in the first place, it stops us from making it about the other woman – the one we are comparing ourselves to – and becomes solely about the relationship we have with ourselves.
Is it possible that comparison enters through the doorway of lack of self worth or self loathing that we open whenever we brush off, ignore or hold at bay recognising and appreciating the absolute preciousness and amazingness of ourselves?
- When I see a friend, sister, colleague, daughter or my mum feeling amazing, stepping up and being beautiful, there is a lot of information exchanged in that split second about the choices they have made and the ones I have made too. I get to feel them and myself in that same moment. If I hold that woman above me, better than me, more ‘it’ than me – I feel deflated and crushed by my own ‘not enough-ness’, my mouth goes dry and my tummy feels punched. Hello comparison… where’s the chocolate?
- When I am present with myself and hold myself as equal to any other woman, including the one in front of me that is reflecting their beauty and amazingness, all the information of that single moment is still there, but instead of being crushed I get to feel where I have let myself go or held myself back, in the face of my mums, friends, sisters, colleagues or daughters’ choice to be more of themselves instead of opting for something less. I get to see and feel where they have made choices that I didn’t. But the difference is, I do not feel less for it, I feel soundly aware of the choices I’ve or haven’t made and the ones I can still make instead. Hello inspiration!
How different would our relationships be as women if we were able to, instead of using the information we are constantly feeling in every exchange as a measuring rod to beat ourselves (or another) with, we acknowledged the unfolding beauty of another woman without feeling an iota less in ourselves, in fact, feeling more aware and appreciative of ourselves instead?
As women we have a powerful opportunity to nip comparison and competition in the bud wherever it plays out in our daily lives and our relationships with each other – friends, family, colleagues, celebrities, strangers – even pictures in a magazine or characters in a movie.
What if instead of cutting one another down as women with the ill will that comes from a bruised self, we took the opportunity to REMEMBER our own absolute worth and loveliness?
When comparison and competition between women gives way to inspiration and appreciation we get to see and feel each other blooming, knowing we share that same blooming power too, equally, in all our different bodies, ages and lives.
By Adrienne Hutchins, BEd, Brisbane, Australia
As the story below shows, when comparison plays out between mothers and daughters, it creates a legacy that keeps women small, stunted and locked in worthlessness for generations.
Recently, a friend shared how her daughter-in-law to be was a beautiful young woman inside and out, but her mother was a little wacky. The three women went together to the bridal dress fitting and when the young bride-to-be drew the curtain back, it was breathtaking to behold her beauty – the glow and delicateness of her; she was gorgeous. My friend noticed how the young woman’s eyes went straight to her mother. When her mother remained silent, the young woman asked “Well, what do you think?” and the mother answered, “If you like it then that’s all that matters”. Born of comparison and jealousy, this comment was designed to crush.
Have we not all done some version of this to another woman, and been on the receiving end of it ourselves?