What I Learned About Myself from Bonding with WomenDec 08, 2014
Having just returned from a soulful, fun-filled weekend with 80 other women, I feel full and whole.
Spending time with “soul-sisters” who share the same vibration and syncing into their energies has been gratifying, and I am realizing how much I continue to crave sisterhood as part of my normal day-to-day life.
My life has been blessed with strong, beautiful women and female role models who have helped me shape my life into what it is today.
I am blessed with joy, travels, financial freedom, playfulness, a healthy body, healthy children, and adventures. All this leads me to believe that all women need to be part of a sisterhood.
My earliest recollection of a strong female figure in my life was my mother.
I remember spending countless evenings sitting in awe beside her vanity, watching as she prepped herself for a night out with my father. My mother was a traditionalist in many ways, but in many ways not.
She was a homemaker, and her role as a wife was first-and-foremost in her life. She frequently accompanied my father on his business travels when my siblings and I were children in Taiwan.
I respected her traditionalism, but I also admired her for being a woman who held her own. Her strong presence and demeanor set the stage for my own personality to develop.
Growing up, especially during my adolescence years, I had less-than-ideal relationships with girls my age. I was either too bossy, too analytical, or simply the odd one out.
I desperately wanted to fit in and be part of the “cool” girls’ crowd. But, I was painfully shy, and instead, resorted to retreating and withdrawing from the group of girls I envied.
I was, however, thankful for the one or two close friendships I made at that time.
Knowing what I know now, I get it. I now see that all I had to do was be myself, but at that age, under the influence of critical peers, I was reluctant and scared.
Fast-forward a few years. In university, I let my hair down a little and mistook my sudden, newfound openness for my true, authentic personality.
Was I ever wrong!
During this challenging phase of my life, I connected with many people, and allowed myself to be more expressive away from the confinements of my strict home.
I presented myself as a carefree girl, but I really was not. I think my desire to start fresh and to launch a new me took on a life of its own.
In retrospect, I learned valuable lessons along the way:
- I learned that women are quick to sacrifice their needs for others. However, to create room, to grow, and to help others, I need to look after myself first.
- I learned that trying to escape my troubles and worries through drinking, partying, and numbing my pain doesn’t get me anywhere except into more trouble. To get past the pain, I must allow myself to feel it so I can conquer it and move past it.
- I learned there’s no shame in asking for help. It took me years to realize that; once I did, I never looked back.
- Finally, I learned, I need my support system during difficult times. There’s nothing like the feeling of picking up the phone and hashing out the crap with my sister, mother, or best friend.
The female friendships I made in university weren’t as strong as the ones I have now. This surprises me, as I was enrolled in a program that was heavily dominated by women.
You would expect female bonding to happen often in that environment, but for me, it did not. I shared nothing more than drinking, partying, boy troubles, and the stress that comes with course loads with my girlfriends.
In retrospect, I realize I was never really present with them. I did not know who I was or where I wanted to go. I was too excited to live in the moment, and did not make time for myself or for the women in my life.
And yes, I admit I was too busy catering to my boyfriend and the men in my life.
Now I see bonding with women can be a rich, fulfilling addition to women’s lives.
But, to build such strong relationships, we must take time to build relationships with ourselves.
Do you have strong relationships with women? Do your honor your need to be a member of a sisterhood?