This week’s Thursday Thought:
A friend is the person with whom you can be completely, unreservedly, unapologetically yourself & know you will always be accepted
So last week I began to share the 25 ways I’ve discovered to create sisterhood with the women in your life…and today I finally get to share the rest with you!
14. Reach out, even when you don’t want to – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve learned that a friend was going through a tough time and when I’ve asked why they didn’t call they’ve said “I didn’t want to be a bother” or words to that effect. The most important thing to remember is that your sisters WANT to be there for you…not when you’ve started to get it together, or begun to figure it out. When it’s at it’s worst. When you need the most support. When you can’t make sense of it. When you want to cry / shout / scream. When you feel numb. It’s at those times that it’s hardest to reach out…and it’s at those times that it’s most important to do so. The deepest connections I have with the women in my life are with the ones who are my first call when I’m in a puddle on the floor…and for whom I am the same for them in return.
15. Be there when they reach out – When one of them reaches out a hand to you…be there to take it. Even if you can’t speak at that precise moment, let them know you’re here for them, that you want to speak to them and give them your full attention and arrange a time when you can speak. If you’re there for them when they need you, they want to be there for you when you need them even more.
16. Gently, and with compassion, be prepared to challenge your sisters – Sisters are your mirrors. They are the ones who will show you your reflection, in all it’s full Technicolor glory, and with love they will challenge you to see things that you might not want to, to see things from a different perspective. Be prepared to gently and respectfully challenge their perspectives if it feels right to do so. Not in a “Your wrong!! It’s this way!” kind of approach, but in a “I’m curious, have you considered this point of view?” way. We’re in this to grow together, being able to offer alternative ideas is how we grow.
17. Be open to help in a different way – It’s important to ask for what you want and need…it’s also OK to trust when it shows up in a different form. Sometimes your sisters will do things in a way that in the moment feels uncomfortable, but done with love and compassion can really help. I had a sister who we joked like to go into ‘probe mode’…when I was sharing, sometimes I wasn’t even aware that there was something underneath until she began with the probing questions. At the time, it felt uncomfortable, but I trusted her and knew it was all being done with love….and it always helped me in a way I couldn’t have anticipated.
18. Take down your defences – We’ve got very used to many women in life being our competition, and being ready to defend ourselves should someone say something we feel is an attack. In sisterhood remember that these women are on your side. They are there with you, to support you. There’s no need to have the battlements armed.
19. Trust – Trust. Trust that these women want to be in this with you. Trust that they want the best for you. Trust that they always have your best interests at heart. Trust that they are right there behind you, in your corner. Trust that they are doing the best they can, and that they know that you are too.
20. Say the thing you don’t want to say – I can’t count the number of times I’ve found myself talking to a soul sister, or soul sisters and I’ve heard myself say “I really don’t want to say this…so I know this is what I need to say”. The stuff we try and deny…the stuff we don’t want to share is the stuff that we often NEED to share. Because we have a belief, an idea, a story around it that sharing it can dispel. If you’re open about the fact that it’s difficult for you, it allows your sisters to be even more kind and gentle with you while you’re having the courage to share it.
21. Ask Questions – Be curious about your sisters, ask questions to learn more about them…take an interest. When you want to challenge, do it by asking a question that will get them to consider a different point of view. Ask them what they want. Ask them how you can support them. Ask them questions that will help them go deeper, and understand themselves better.
22. Be prepared to set boundaries if you need them – Sisterhood is about trust…and being able to say “This is my boundary, I’m asking you not to cross it” and trusting that they will respect you for it is incredibly empowering. Now I’m going to put a little caveat in here…be sure when setting boundaries you’re doing it with your best interests in mind and heart…rather than doing it to protect yourself from being ‘too vulnerable’ or going ‘too deep’. You need to feel comfortable in asking for what you need…but also be open to your sisters questioning if it really is what’s best for you, and allow yourself to respond honestly.
23. Be Gentle and compassionate – Be gentle with yourself and with your sisters…sisterhood is a very vulnerable place to be, and being gentle can make it so much easier. Compassion for yourself and your sisters will allow you to open even further, trust even more and deepen the connections between you.
24. Spend time together just being – Spend time with these women just enjoying yourselves and being. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in a pattern of the ‘deep stuff’ with your sisters…where you’re always dealing with challenges or working through something…and it’s just as important to make regular dates to go out for a meal together, go and pamper yourselves or just have a girly movie night with a bowl of popcorn!
