The question is whether or not you would like to expand that strength.
The question is not: Can I be a strong person. Because you already are.
Where does your expandable strength lie? It lies in places like communication, attitude, spiritual practices, personal qualities, personal interests, beloved hobbies, and beloveds…and probably many, many more.
And still we fall into “But I can’t!”
How do we get to “I can!” in the middle of “I can’t!”?
(1) Don’t deny that you feel so down. Remember, the more you push against something, the bigger it grows. So you don’t want to push against “I can’t!” It has done its job: it has said to you, “Here’s what you’re feeling, and you need to do something different.” So don’t shoot it. It’s just the messenger.
(2) Invite something into your experience that feels good, the way it feels good to feel alive. I am not talking about drugs, or drink, or excessive food, or whatever else it is that we use to numb ourselves out from the pain of relentlessly listening to the messenger (see #1 above!). I am talking about inviting something into your experience that makes you feel a kind of alive relief. For the spiritual: a song, an affirmation, a book that reminds you of Who You Are. For the practical: an activity – gardening, problem-solving, taking a walk – that reminds you of Who You Are. These are just suggestions. The point is that you want to invite something in that eases the feelings just by virtue of being there. You are not doing anything other than inviting in the healing.
(3) Sit back. Let yourself take your face out of the problem and sit back. The messenger and the healer will do what they do. The messenger will get its message: “Yep, we hear ya!” and you can focus on finding answers in ways that are kinder, more expansive, more unexpected (that’s the fun one!).
What does it mean to be strong? It means to be willing to find your strengthening moments in unexpected ways, from exploration, from curiosity – finding out what makes you feel better, feel stronger, and in a gentler way.
Her Masculine Wing was the Wing of Doing, Striving, Persevering and Accomplishing, and she knew how to use that Wing extremely well. The bird was a very good student. She had lived a very long time in the company of birds that were gifted at Masculine Wing use, and she had learned that Doing, Striving, Persevering and Accomplishing were applauded, and were very good survival skills in the company of these birds.
But the day came when she she noticed that she had been tending to fly in circles, far, far more than she flew straight ahead. She looked at her Masculine Wing and saw that all of the Doing, Striving, Adapting and Persevering seemed to be working against her. Instead of feeling like she was surviving, she started to feel more, and more, and more trapped. Less alive. Less vibrant.
One of her bird friends said to her, "Why don't you use both your wings? Maybe you'll fly straight ahead that way!" and the bird thought to herself, "What a grand idea! How do I do that? I know! I'll use my Masculine Wing to activate my Feminine Wing!" and she began to Do, Strive and Persevere her way toward Accomplishing the use of her Feminine Wing.
She became very upset when that didn't work!
So she redoubled her efforts! She tried harder still. But for all of her striving, she could not seem to activate Allowing, Self-Care, Self-Kindness and Letting Go. Defeated, she sat down and said, "Oh, I give up. I'm a loser. I can't do anythingright! I've tried and tried, and nothing works! I must be stupid."
Suddenly she realized that she was being really mean to herself, and that it felt really bad. She thought, "Well, I don't deserve to feel this bad! It's not my fault that I don't know what I don't know! Poor me, beating up on myself - that's not something I'm going to do right now. That's not helping! I know I'm doing the best I can. I know I'm a good bird." And she started to cry out of compassion for herself.
At which point her Feminine Wing started to flutter at her side.
She gasped and wiped away her tears so that she could look at the site of this new sensation. "What is happening?" she asked her Feminine Wing, and it seemed to respond, "You are allowing!"
"But I don't know how to do that!" the bird objected.
"It is not something you do. It is something you feel and intend. And it requires patience, and gentleness, and curiosity, and not-doing!"
Well, now the little bird was very confused. But she did very much like the way she felt when she was not-doing. So she spent some time each day, not-doing - letting herself do the unproductive things she loved to do, like sit among the leaves in a tree, just to be surrounded by green, or roll in the grass, which smelled so beautiful and cushioned her tiny body. And as time went on she became utterly fascinated by the way that her Feminine Wing was growing stronger without her doing anything!
It made no sense to her at all!
Until the day she felt the impulse to fly again. To try again. She first thought, "Oh no. If I rely on my Masculine Wing and I Persevere again, I'll just go in circles!" But the impulse to rise again into the blue sky was too much to resist. So, with a sigh of resignation, the bird got to her feet and prepared to fly.
To her amazement, both wings lifted together, simultaneously, in graceful arcs of movement, lifting her upward with a feeling of grace and ease she had never before felt in her life.
