It’s been a full on couple of days. Not only was it the last few days of the school holidays (which somehow made it harder for me to accept not having any time to myself rather than easier - as though I was so close to the finishing line that I just couldn’t hold my frustration in any longer) but I have also been called upon more than once to speak my truth. I have had to stand up to what I believe rather than cave in to the desire to attenuate myself in order to be appreciated. I have had to speak my truth, regardless of the potential consequences. It has been terrifying. Why? Because it is part of the patriarchal dynamic in which we live that women must stay small in order to be accepted. Society frowns upon women that are “too much”: too loud, too big, too tall, too outspoken, too beautiful, too confident, too happy even. The result is that many women, including myself on occasions, feel that their empowerment hurts others; that by being ourselves we risk losing the admiration, love and respect of others. That it is best that we hide our power in order not to risk being seen as too much. So in order to fit in, not make a fuss, we silence ourselves, act small, tow the party line, pretend to others we are feeling something we are not just to make the uncomfortable feelings that are lurking underneath go away.
But this is counterproductive. Because not only does trying to fit in when it is inauthentic cause yet more ‘negative’ feelings: anger, grief, disappointment, resentfulness; it also merely serves to perpetuate our smallness. And reinforce the belief in others that they too must remain small.
So on more than one occasion last week, I ignored the temptation to be small, to 'emotionally caretake' others’ potential triggers and to make it all ok by denying what I actually felt. It has not been easy.
Before and after, I have felt out on a limb, isolated, hurtful even. But deep down, I KNOW it was the right thing to do. So I have been doing a lot of inner parenting to help me through: I have had to remind myself over and over that I am not in charge of others’ reactions to me, I cannot force them to understand, I cannot be liked and loved by everyone all the time. That I am ok, that I can do this, and that by sticking to my values and expressing my feelings authentically and respectfully, I am also paving the way for others to do the same. And this is the key: that by summoning the courage of my inner Warrior to help me speak my truth with the compassion and centeredness of my inner Buddha and showing others that it can be done without falling apart, I am hopefully demonstrating that there IS another way to being a woman in a patriarchal society, that we CAN indeed own our power and be authentic. And that with this comes an immense sense of true freedom, far greater than the fleeting contentment that comes from being accepted.
Have you ever struggled to own your power, to take the path of authenticity over acceptance? If so, I’d love to hear how. Please share your comments below!
Artwork: 'Between Two Worlds' by Vian Sora
Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments or by sharing it with other social media! I’d love to keep sending you updates so feel free to sign up to receive posts by e-mail and click subscribe. Don’t forget you can follow me on facebook, instagram & bloglovin.