I’ve spoken a lot about the challenges with masculine and feminine masks, but there is another type of mask that is also causing us a lot of problems at the moment…and it could be affecting your femininity.
These days we spend a huge amount of time interacting and connecting online. Globally we spend a collective 35 Billion hours online a month, which equates to nearly 4 million years! Of this time, 22% of it is spent on Social Media and 19% on emails…so around 41% of our time online is spent involved in some kind of communication.
What is scary is that 39% of Americans spend more time socializing online than they do face to face…and I’m sure that the stats for other areas of the world are similar.
In addition, a recent survey showed that these days, many people with a mobile phone prefer texting over a phone call…leading to even more text-based communication.
The challenge with this is that a lot of people wear what I call an “Online mask”.
Masks are there to conceal the identity of the wearer. Wearing any mask involves portraying characteristics that not consistent with who you are on the inside, and hiding an element of the ‘real you’.
When people interact online it is so easy to use the internet as a mask to hide behind. People say and do things online that they would never dream about doing in the real world, face-to-face.
It’s easier to be bold when you can’t see the immediate reaction from the person you are interacting with.
I’ve personally had a lot of experiences where people I have interacted with online have been very different when I’ve interacted with them offline.
Several years ago I did a stint of online dating, which meant getting to know someone first through a website or email before meeting them face-to-face. There were so many times that a guy seemed one way online and yet in person was completely different.
There were the usual cases of a man claiming to be 6’2” and in reality showing up as 5”8, or photos that looked like they were taken 10 years ago, but the biggest surprise for me was the amount of drastically changing personalities. I can’t tell you the amount of times that a guy came across as confident on an email or on a website….but was painfully shy or awkward face to face. Sometimes a guy would appear flirty and forward over text message…but didn’t show up that way when there in person. One guy who I met in Guilford had seemed very confident over email, but was completely incapable of looking me in the eye over coffee at the local Starbucks!
I know that some people use Social Media to create an ‘online persona’ for their business which is the complete opposite of their offline self as a ‘marketing exercise’. There are individuals who are privately facing financial ruin…but publicly are declaring themselves a success…or worse claiming to be able to help others to improve their own financial situations.
I’ve built up relationships with people via Facebook where I felt that I’ve got to know the person quite well…and yet when I’ve met the person in real life they’ve been completely different. I’ve met people at several events over the course of the last year who have completely and totally surprised me by being so different in person to the way that they come across online.
In each of these situations the people in question are wearing an online mask.
These online masks manifest in a number of different ways:
- Some people say things that are more controversial than they would do in a face-to-face situation.
- Some people are more extroverted than they would be in real life.
- Some people are more harsh and brutal with their communication than they would be in person.
- Some people use the ‘online world’ to play a role that they aspire to be, but aren’t comfortable with when they don’t have the computer to hide behind.
- Some people deliberately represent themselves in a way that is not consistent with who they are.
- Some people are more forward or flirtatious.
- Some people are more honest.
- Some people are less careful with their words.
- Some people are less aware of the consequences of what they say and do.
Now, some of these ways seem quite benign.
So what if someone is a little more flirtatious when they’re online or if someone is a little more honest on Facebook?
Well, it might not seem like a big deal, but in reality it can make all the difference in the world.
You see, if you represent yourself one way at one time and in another way at another you don’t come across as authentic. If people aren’t sure that they know you…they won’t be sure that they can trust you. If they aren’t sure that they can trust you…they won’t be interested in building a relationship with you.
And relationships are the key to everything in life.
Business, life, love…they are all based on relationships.
As a feminine woman, authenticity is the key. Being who you truly are inside rather than hiding behind any kind of mask is the key to embodying your Femininity.
This applies online, offline, between the lines…all the time.
Step out from behind your online mask.
If you interact with me online, see me in a video, or meet me in person you’re going to get exactly the same person every single time. In fact friends have told me that when reading my blog or posts online they can almost hear my voice as they’re reading it, as I write exactly the same way that I would speak if I were having a conversation with you face-to-face.
So no matter where or when you interact with me…you’ll get the full, 100% “Claire” experience every single time.
So I invite you to commit yourself to just one rule – If you would say it or do it this way in real life, do it online. If not, don’t.
It’s that simple.
When you are completely and totally yourself, people can connect to the real you…and that’s when the magic happens.
Stay Fabulous (and real)!
As women, we all know about the power of community…we know how it feels to connect with other like-minded people, all supporting us and rallying behind us.
We know how it feels when you meet someone who you feel an instant connection to them and you know that they are someone who you want to spend more time around.
We understand how it feels when a collection of like-minded women get together…the energy it creates is electric.
So what is a tribe?
A tribe is a community.
It is a collection of like-minded people.
A tribe is powerful.
Your tribe is YOUR community.
The thing with tribes is that normally people end up in a tribe by default.
Maybe it’s because of the area they live in, the job they have or the hobbies that they do.
Often people don’t even notice that they’re in them.
So what if, rather than being in your tribe by default, you could choose your tribe?
What if, you could not only choose your tribe, but you could help to create it?
Well the great news is that you can.
For example, I am very lucky to have an amazing tribe of women around the world who I speak to and connect with regularly who are like-minded, supportive women who are always 100% behind me and my dreams. The only downside is the geographical locations! I have regular catch-ups (often via Skype) with incredible women in San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Australia, Spain…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
These are great…and I am so grateful for each and every one of these women…but I also know how powerful it would be if I had a local community of like-minded women who I could meet with in person, on a regular basis, who would also bring that same level of trust, honesty and support.
Well I recently was introduced to an amazing organisation called “Tribal Truth” which has created communities in numerous different locations around the world with the sole (or soul!) purpose of “Putting a tribe behind women’s dreams”.
