Your ability to feel love is directly proportional to your ability to tell the truth. The more truth, the more love. ~ John Gray
Telling the truth opens us up to something greater than us. It brings us into congruency with the truth of who we are. It brings us into alignment with the way things really are, right now, right here. This is where love is. Right now. Right here. Love, the stuff of God.
Telling the truth opens us up to the edge of that vast void, the huge unknown called the new.
The New. The Now. It’s all the same. It’s the edge of unfolding.
When we tell the truth, we open ourselves to the unknown. Rather than staying in our conditioned responses, which simply lead to more conditioned responses either by us or those we are responding to, the truth leads us right into the unknown.
This is one of the reasons we shy away from telling it. And, it’s why the truth is where we are most powerful as human beings. When we are in truth, we are in our authority, we are in our power. We are aligned with the creative force of the universe. This is where we are most in service to that which calls us to speak, be, and live truth.
We also shy away from telling it because feeling this amount of love can be frightening. Can we love ourselves this much to tell the truth completely? To speak the truth within takes great courage, and that is why the root of the word courage is cour, the French word for “heart.” It also takes love. And, it gives love. Truth telling takes heart and it gives love.
Yesterday’s post, Truth and Validation, generated some pretty awesome comments. As I read through them to begin to respond, I realized a conversation is occurring right here around this topic of truth and validation, of men and women, masculine and feminine, and what happens when we are validated, either back then, or now.
I began to write responses to each of you, but considering the elegance and intelligence in each comment, that seemed almost an impossibility. Instead, I felt a new post might be more fitting.
As you’ve noticed over the years my blog has been here, I write about living the question of what it is to be female. Sometimes, I write about how this culture devalues the feminine, while honoring the masculine. And, when I write ‘this culture’, I’m including myself. I, too, was conditioned to do this, and even today, I continue to find ways in which I still, unconsciously do so.
This devaluing of the feminine causes all of us – children, women, men, animals, the earth, all of life – suffering. We are being called to honor both the masculine and feminine, within ourselves and out there in the world. Coming into balance is the key…the sacred marriage.
AND, (this is definitely a time for both/and, rather than either/or) many women experience invalidation, simply because they were girls…and are women. From the time they are young, others in their life teach them life will be different for them because they are girls, rather than boys.
These two things are different. One is something we all experience that causes us all pain. The other is something women experience. Women are the embodiment of the feminine. In a culture that devalues the feminine, it makes sense that women would be devalued, too.
Stating this doesn’t mean men don’t experience their own suffering.
From the comments:
Strand Girl writes:
“I have consistently struggled with believing that I have the same authority as the men in my world seem to have…even when I know in my gut that something feels healthy for me or my kids, I “hiccup” and let those thoughts of self-doubt creep in.”
Dian remembers the day, and its events, that caused her to believe she would amount to nothing in her life:
“I can pinpoint the exact moment I began to believe I would amount to nothing in my life…the moment my grandfather told me it was so, and simply because I was not—am NOT—a man. Today, I am grateful for that fact, but it’s been a long and windy road, full of hiccups (yes, thank you for naming that part of the process!) and questioning.”
While many women don’t specifically see occurrences of being invalidated simply for our gender, many do.
What I have found to be so important as we move into deeper acceptances of our own worth, authority, and self-love is that we honor every woman’s experiences and insights. We give room for each truth to be so. A big ol’ fat Yes/And always helps, just like in improv.
The reason I created Unabashedly Female is just this: that many of us were taught being female is the last thing on earth one should want to be.
As Jeanne wrote:
“when i first met you and discovered your juicy blog, i was somewhat taken aback by the word “female.” “feminine” – i’m okay with that. comfortable. like it. but “female”? i put my arm out to create a little space between me and that word. see, somewhere alone the way, i came to believe that being female is undesirable, something to be embarrassed about, something to (constantly) apologize for. and to precede the word “female” with the word “unabashedly”????
when i think of all the things i did and said in an effort to be “just one of the guys”, i sag. when i think of the time i covered up every picture of every female in that teen magazine with the article about the popular male singing group – taped construction paper over the females – a teen magazine, i tell you. when i think of all the persisting back problems i caused by trying for so long to kiss my elbow because someone assured me that when i did, i would become a male.”
Things are changing:
As Rebecca wrote,
“Here’s the positive: we are coming together now to restore the balance…and when this happens, our world will be strikingly different. Exciting times! I am so thankful for each one of you who bravely steps forward in creating this change by reclaiming your own truth.”
and Karen wrote,
“BUT I feel a change a’comin’”.
things are changing, and it is an exciting time. We are beginning to see a shift in how we validate each other as women, and how the culture is beginning to validate us as well.
AND, it is of the utmost importance we don’t step over anything because we feel we don’t have the right to say it, or it feels like we’re complaining, or it feels like we’re being a victim. Shoving those things down only causes them to fester, harden, and get really crusty.
Once, after my late-husband died, a grief counselor told me that grief is like dirty dishes. Grief sits in the sink waiting to be washed. The longer it sits, the more crusty it gets. Those dishes don’t just walk away.
Grief around being invalidated for simply being a girl can feel devastating…so much so that we push down the feelings way into the body where they wait for the day to be felt. It’s like any other grief. The process is one of allowing its fullness to be felt, and in so doing, it passes on its way.
There is something profound that happens when we see clearly through an old fallacy. For me, the awakening of the sacred feminine within came after I was willing to be with the feelings of bad, sinful and dirty I felt simply because I was a girl.
As Renae wrote:
“I hope that means I can, I am, stepping more and more into my own authority, listening to my own heart, believing in the good at the core of me.”
As Ronna wrote:
“I ached as I read it – aware of my own loss; the many years (from childhood into my 40s, frankly) in which I could not and did not even know how to validate my own truth.
The road back, the journey into validation (and celebration) of my own truth has been arduous – but so worth it! To be able to stand in myself, on my own, strong, confident, assured, and in this know-that-I-know-that-I-know space brings me such rest, comfort, and relief.”
When we are willing to see everything as it is, our innate wisdom becomes available.
As Heather wrote,
“Suddenly it occurred to me that I had enough wisdom, after 13 years in management, to be able to trust the way that worked for ME, not just HR management.”
Heather let go of what she had been told to do, and simply allowed herself to act from her own wisdom. The results of her actions told her clearly just how much she knows within herself.
Sharing our stories with each other is so important. Having honest truth-telling conversations helps us all to re-cognize what it means to be female in our own experience, rather than through the filter of what we were told.
As Alana so wrote:
“The conversations that happen here are so FULL and feel transformative – like we all walk away thinking and feeling more deeply into ourselves. The women who come here, share here, are powerful forces of change, of truth, of love and compassion.”
Women are powerful forces of change, the kind of change our world is dying for.
The path to transformation is through our experiences, not in spite of them. Telling the truth about the ways we’ve been invalidated is not whining or playing the victim. Feeling into and moving through these experiences transform them into wisdom.
The more truth, the more love.
As I hope you can see, I so value the wisdom you write here on this blog in response to the words I share. You help me to deepen my understanding of what it is to be female. You help me to see the places I have blinders on. You help me to know I am not alone in this inner journey to wholeness.