25. Go First – I know I mentioned this in the article about finding the women who will become your soul sisters, but it isn’t something you do once and it’s done…it’s a choice to continue going first. If you go first, and go deep you give them permission to do the same. You create the space, you set the bar, you open up the conversation and therefore allow the connection to go deeper. In doing so you open yourself up to a depth relationship that otherwise wouldn’t have been open to you. You create the depth of relationship you want, by having the courage to share deeply yourself first.
It will connect you to what it means to be a woman in a way you never realised possible.
Your concept of friendship increases in breadth and depth…the possibilities are endless, and you begin to understand that true friendship is limitless.
Your soul sisters will become your cheerleaders, our safety net, your guides, your teachers, your sages, your mirrors, your soul mates, your family and your sanctuary.
My soul sisters are a vital part of my life and I’m grateful for them every single day.
They make life easier, they make life more enjoyable.
They will hold a special place in your heart that cannot be filled by anyone or anything else, and I wish for you to create these amazing, life altering relationships for yourself.
The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about sisterhood and the importance, value and power of really deep, mutually fulfilling relationships with other women.
We began by looking at the difference between acquaintances, friendship and sisterhood and understanding the reasons why sisterhood is so different and so important. Then last week we looked at how you can find the women who could become your soul sisters.
So you know you want to create sisterhood with women in your life, and you’ve found the women with whom you want to develop a deeper connection and relationship…so the next question is, “How do you create sisterhood?”
What does sisterhood look like? How does it grow and develop?
What makes women who are soul sisters different? What to they do differently? What do they say differently? How do they behave differently?
The path to sisterhood is simple…but not always easy.
To create sisterhood with other women means removing any and all masks, letting down your barriers, and opening your heart to another woman with no conditions. Accepting everything you are, being everything you are, showing everything you are and allowing them to be everything they are too.
Oh is that all? No Problem!
The more of the real, whole you that you allow them to see, the deeper the connection will be.
So what does that really mean? What does it look like in your real life, day-to-day interactions?
Well I’ve identified 25 ways to help you to create sisterhood with the women in your life, and today I want to share the first of these with you:
Number 13 seems to be the perfect place to pause, being how relevant the number 13 is for us women (if you have any concerns about 13 being unlucky…I know how you feel, I used to be the same….but pop over here to find out how powerful the number 13 is for us ladies!)
So I’ll leave you with a couple of questions to consider…how do you create sisterhood? What are your thoughts on the first 13 ways to create sisterhood? Do you have any questions about sisterhood? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please drop me an email Claire@feminine1st.com and let me know what you think.
I’d like to invite you to have a play with these this week, try some of them on and see how they feel…and be sure to pop back next week to see the rest of the 25 ways you can create sisterhood with other women.
So last week I shared an article about the importance of sisterhood for women like us, and how to understand the difference between acquaintances, friendship and sisterhood.
Understanding the importance, value and power of these kinds of relationships with other women is something that has dramatically changed my life.
But understanding that you want these kinds of relationships with other women doesn’t mean that they’re magically going to appear.
Well, being honest, knowing that these are the kinds of relationships you want with other women will mean that you become more aware of the people that you’re meeting, more aware of the people around you and more aware of the kind of women you want to spend time with.
This awareness is the first step towards creating these kinds of relationships with other women.
It’s like when you go shopping for something. If you know what you’re looking for (and what you’re not looking for) it’s a little bit easier to find. You head straight to the store or department that has the kind of thing you’re looking for, and when you get there it’s often easy for you to notice the things that fit what you’re looking for, and for you to rule out those that don’t.
Likewise if you’re looking to create deep relationships with other women, there are some places where you’re more likely to connect with women of a similar mind and heart than others.
For example if you’re wanting to connect with others who understand and embrace what it means to be a woman, are curious about femininity and what it might mean to them and creating connections with like-hearted women, then looking for those kinds of connections with highly driven ‘ball-busting’ corporate women at a high-powered business networking event might not be the ideal starting point.
On the other hand, in online or local communities for women to connect, share and grow together (like the Feminine 1st Facebook Group for example) you may find other women who are looking for the same sorts of connections as you are.
When it comes to meeting and connecting with the women who will become your soul sisters, there are a few pieces of advice that I can offer from my own personal experience:
So if you want to create these kinds of relationships with other women in your life, these are the ways for you to find the sort of women that you really want to connect with at a deep level.
How do you create sisterhood? What does it look like?
Well, that is where the magic happens…so come back next week, when I will be sharing with you how to create these kinds of relationships with the women in your life, and what sisterhood really means, what it really looks like…and how it can change your life.
