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When Women gather

Can I share my reflections from this past Thursday evening and the magic that happens when four friends gather?

It’s been since early February that the four of us have been together. Our last outing was one filled with joyful celebration, poignant aha moments and those deep, rich conversations that fill you to the brim with gratitude for the connection we have with each other.

After every gathering, I inevitably find myself reflecting on lessons learned. In the simplest terms, we are mirrors for one another in the most spectacular ways.

From four, we have broken into natural duos offering daily, sometimes hourly, support to one another—ying to each other’s yang.

I’m not sure I can pinpoint the exact magic that happens when we all get together, but I will attempt to explain some of my thoughts & feelings.

I’ll start by saying this….these have been, by far, the most profound female relationship I have ever had. All emotions have a place; all voices have value. It’s often raw & vulnerable and downright bruitiful.

The best way I can think to describe it is for you to think of a roller coaster ride. (PS-NOT a fan here). Think of the sensation you feel rising higher and higher, climbing up and reaching for the sky all the while knowing you’re going to crest. Then the bottom will inevitably drop out, followed closely by a rush of adrenaline as you hurtle downwards. You have a choice to either be scared shitless of the descent and let fear rule OR you can embrace the ride – trusting you are held on the way down.

Can you feel that contrast? That is the gamut of emotions I feel when I’m with these women.

I find myself in awe, watching them reach higher and higher in their respective careers, paving pathways not only for themselves but also for others to follow.

It makes me proud to know them but being the reflective person I am; I inevitably start to look inward. That critical voice in my head starts with, “Why aren’t you where they are?? Why don’t you dream as large as they do?”

Have you heard that voice before?

I start to spin. It almost always results in the bottom falling out from under me & the downward spiral into negatively begins in my mind. Intense feelings of shame, being wholly inept and vastly out of my depth work at taking hold.

But here’s the beauty I’ve discovered.

I trust these women enough to say, “Hey, this is what’s happening in my brain right now,” and they listen. They don’t tell me, “That’s stupid!” They give me time to process how I’m feeling. THEN they encourage me to find those edgy spaces where I can dig a little deeper, question my own beliefs and grow right alongside them.

We don’t leave each other behind.

These women want me to succeed as much as I want them to succeed. They know we are all on our trajectories, and we can get there with greater ease and enjoyment when we support each other.

Now, this isn’t to say that I love finding those lovely edges. Hell no. Are there times I want to yell “Fuck off” because someone’s touched a tender spot? Hell ya. (I think I almost did once or twice Thursday.)

One of those tender spots has been my behaviours around understanding what healthy relationships with other women look like.

Like most, I have a fair amount of trauma when it comes to relationships with other women. I grew up in a small town where you were either in a cliche and had friends or were out. The movie Mean Girls fits my school life almost to a T.

I was excluded from groups, witnessed others talking behind my back, girls withheld friendship when feelings were hurt and the big one for me, gaining my trust and confidence and then using any information they gathered against me for leverage or embarrassment later.

What being with these women has taught me is that there is another way.

I can be honest and messy without fear. I can make a mistake but still be worth friendship and support. Being with these women has taught me that I am a better person when I can surround myself with those who push the edges of my comfort zone. Where I’m encouraged to lean in, believe in myself, and trust in their friendship.

I know for sure we are each a work in progress, but my most extensive growth areas have started at these edges.

So here’s my invitation to you.

Make it a priority to seek out women who provide this for you. Women who hold you accountable. Women who cheer for your success repeatedly. Women who show up in ways you’ve never quite imagined possible.

It may take time but trust me, it is worth it.

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