The Power of Women: Why being a “girls girl” isn’t a bad idea
People usually look puzzled when I tell them I love facilitating women’s group therapy. I get why people react this way. It’s usually because they assume women are catty and a group of them [seeking therapy] makes for a disaster. They may even ask themselves why someone would voluntarily participate in this? I might’ve been one of those people horrified by the idea if weren’t for my good fortune and good sense.
Some might say I was primed to be a “guys girl”; a self-proclaimed title commonly given by women whose defenses goes up when around other women. No one could have imagined that a tomboy with two older brothers; and whose earliest memories include being shamed and excluded by “[girl] friends” would grow up to be a “girls girl” [not to be mistaken for girly girl]. Thinking back, tagging along with the boys probably neutralized the pain from the bullying. In addition to this, the universe worked its magic by replacing negative memories with more positive ones throughout my life. To top it off, I eventually I learned the truth behind the mean girl behavior, which allowed me to forgive and let go. The result of all this is a woman who loves to empower women through connection.
Researcher + Storyteller Brené Brown defines connection as “energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment.” I am in LOVE with this definition [swoon] because as a therapist I work at protecting the integrity of the group so that people can experience connection. Lucky me! I get to play a part in the magic.
What I’ve discovered in the groups I facilitate is that women who avoid femships [female friendships] are uncomfortable around other women for a variety of valid reasons. They usually don’t feel safe out of fear of being judged, rejected or betrayed. While I understand this cautionary behavior, it’s important to know that by not cultivating meaningful friendships with women you may be limiting yourself. It can seem impossible; maybe even pointless at this stage of the game. But trust me when I say, GO FOR IT!
It’s never a bad idea to freshen up on the value of friendship, therefore let me share some tried and true tricks of my trade that help enable connection. Whether your baby stepping towards femships or looking to elevate your already established tribe to the next level it starts with being open and willing to receive. So here is what I have to offer…
THE POWER OF THE TRIBE IS IN THE COLLECTIVE ENERGY OF CONNECTION
I’m all about the energy in a group. You either leave groups feeling drained or invigorated. I prefer the later. This also applies to friendships, particularly your tribe. It goes both ways so be mindful of the energy you bring and be responsibile for it. If you feel a good vibe around a particular woman or group of them, take time to understand their purpose and share yours with them. The most crucial thing you can do on this quest is to align yourself with women you believe in.
Call me crazy but I doubt any man can validate PMS symptoms or the societal pressures placed on women these days. And by validate I mean say, “me too”. Validation is felt by the expression of those two words. Many women seek validation from men when the risks associated with women seem too high. Unfortunately by no fault of men; this avoidance prevents connection [and validation] with those most qualified to ME TO it [ahem- women]. A friend [in my tribe] recently admitted that she didn’t always like being a parent therefore wasn’t sure she wanted another child. Rather than suggest how she might enjoy motherhood more, I simply looked at her and nodded me too in solidarity. This is validation. This is connection.
You validate others by giving them the space to -DO YOU BOO. You show this through sharing non-judgmental feedback and NOT giving unsolicited advice [leave that to the bloggers.] Lets be honest, we all know what is socially expected so you aren’t fooling anyone with judgment disguised as helpful feedback. What IS helpful is the good ole’ “I’m right there with you sista friend” or offering your presence in a safe space for her to be seen and heard. At the end of the day your presence is what is felt most.
“IT IS SAFE HERE WITH US”
The beauty of female friendships is there ability to provide opportunities to build worthiness. The more worthy you feel, the less reactive and disconnected you are. It becomes “I am enough. You are enough. We are enough”. This eliminates the need for mean girl behavior.
Once you get this validation thingy figured out sit back and watch in amazement as your tribe rubs two cats with one hand [a cruelty free version of two birds one stone] Huh? Whaa? That was weird. Anyway, what I mean is validation works to motivate AND inspire. I don’t know about you but nothing motivates me more than feeling worthy; and nothing makes me feel more worthy then being validated. So get your validation on!
How do people without a tribe stay motivated? I know I need a pick-me-up every now and then and my ladies do the trick! This part comes easy If you’ve done your due diligence of aligning yourself with women whose mission you believe in. This is because your tribe motivates you by holding you accountable and challenging you to be your best! No it’s not some shame bashing, “OH, NO YOU DI’INT” but rather shows up in the form of a gentle nudge to remind you that your off track; and point you in the right direction. This helps you sustain momentum, which I’ve found is incredibly difficult to do without a little help from friends.
“YOU ARE THE SUM OF THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH” –JOHN ROHN
You might consider accessing whether you can afford some deletion or addition to bump up your average [just sayin’]. Your tribe plays a critical role in your personal development and is a vehicle for you to reach your goals. Ask yourself; does my tribe pump me up? Or does it deflate me? Better yet, does your tribe play an active role in your efforts? If so, SCORE! I would suggest packing your tribe full of women you admire and respect in an effort to become the best version of you. And if by chance you stumble, you’ll find comfort in knowing your tribe will be there to soften the blow, helping you dust off and get back on your feet. It’s never that bad when you’ve got your ladies!
So to answer the question posed by those who may be a little leery of female friendships or groups of women in general-I love what I do because I believe in the power of women! Listen, I get it. Females are complex; and friendships with them can be extremely complicated. I know this because I happen to be one, and I have plenty of experience. But while it may be easier to maintain friendships with most men; as a woman, I’ve found my friendships with women to be the most rewarding.
So where my ladies at?! You know who you are? The ones who embrace the messiness of [girl] friends because you get it! I challenge you to widen your circle by welcoming newcomers and setting the record straight for what a true girls girl is.
I wish you peace and love on your quest!
I’d love to hear what holds you back from connecting with women or share some juicy wisdom you’ve experienced from the power of your tribe!