Let’s face it, being a woman in the modern day world is not easy. Today’s media channels have us worrying about how thin and successful we look while our mothers keep asking us when we’re going to give them grandchildren. We find ourselves begrudgingly searching for a man on the internet, all while trying to keep it cool counting the days until our clock expires.
It doesn’t matter if you are single in your twenties or married with kids in your forties, all women deal with tremendous pressure to be the superwoman who has it all. You are taught to keep it all together and multi-task a gazillion things at once while still getting a workout at the gym and nails manicured at the salon. It’s exhausting.
According to the CDC, women are two thirds more likely to be depressed than men. Whether living by themselves in isolated apartments in big cities or being housewives out in the burbs chasing toddlers all day, women all over the world feel lonely and disconnected.
Most women hide their insecurities, fears and self-doubts behind closed doors and put on a happy face when leaving the home. You bottle up your emotions because you were taught that “big girls don’t cry” and you should “put your big girl panties on” to be a “girl boss” who handles it … like a man.
But underneath, many women are crying inside, desperate to let it all go and just be taken care of. Most women struggle with an inner conflict between being strong and independent, and secretly wanting a man to sweep you off your feet and treat you like a goddess.
Being a woman is complex and the first step is to just acknowledge that life (and being a woman) is complicated and that it’s ok … there is nothing wrong with you! We are complex creatures with our range of emotional capacity and diffused awareness. This is what makes us so magnificent.
It is in a woman’s nature to feel and to connect. You are not designed to do life alone or bottle up our emotions. You need an outlet and you need support, which is why the five things I’m about to share with you are so essential for your success and well-being.
These are five things that every woman needs in order to effectively handle the complexities of this female existence in a way that is honoring of all parts of yourself — the good, bad and ugly.
1) Every woman needs a shoulder to cry on … a best friend.
Every woman needs a friend to confide in and who will be there for you through thick and thin. In those moments when you feel like everything is about to fall apart and you are trying to hold it all together, you call your best friend.
She’s the one who will come over with a minute notice.
She’s the one who lets you cry and doesn’t try to fix you.
She’s the one who tells you everything is going to be ok.
She’s the one who reminds you that you are amazing and you’ve got what it takes.
Three ways to find and keep a best friend:
You’ve both got to make the initiative so both friends feel the commitment. If you are waiting around for someone to call you, you may be waiting for a long time. The best relationships happen when you invest your time and energy into nurturing them. What would you want your best friend to do? Call you spontaneously to hangout? Send you a bouquet of flowers for your birthday? Do those things that you want to receive and it will happen.
If you make it all about you, the relationship will feel very imbalanced. Best friends share time. They give and receive. If you need a shoulder to cry on, make sure that she also gets space too.
Best friends go deep and share their secrets with one another. If you hang out at the surface level, only talking about what’s going right in your life, you won’t get the meaningful connection that you are looking for. To be vulnerable takes courage and feeling safe, which you have to create for one another.
2) Every woman needs a place to find herself … a circle.
The resurgence of women’s circles is a result of women wanting more fulfillment in their lives after being disillusioned by the enticement of money and success that ultimately feels empty. Women are craving “soul sisterhood” because they want meaningful conversations and connection that goes deeper. Women who feel burned out from pushing too hard want to find another way — a more feminine approach to health, wealth and happiness.
A circle is a place where a woman can show up exactly as she is and not have to pretend to have it all together. It’s a place where a woman can come home to herself.
How to know if a circle is right for you:
Know the purpose.
There are so many different types of women’s circles that meet for various reasons so you’ve got to find the one that suits what you are looking for. Get clear on what your needs are: do you want to share, connect and make friends like we do at Sistership Circle or do you want to get involved with a meaningful cause to support the homeless? Are you a business woman wanting to connect with other successful women like LeanIn.org? Or does that not matter to you. The more clarity you have, the more you will intuitively know if a circle is right for you.
A good women’s circle has a supportive structure for all the women. Every woman’s voice matters; everyone has a chance to share and participate. If it is too loose and unstructured, it will fall apart.
In a world filled with mean girls, cattiness and competition, it can feel really unsafe to be around a group of women. Good women’s circles create a safe container, which means that agreements are in place to create a judgment-free space, confidentiality, and how to handle difficult situations.