In the meantime though remember, be the kind of woman who you want to have these kinds of relationship with. Once you begin doing that, you’ll be surprised what shows up…
I don’t know about you…but my journey of experiences with other women has been an interesting ride.
Having been bullied by girls at every school I ever went to, I found it incredibly difficult to trust, rely on, open up to or really connect deeply with other women.
I’d learned through school that the girls (and guys) around me were my competition. We were always been scored and compared to each other. Who was the best in the class? Who came first? Who was better than me? Which led to us constantly judging ourselves against everyone else.
Then came the teenage years…and the onslaught of the media through magazines, TV and film. Everywhere you looked people were judging others…especially the women. Who looked better in the same dress? Who had put on weight? Who had cellulite?
Magazine articles such as “New Celebrity Bikini Diets” or “Find out how ________ lost her baby weight in two weeks!” had us reaching for impossible (and often unhealthy) standards…and continually measuring ourselves against the women around us to see if we were ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ in the attractive stakes.
Every step of the way we were learning to judge others and compare ourselves to them.
We had female friends, of course, but the friendships were often tinged with a hint (or more) of competitiveness.
We wanted to support our friends, to be there for them, to enjoy fun times together…but we also compared ourselves to them and felt bad when we didn’t feel that we measured up.
Only recently I learned that a friend who I negatively compared myself too throughout most of my teenage years, was actually doing exactly the same thing but comparing herself to me in return!
These more masculine traits of judgement, competition and comparison have denied us the gift of real friendship with other women. Without us even knowing it they’ve created barriers, distance and blocks to the kind of connections that are available to us when we take a more feminine approach to friendship.
So today I share with you an unusual suggestion…a suggestion that whoever you are, whatever other elements you’ve included in your unique femininity formula that this is one you definitely add in…
I would love to share more with you about this and so many incredible topics, and so I’d like to invite you today to join the Feminine 1st Family as a Bronze Member or to become a Free Member to enjoy over 80 Free Videos.
What does Bronze Membership Give Me? Well in addition to all of the features of our Free Membership (including the “First Steps to Femininity” MP3 and over 80 free videos), you will also get access to all future premium Feminine 1st videos for the duration of your membership. You will also have the opportunity to submit requests for topics to be covered or questions to be answered in these weekly videos.
When someone sends something onto me, I always take the time to look at it…after all, there’s a reason they’ve sent it my way.
When more than one person sends me the same thing in the space of only a few hours I really sit up and pay attention.
A few days ago I received this image via a number of different sources, which told me a few things:
I shared the image via the Feminine 1st Facebook group, and this morning I noticed that it was the most popular item I’ve shared recently…this image was resonating with people…and I understood why.
When an image, quote or video like this resonates with people there are normally two reasons:
Unfortunately, a lot of the women I meet fall into the second group.
So many women recognise and understand that there is something missing in their lives, but they can’t quite put their finger on it.
Something isn’t quite right, something is lacking…but they’re not sure what.
Sometimes it can be hard to know what you need and want, if you’ve never experienced it. It’s like someone asking you to tell them something you’ve forgotten…you know that there’s something, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
…and it is something that is so fundamental to the feminine that I can’t really put into words how important it is.
Deep connection with other women.
In this world of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram we are connected to more people than ever before…but many of these connections are nothing more than words on a screen.
The connections and relationships exist just under the surface…based on status shares, tweets, comments and ‘likes’.
We have more ‘friends’ than ever before…but we are missing the depth of connection that has the power to really support us, change us and help us to grow.
When it comes to connections of this nature between women, we tend to label them all as ‘friends’.
What so many women don’t understand is that there is so much more available to us…if we have the courage to create it.
Most connections start as acquaintances, with a sense of familiarity that goes beyond that of strangers, but doesn’t quite put them into the category of friends. They are the people with whom you tend to make polite small talk or a chat when your paths cross through mutual friends or interests, but not people with whom you feel a real trust or friendship with…yet.
Once the connection deepens…we tend to enter the realm of ‘friendship’. A deeper bond has been created, there is a trust, a desire to support each other, to spend time together, to chat, to enjoy fun times with. There’s a reciprocity present in most friendships…we expect to give and receive in roughly equal measure, and if the scales tip in one direction or another for too long we feel uneasy. We are there for them, and in return they are there for us. We laugh together, we cry together, we share in each others lives.
What more could you want?
If you need to ask this question then you’ve not experienced the next level of female connection: Sisterhood.
Sisterhood is where everything opens up (whether you want it to or not!)
When you choose sisterhood, you choose to accept everything that a person is, everything that they’re not, everything they have been and everything they will be, unreservedly, without judgment, exactly as they are.
