Think of all the fairytales we grew up with where the central female character is always rescued from danger through a force larger and stronger than herself.
From a young age we read or watch programs or consume images in our likeness who are very limited in their character roles. Some will be married to a handsome prince, some rescued from towers, some warned about the dangers of eating apples or straying off wooded paths. Our character choices are most often limited to innocence-lost, princess, step-mother, fairy -godmother or witch.
While modern fairytales and stories have worked to change these narratives, there's still much work to be done.
If women are going rise into positions of leadership throughout the world then we must be diligent in understanding and decoding the messages that are still rampant across our culture that objectify, undermine and shame us into the trance of unworthiness.
Instead we must begin to parent and lead by example -and trust our inner knowing. To cease seeking answers about our own experience outside ourselves.
I will never forget the first time I broke from the trance of unworthiness and it occurred to me to even dare to want more.
I had been sitting with an older, wiser woman who was asking me about my husband at the time and wanting to know if I was happy in my marriage. She seemed troubled by the fact that I could not directly answer.
I remember repeating her words back to her in the form of a question, cocking my head as if i was a confused puppy vs. a grown woman in my mid-thirties.
"Happy?" I asked.
I'd never entertained such a thought before. It had never previously mattered, or at least no one had ever genuinely asked.
She tried again;
"Does his presence bring joy to your life?"
That, I could answer, and the answer was, NO.
I'd felt only dread whenever he would come home. I had not felt any joy at his presence for almost as long as we'd been married. I'd been taught that marriage was a sacrifice and not a partnership that offered mutual opportunity for happiness and fulfillment.
In my world, I had always been expected to sacrifice my dreams for his, my needs for his, my happiness for his...
Was I even worthy of happiness? I certainly had not thought so at the time.
The next ten years of my life would be a journey into the upside down to unlearn virtually everything I'd ever been taught about my status in the world as a female, beginning with my right to happiness and fulfillment. I would eventually cease the ingrained habit looking outside myself for the answers, because at some point I'd realized that no one had ever known my answers but me.
Many women begin to notice this cultural training phenomena early on in our course-work of Loving Yourself Well.
Our practice in the initial weeks in our group is to reflect back questions that are directed toward others for our answers.
If the statement is "I don't know".
We usually respond with,
"If you did know, what would it be, or what DO you know?"
The early modules of our course are about Trusting Self and using the telemetry of the body as a way to tune into what's happening by using our inner selves to orient. Usually it's a matter of re-training long-standing habits of gaining consensus from our girlfriends and family members, and our role is to encourage the practice of getting quiet inside and listening for the sensations we'd turned off long ago.
The answers are there and if not there right away, they will come, just wait.
In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about your rights as a woman please download TRP's Bill of Rights.
The first step in your journey to Self Love is knowing your rights.
As a Woman, Never be confused about what you deserve, or how you should be treated, ever again.
I didn't know I had the right to speak my truth. I didn't know that I had been socialized to expect less than I deserve.