3) Every woman needs someone who will challenge her and help her grow … a female mentor.
In today’s corporate climate, most women have to go to men for work mentors because there aren’t enough women high up on the ladder of success. But men can’t quite understand what it means to be a woman and what we go through. That’s why we need mentors who have walked our path and who get us … they won’t call you crazy during that time of the month or tell you to man up when you are having a meltdown.
A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be in your field of work, as long as you respect her and are inspired by her.
What to look for in a mentor:
Has the results that you want.
A good mentor understands what you are going through because she’s already been there herself. She’s been in the trenches and has made it to the other side. She knows how to guide you to where you want to go because she’s already there. She walks her walk and keeps it real. If you want to be in shape and feel vibrant, you don’t want a mentor who is overweight because she eats McDonald’s every day.
Listens attentively and has you feel heard.
A good mentor doesn’t have her own agenda; she’s listening to what you need and providing solutions and advice based on what’s in your highest good. She’s not trying to fit you into a mold and have you be like her; she’s encouraging you to be your best self and be in your zone of genius.
Holds you accountable.
There will be times when you want to give up on a goal or dream and a good mentor doesn’t let that happen. She calls you out and holds you to your word.
4) Every woman needs a space she can call her own … a place of solitude.
In today’s busy world inundated with information and technology, a woman needs a break. In addition to being busy, women are conditioned to put everyone and their needs first over our own; it’s no wonder so many women are exhausted, overwhelmed and burned out. In the midst of the craziness, every woman needs to take some time to herself for some peace and quiet.
This could be a walk in nature at the beach, a park or in the mountains. But realistically, you just need 5 minutes, and you can have that by creating a sacred space.
A sacred space is designated as a place where you can sit with no interruptions and reconnect with yourself. If you do not have an extra room, you can create a small altar in your room with a pillow and make sure no one touches it. Close the door, put a sign on it and lock it so you can have at least 5 minutes of silent solitude. You can use this time to meditate, read, breathe, journal, sing, place music, create art … anything that brings you back to your center.
How to create your sacred space:
It has Beauty.
Your sacred space feels beautiful to you. It inspires you. You can create beauty through flowers, color, or art.
It has Love.
Your sacred space evokes love in your heart. You love to sit there. You can create love with a spritz of rose water or reading your favorite poem when you sit down.
It has Spirit.
Your sacred space feels divine. You feel connected to something higher than yourself. You can create spirit with a statue of a goddess, incense, candles or a bell.
5) Every woman needs a tribe behind her dream … a community of support.
The old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child,” applies to women. We need tribe. We need community.
Circle is the place to connect with yourself as a woman and create bonds of sisterhood. Tribe is the place to feel supported by both the masculine and feminine.
Tribe differs from circle in that it is coed and social. It is also bigger than your core group of friends; a tribe is inclusive and contains many different groups of friends all sharing a collective bond.
There are tribes popping up all over the world, you just have to look for yours. With the internet, it is easier to find like-minded people through local gatherings, festivals and activities.
How to find your tribe:
I’ve found that a lot of the women in my spiritual community dabble in yoga and prioritize healthy food options. I can hardly go to a class or grab a quick juice without running into someone I know or someone I didn’t know.
Take a look at upcoming Facebook events and you’ll find all sorts of local events, workshops and activities that you may find your tribe. It’s amazing how quickly you can tap into community by just showing up at a popular event.
When all else fails popular sites like meetup.com are a great place to help you find like-minded people getting together for a wide range of activities. You can easily find your tribe whether you like dogs, hiking, working out, veganism, or tantra … you name it, you’ll find it.
It is essential that we feel connected as women. You don’t have to do this alone. No woman should. And why would you? It takes courage to reach out and ask for support, but once you do, you start to see that people want to contribute to you. You may have been taught that vulnerability is a weakness, but the truth is, people will feel more connected to you when you show your humanness.
Blossoming as a woman requires letting go of the fallacy that you need to have it all together and be perfect. Empower yourself. These are not luxuries but necessities to your emotional wellbeing. And by the way … You deserve it.
Share Your Story
Which of these 5 things shared today do you need to focus on the most and what’s the one action step you can take right now to build your support network? Please share as much detail as possible because your story may inspire someone else.
Pass It On
If you have a best friend, let her know you are there for her by sharing this article with her.