There has been so much misunderstanding in what it means to be ‘powerful woman’ in the past. So what it actually means?
To find the answer, I gathered the opinions of a diverse sampling of several strong women I know. I expected the answers to be drastically different, but I was delighted to unearth a few common themes that ran through the responses.
- A powerful woman knows who she is
- “She considers who she is and what she wants for herself.”
- “She follows her heart.”
- “She shows her authentic self and honors her instincts.”
But this is not static; rather, it is an ever-evolving process as she explores her interests. She stays true to her values as this process continues.
- “She is self-aware and continually growing into her true self.”
- “She cultivates her own interests.”
- “She can understand and appreciate her own strengths, then use those strengths to achieve her own success.”
- A powerful woman stands up for herself
This one is not easy, and requires not only passion and confidence, but also tact and timing. I think this is one of the most important characteristics for adolescents and girls to develop and maintain.
- “She is not afraid to share her ideas and thoughts, regardless of what others think.”
- “She speaks her heart and her mind.”
- “She respects herself enough to stand up for herself, the causes she believes in, and the welfare of others. She is creating and co-creating for the higher good of all”
- A powerful woman is happy and content!
How could I almost forget about this one? In my life, I now prefer to use ‘content’ as I learned happiness is not something we ‘achieve’, something stable – its a momentary thing that comes and goes as life happens.
- “She brings fun into her life and whatever she does.”
- “She actively continues to develop a sense of balance.”
- “She counts her blessings.”
- “She strives to create a positive environment for herself and her family.”
- “She lives fully, loves with full heart, loves to have fun, and has a great sense of humor.”
- A powerful woman challenges herself
Even a woman who is capable, confident, and secure in her strengths must challenge herself to continue growing and pushing unfamiliar boundaries.
- “Even if life is not easy, she makes a point to find the good in any situation, turn things around and make things better.”
- “She meets a challenge head-on.”
- “She puts one foot in front of the other every day.”
- A powerful woman admits she doesn’t have all the answers
She is willing to be flexible and seek more information in order to learn and grow.
- “She asks questions.”
- “She has a willingness to learn, but can be the teacher when needed.”
- “She is confident in her abilities, but willing to expand.”
- “She surround herself with people who inspire her.”
It is so important as women, in our daily life in general and especially on our journey to be a mothers, that we remind ourselves to go back to ‘feminine’. It was very much my whole journey to be a mum I am mentioning in the recently released book.
When I say the feminine, I don’t mean gender. I mean the feminine principle that is living – or suppressed – in both men and women. The feminine principle attempts to relate instead of breaking things off into parts. Where are we alike? How can we connect? Where is the love? Can you really hear what I am saying? Can you see me? Do you care whether you see me or not?
Now, these are very serious questions. And the feminine is difficult to talk about because so few people have experienced it. The feminine is presence, and relatedness, and a heart that can open so that when you meet another person you actually are seeing that person’s authentic self. What meaning does human life have?
I can’t tell you the number of women – who I spoke to over the years crying, saying, “Nobody ever saw me. Nobody ever had time to listen. So I am unlovable”- the saddest word in the language. Sometimes I’ve had a real flood of feeling about somebody, and I put out my hand and they say, “Don’t touch me. I’m unlovable.” And they mean it. As a child, that person was raised where the feminine was not present. You have to experience the feminine to understand it.
Ask Yourself: As a child, who saw you? Who heard you? Was there anyone with whom you could be totally yourself and to whom you could trust your heart responses and speak your soul responses? Someone who made you genuinely feel, “Gosh, I am somebody. They’re happy that I’m here.”
The great work of our time is to bring the feminine into this culture. And it’s not an easy path. How does each one of us contribute? Believe it or not, it’s done in the most personal ways. Take time to listen to your dreams, to write them down. Take time to recognize that there are things going on within you that need to be felt, or said, or lived, or grieved. Pay attention to these things both in yourself and in the people in your life. Pay attention to the authentic self.
Now, about that word’authentic’. It is related to the word author – and you can think of it as being the author of your own self. When you’re living your own reality, you become the sovereign of your own life. You know who you are, you speak what you believe. There’s a natural pride that goes with that: This is who I am – take me or leave me. I often think of Michelle Obama – she is not afraid of her own strength. And since her strength takes nothing away from anyone else – because it is given with love – she is free to be her authentic self.
To me, real power is about presence. It’s the energy of knowing that you are who you are, and therefore speaking and acting from your authentic self. It doesn’t matter what your work is – if you’re a teacher or a nurse or whatever; it is your presence that’s the power. It’s not power over anybody else. It’s just the expression of who you are.
Power in the sense of controlling somebody else is different from personal presence. That kind of power – patriarchal power – does not value other people. What I strive for instead is empowerment.
Love is the real power. It’s the energy that cherishes. The more you work with that energy, the more you will see how people respond naturally to it, and the more you will want to use it. It brings out your creativity, and helps everyone around you flower. Your family, the people you work with – everyone blooms including YOU!
Share your thoughts with us.
What do you feel is a powerful woman?
Where in life can you implement this kind of true female strength facing your challenges in this moment?
Which one of the above traits inspire you and you can see they would make real difference in the way you live your life?