She pushed forward into the current of air, and then let go and allowed it to carry her, and pushed forward into again the next current of air where she again let go and floated along in the air, moving ever toward where she wanted to go!
It felt miraculous! She felt free! She felt both in control, and surrendered to these marvelous sensations and this air-borne journey, the likes of which she had never before experienced!
And then she understood: She needed both wings to make her journey. She needed both to push and to allow. She needed to love herself, and the striving was to remember and to practice that. She needed to accomplish, and she needed to be gentle with her own efforts.
With this new awareness in her mind, the bird smiled, and sailed forward into the open sky.
To learn to balance your wings, come to www.GoodbyeGoodGirl.com and sign up on the Home page to download "The Five Strengths of Feminine Power". Contact Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about private coaching, public talks, and workshops.
“It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to.” ~African proverb
If you need to be strong, and think that you are not, you will struggle with yourself.
If you need to yield, and think that you will be at risk if you do, you will rigidify.
If you need to speak up, and think that you are not the one who does that, you will wither.
The only thing that ever keeps you locked into thinking you are a Good Girl is your taking that as your Identity. It is not your Identity. You are the strong, yielding, vocal one that sings your unique song openly and expressively. I know this because I know where all of these qualities come from, and it is somewhere beyond the limits of your mind, and yet well within your ability to sense.
Who are you?
Whoever you know yourself to be...dare to expand that definition!
“I wanted love so badly.”
“I thought he was the one.”
|“I don’t know why I stayed with him so long.”
“I don’t understand how he could have hurt me so, when I loved him so much!”
“I didn’t know how to live without him.”
I spent many heart-wrenching decades aching and yearning very romantically for The Love of My Life. And I spent those decades also feeling absolutely self-hating, because clearly I was undesirable in some deep and uncontrollable way! How many nights I cried, feeling simultaneously sorry for and disgusted by my own self. That is not so romantic.
I know that this kind of suffering continues for women of all ages. I know I was not alone. Not being alone, however, didn’t stop the ache.
It was other things that did that. It was taking that reluctant step into my own care and love for myself, in active ways. It was being disappointed over and over again by the quality of my relationships, and realizing that perhaps I needed to reconsider where I stood in what I was attracting - and accepting - into my life!
“What we must each strive to know is that we are not beggars.”
What we must strive to know is that the more we give honor and respect and love to ourselves, the more we will recognize - and eschew - its opposite when it is offered to us.
What we must strive to experience - in every way we can - is the love, acceptance, support, compassion we think we most want from a partner…
from each other, and from ourselves.
You are not a beggar. You are a Goddess. You are a Gift. You are the DNA of Spirit itself. You have been disrespected and hurt and taught to think that you are less-than. But it’s a lie. Find the pathways that work for you to experience mercy and respect for yourself. And then watch it spread to how you approach your love life.
You deserve no less.
Want to experience yourself as strong? Join the Goodbye Good Girl Community by signing up at www.GoodbyeGoodGirl.com, and get notified about online gatherings and events.
The second question was "What is the one thing that you wish you could really say to your clients, that you never ever would?"
Awesome question. I have used it often with my entrepreneurial clients who get stuck in marketing-speak, and have trouble just gettin' real and saying what it is they truly wish to communicate about their passionate and person reason for being in business!)
So, what was the one thing I would want to say to my women clients? I have to admit, my answer was a bit - er - impolite, but I'll clean it up for you. I wanted to tell my clients to stand up! Stop putting themselves down and seeing themselves as less-than in relation to men!
[An aside here: There's something super powerful about being impolite when you are creating something new (an idea, a business, a chosen response, a new understanding about yourself!) that is creatively freeing and absolutely necessary. So I encourage you to be impolite in expressing - to yourself - what it is that you really wish you could say or do or be. You too can clean it up later, for others! But always keep the impolite version for yourself.]
The third question Bill then sprang on us was: "Well, given the answers to these two questions, what would be the name of your business?"
And I had it instantly. "Goodbye, Good Girl." And when I stood up and announced it, everybody cheered! We instinctively know what it means, don't we? It means a longed-for freedom from "behaving", from feeling "stuck" in shoulds and ought-to's.
It took me a few more years to put together everything I want to share, but the basics have never changed: I want The Goodbye Good Girl Project™ to speak to the emerging power of women, and the challenges we face in walking into that power, which is a place most of us have never really gone before.
Lori Ellen Kirstein is a woman whose mission is to empower other women to know their Strengths, to express themselves, to define themselves in empoweringly truthful ways, and to have a nourishing, powerful impact on the world, individually and together.