By Karin Marcus
Women empowering women has become an often used phrase in recent years. I, too, frequently use it as a tag line for my retreats and workshops. But lately I’ve been pondering what empowerment really means. Only in recent decades because of expanded educational opportunities and social reforms has the notion of power even been affiliated with women. So what does feminine power look like? What are the qualities of an empowered woman?
Reflecting on all the empowered women I’ve experienced both in the public arena and in my day to day interactions, I’ve created the following description of the attributes of a powerful woman:
Pro-active – An empowered woman knows that the ten most powerful two letter words are: “If it is to be, it is up to me!” She has a clear vision of her purpose and passionately strives to make it a reality. Rather than being a victim of circumstance, she recognizes that how she responds to events is what ultimately determines the outcome.
Open-Hearted – An empowered woman understands that her nurturing feminine qualities of compassion, love, and empathy come from a place of great strength. Being open-hearted allows her to be open-minded and global in her thinking.
Wise – An empowered woman trusts her inner wisdom. She values her intuitive awareness and experiential learning. The female brain has tremendous aptitude for verbal agility, the perception of non-verbal cues, and the ability to diffuse conflict. The wise woman knows how to use these innate talents for the greater good.
Ever- evolving – An empowered woman is always stretching beyond her comfort zone. She is fully engaged in expanding her understanding emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. She embraces the deepening that comes with age.
Real – An empowered woman lives by Dr Seuss’ advice, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Authenticity is the only option when seeking to achieve one’s full potential.
An empowered woman is the embodiment of grace, dignity, and resiliency. From moment to moment, she makes conscious choices that are based upon her core values and honest self-perception. She is both formidable and approachable. So how does one begin, and how, as women, do we support one another is achieving this ideal?
Ultimately, empowerment is a mindset. It is a way of being that must be firmly intact prior to our doing. Empowerment begins with the basic belief that it is our birthright to flourish, thrive, and grow. We need to first prepare the soil by prioritizing our own self care and well being. Then we need to plant the seed of our authenticity and nurture it with compassion and love. While we must attentively tend to that seedling, we must also trust in its innate potential and allow it to mature gradually, one day at a time.
While empowerment is a personalized, internal process, women naturally flourish in the presence of other women. It’s important to create circles of support, community gardens so to speak. We need to help each other till the soil and pull the weeds. Collectively, we can create a protective enclosure to shelter the aspirations which are seeking to find their roots. By sharing our struggles and our victories, we can become each others’ believing mirrors. Women empowering women is part of the natural scheme of things, the organic way for us to grow.