The focus is purely on collaboration, support and creating an amazing network of women all pulling together from a completely open and honest place, to help each other on their journey.
What I love about the Tribal Truth community is that it is all about doing this by being completely open, completely authentic and completely truthful, both with yourself and with the people around you.
For me, Tribal Truth brings together some of the best aspects of being a feminine woman…collaboration and support, nurturing each other and our dreams, learning how to receive from others around us, and doing all of this from a really open and authentic place.
What is even more exciting is that Tribal Truth is launching a community of these incredible women right here in London, and I have been asked to serve as a leader for this group! ☺
Here is a video that tells you a little bit more about Tribal Truth and why I was drawn to get involved:
I am SO excited about the launch of Tribal Truth London and connecting with even more of the incredible women we have locally here…and I would love to see you there.
If you would like to join us you can find all about the launch party here: http://www.tribal-truth.com/launch/london/#
…and for those of you who are international, there’s more good news. Tribal Truth is going to be launching in even more cities around the world in the coming months, so watch this space!
I’m so excited…I can’t wait to see you there…
We all do it.
We know we do.
We get caught up in our heads, over-thinking things and analyzing them to the ‘nth’ degree.
As women, we have a tendency (in general) to do this more than men do…as men have the ability (as alien as it may seem to us) to do the ‘thinking about nothing’ thing.
I’ve yet to meet a woman who has mastered this skill.
If you saw the link in last week’s newsletter to the hilarious video from Mark Gungor on the difference between men and women’s brains you know exactly what I’m talking about! (If you missed it, you can find it here clicky.me/71dC)
We’re intelligent people, so it’s natural that we would want to use our brains.
We want to work out the answer, solve the problem, find a solution.
But at what point does thinking become over thinking?
Where we analyse EVERYTHING before we say or doing anything.
Where we try and find every single possible permutation of a situation, every possible outcome so that we can ‘be prepared’…regardless of what happens.
As many people say…we get caught in the paralysis of analysis.
One of the main problems with this is that we get so caught up in the thinking that we never actually get to the doing.
When it comes to femininity and polarity however, the challenge with over-thinking is more fundamental.
Because although there are things that you can do to feel more feminine, there are things you can think, even things you can wear…at its core it is a feeling.
A sensation, an emotion, an essence.
A way of being…not of thinking.
If we get caught up in our heads too much we are actually moving away from the essence of what femininity is all about.
So this is just a little reminder.
To get out of your head and into your heart a little more often.
Focus on what you feel, not on what you think.
If you’re ever in doubt over what to do or how to proceed, go back to the core.
Turn down the volume on that little voice in your head (which is probably driving you crazy anyway!) and turn up the volume on your heart.
There are a number of ways to do this, but the one that I always recommend is an exercise at the end of my free MP3 audio program “The First Steps to Femininity”. If you’ve not yet got it, pop over here now to get your free download: http://feminine1st.com/free-gift/
It only takes 8 minutes, and having you’ve done it once with the audio, it’s really easy to do any time, any place.
When you’ve reconnected with your heart, from THAT place ask yourself one simple question.
What is my intuition telling me?
How do you know? It’s easy.
When you’re in this space, feeling really connected, ask yourself the question that you want the answer to, and the first thing that instantaneously comes to mind (before your brain has a chance to kick in and complicate matters!) is what your intuition is telling you.
As we know, femininity is all about authenticity, it comes from the inside out. The best way to find that authenticity is getting back to the heart and working from what you feel, not necessarily what you know.
So, when your brain runs riot and gets carried away…tell it to take the afternoon off and spend some quality time with your heart.
One of the comments that I often hear when discussing the topic of femininity is “But femininity is all about being pink, fluffy and girly…and that’s just not me…so I’m not feminine”.
I’m curious as to where this concept of feminine = pink and fluffy came from. Do you know? The reason I ask is that whenever I ask for celebrity examples of feminine women, there’s not a pink or fluffy person among them.
As you may know, recently I did surveys of both women and men to get their thoughts and ideas on femininity.
As part of the survey I asked for ladies in the public eye that are good examples of feminine women.
The list of examples was wide and varied, and I couldn’t possibly include them all here (you’d be here all week reading them!) But there were a few women who were mentioned frequently by both the men and the women.
These three ladies were Kate Winslet, Dita Von Teese and Kate Middleton.
The first think to note is that not one of these ladies could be described as pink, or fluffy.
The second thing is that they are all vastly different to each other. We have an Oscar winning Hollywood sweetheart, the international queen of burlesque and England’s newest Princess.
I don’t think that many people would describe Dita Von Teese and Kate Middleton as being particularly alike!
So if these ladies are all great examples of feminine women, and they are all so different, what is it that they have in common?
What makes them good examples of feminine women?
They are being totally true to themselves. Their words, actions, image, behaviour, are all completely aligned.
The thing to remember is that femininity is not one-size-fits-all. It is completely and totally unique to each woman, because each woman is completely and totally unique.
You don’t have to dress a certain way to be feminine.
You don’t have to do your hair and make up a certain way to be feminine.
You don’t have to act a certain way.
You don’t have to say certain things.
Femininity is not something that you put on, like a favourite dress or pair of shoes.
It is something that radiates from the inside out.
If you really are feminine inside, what’s on the outside doesn’t matter at all…people will see it. And vice versa.
If a masculine woman walked into a room in a pink dress covered in lace, people would still see that she was masculine at her core because the packaging doesn’t change who she is inside.
If a feminine woman walked into a room in jeans, a T-shirt and trainers with her hair scraped back and no makeup at all, it wouldn’t matter…people would see the femininity radiating through.
Femininity is a state of mind, a state of being.
…no pink or fluffy required.