Sisterhood expands everything you have in friendship, beyond boundaries that you didn’t even know existed.
Does this mean that sisterhood doesn’t have any problems / arguments / challenges / issues?
Not at all!
It means that you don’t give the polite answer, or the one that you think the other person wants. You tell is as it is, gently, and with compassion… you share your truth, openly and honestly….and you work through it together.
Sisterhood is raw. Sisterhood is vulnerable. Sisterhood takes courage to create.
Sisterhood is perfectly imperfect.
At times, it’s messy; it is not always easy to be that open, that vulnerable and that real with another person. They will show up and reflect everything that you love about yourself…as well as all the stuff you’d really rather wasn’t there.
But it is also one of the most fulfilling types of relationship you can ever experience.
Experiencing sisterhood first-hand has changed my life.
I have thousands of friends on Facebook, a huge number of friends in my phone…and I can count the number of ‘soul sisters’ I have on my hands.
A short while ago I was speaking to one of my ‘soul sisters’ about how to describe our relationship, what it is at its essence.
Her response described it perfectly: “Unconditional Love”.
The thing is, when you strip all the pretense away, when you allow yourself to be completely and totally seen by another woman something powerful happens. When you share all your hopes, dreams, fears, worries and celebrations…when you share all of you.
When you remove every piece of protection, just being there with nothing more than your heart in your hand, and you connect with another woman who is doing the same thing, you create a real, beautiful, genuine, deep connection that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Through sisterhood we get to explore and understand what it really means to be women. We get to grow together and understand our femininity at a deeper, more visceral level.
If you have these kinds of connections with other women in your life, cherish them. Take time to nurture them, to develop them and to enjoy them.
…and if you haven’t experienced these kinds of connections yet (the key word here being ‘yet’)…then look out for next week’s article because I will be sharing with you how to find your ‘soul sisters’, and how to create this beautiful dynamic of sisterhood with them.
Every single woman deserves connections like this in her life…including you.
If you haven’t found them yet, there’s an incredible world of connection just waiting for you to discover it…
We’ve all had those times.
The ones where everything seems to hit all at once.
Where just as you begin to catch your breath and find your feet, the next wave hits you, then the next, then the next, then the next.
Well the last month or two have been a bit like that for me…there have been a plethora of events and situations that have hit one after the other.
I’m sure sometime soon I’ll share more about what’s been happening, but to give you an idea included in this time period has been major surgery for my Mum, my Grandmother spending two weeks (and still counting at time of writing) in hospital and one of my dearest friends going in for yet another surgery which has not been a smooth as we would have hoped.
So over the last couple of months there have been highs, there have been a lot of lows, there have been intense emotions and there have been moments of numbness.
It’s at times like this that you need support.
I’ll be the first to admit that there have been times that I’ve been running around trying to help everyone else out and I’ve committed the cardinal sin of losing focus on my own self-care.
(Side note…this lack of self-care has now been addressed and a much more calm and peaceful Claire has emerged…balance is being restored gradually…)
But in addition to self-care times like this are the times that you need good friends.
…in fact, it’s not just good friends you need, it’s great friends.
Friends who know you, your heart and soul so well that they instinctively give you exactly what you need.
…and over this slightly challenging period of time that I’ve been experiencing I’ve identified the 6 types of friend that every woman needs to help get her through, and today I want to share them with you:
The beauty of these 6 types of friends is that they’re not mutually exclusive, but they also can be. You can have 6 different people who fill each of the 6 roles, or you can have one person who covers them all.
I’m lucky…I have a number of friends who cover more than one of these types, and some who cover them all.
Most importantly I have a core of very close people, my soul family, who know me, love me and accept me, completely unconditionally, exactly as I am. I wish for you to find and cultivate friendships like these in your life.
…and how do you find friends like this? It’s simple. You be a friend like this.
It doesn’t mean that everyone you meet will instantly become this kind of friend, but it does mean that when you meet the ones who could…you’ll create an instantaneous, deep and mutually fulfilling connection…the likes of which you can’t imagine until you’ve experienced it firsthand.
Oh, and the last thing to mention? Having these types of friends is great. But they can only do their thang if you reach out and let them.
So being this kind of friend is important. Equally important is allowing these amazing people to be this kind of friend to you.
Let them know you need their support.
…and then allow yourself to receive, and show your gratitude when you do.
Friends like this are worth their weight in gold….and I’m lucky enough to have my very own personal goldrush. I hope you are too…
…and today I’m dedicating this article to the phenomenal friends in my life. I love each and every one of your deeply, from the bottom of my heart.