It’s been going on a lot lately. I feel it coursing through my system. I want women (all women) to feel their power.
Let’s start by saying this has little to do with cis-men and their power. Yes, patriarchy. But we’re not here to talk about taking power from anyone. We all have power within us, and it is our job to keep and harness our own power for good.
There are so many ways we give away our power. Some of them are inherent in relationships, other ways are insidious, some even damaging.
Giving up our power often looks like abandoning ourselves. We give more credence to what others expect of us, what we think society expects of us, what we think relationship requires of us than to what our intuition knows is right.
I’ve been seeing it a lot in my work lately, women reclaiming their power. Women being brave enough to listen to their own instincts and then advocate for what they find there.
Too often we do the opposite. Women who have sacrificed their careers to raise their children, who sacrifice themselves to make sure the house and everyone in it is cared for in every way. Women who allow poor behavior from partners and do what they can to sweep away any consequences their partner might experience. It’s just easier that way. Women who forget or lose touch with who they are, because they’re trying to “have it all.” Women who believe they ought to look a certain way in order to have worth.
Where did we learn this?
Who says this is the way it has to be?
How might our lives change if we choose ourselves, in addition to all the other things we love? What if we thought of ourselves as -same as- not more important, not less important. Equal.
Yes, I will care for you when you’re in COVID isolation for a week, and then I’d like some time to myself this weekend.
Yes, I will pause my career because it’s important to raise these babies we’ve chosen, but I will listen to my inner wisdom and trust when it is time to go back.
I will own and share my feelings without fear of being labeled “sensitive.” I am sensitive. That is part of my power. My feelings belong to me, and I can experience them without reacting from them.
There is no morality in cleanliness, so I will not feel bad if my house feels like it is in shambles. I will not clean up after those who can clean up after themselves, outside of an occasional offering of kindness (infrequent enough that it doesn’t turn into an expectation by the other person).
Yes, I will wear clothes that feel good on my body, and give less care to what I’m supposed to look like these days. I will love this body because it is the body I have.
I am a valuable part of this conversation, and I will not feel shame for using my voice and sharing my ideas. I will not fear retribution and will set my boundaries and hold them with firm kindness.
Who is it that you want to be? What are you doing when you feel the most like yourself? Can you do more of what sends you down the path of authenticity, and less of what leads you astray?
You take that real estate test. It’s what you’ve always wanted. You take a step back from work and care for yourself, you’ve been trying too hard for too long. You speak up in that meeting, you have important things to say. You acknowledge those parts of you that you’ve kept hidden for too long, they’re beautiful.
We’ve been taught and it has been reinforced for too long that we should be self-sacrificing. That is not a balanced stance. We can be generous, selfless, and caring. But if we go to a place of giving where we lose ourselves, then we lose our ability to really show up in our lives, let alone for others.
This is where depression creeps in. The cognitive dissonance (or, the discomfort we feel when we live outside of our values) is immobilizing. Overwhelmed by the expectations, burdens, and dissonance, we numb out. We check out. We work harder to show up for others, and wonder why we feel empty at the end of the day.
Perhaps it starts with a willingness to get to know ourselves, truly, without shame. Only through understanding can we properly love. Only through true understanding and love, can we fully show up.
Show up for yourself the way you needed someone to show up for you when you were little. Show up for you the way you show up for others. Believe in your value, and live in a place where you honor it.
I see you working your tail off. You are not alone. You are a powerhouse, and I wish you rest and compassion.
You deserve it.