A lot of pressures are put on women from a young age. Find the perfect partner, have a fairytale wedding, birth the perfect babies and live in a perfectly clean house while cooking gourmet meals for your family every night. We all know this is hogwash. But then why do we still feel inadequate when our lives don’t match these ridiculous expectations?
On a recent episode of the Lean In Podcast, I had a candid conversation with my friend and life coach expert Christine Hassler. Christine felt the pressures of societal womanhood early in life, and marriage and a family became things to check off a list. It wasn’t until she was going through a divorce that she realized she had approached marriage in a completely unrealistic, unhealthy way. “Marriage isn’t always the ending to the fairy tale,” she says.
She spent the next several years really searching herself, trying to understand who she was when she wasn’t in a relationship. All this deep soul diving really gave her a better understanding of what she was really looking for in a partner, and what kind of partner she wanted to be herself.
“For me, such a big part of being a woman was getting married and having children. By not having that, I got to dive into my soul purpose,” she explained.
Learn How to be Lonely
Christine found herself 31 and divorced, at a time when all her friends were getting married and having babies. She was surprised by the profound loneliness she felt at parties and events, when everyone around her seemed to be paired up. But soon she was able to confront the loneliness and use it to rise up and attack life with a new game plan.
Sometimes loneliness isn’t about not having a partner, it’s about realizing that we don’t know who we are without someone else by our side. Christine used this loneliness to learn more about herself. She set a no dating rule for herself until she felt ready to share her life with someone again.
It’s important to learn where these feelings of loneliness are coming from. Are they coming from a need for another person or a fear of being without one? It’s important to know the difference and explore the reasons behind it.
Recognize the Difference Between Red Flags and Fear
Once Christine felt ready to date again, she found love with her now-husband Stef quickly. But falling in love again came with its own set of problems. “It was an interesting dance of falling in love and having to make major decisions, “ she said.
But even when falling in love, she realized she had unresolved fears about sharing her life with someone. Christine and Stef were in very different financial situations when they met, and her brain began to use that against her, giving her an “out”.
How often do we do that? Allow our fears to dictate our happiness? “Learn the difference between red flags and fear,” Christine advises, and I couldn’t agree more. You know when something is really wrong, when you’re really in danger of making the wrong choice, most of the time you can feel it in your entire body. When it’s just a fear, a roadblock our over-analytical brain is giving us, you can feel the difference if you really listen to yourself.
Tap into Your Femininity
As women, we take on so many pressures. To balance work and kids while remaining put together and organized. Sometimes, in the struggle to maintain these unrealistic expectations, we allow the masculine energy inside of us, to take over. It is so incredibly important to tap into our feminine energy. That doesn’t mean becoming more feminine, whatever that may mean. It means engaging in the things that allow that energy to flourish and allow us to feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is incredibly freeing- if you allow it to be.
Those things are different for everyone. For me, it’s allowing my body to move when I feel the urge to. For some, it may be dancing, singing or even spending time with other women. Whatever it is that allows you to tap into that energy, do it. The results will be incredibly healing, I promise you that.
By allowing yourself to balance the energy within, both masculine and feminine, you can use your whole being to support your partner- and allow yourself to be supported in return. Love is about give and take, not just with our partners, but within ourselves.
To get a deeper insight into exploring your own femininity and building deeper connections within your relationships, tune in to our conversation on the Lean In podcast here.