Being a woman can be an isolating experience. Many times at work we are the only one in the room. Even when we are not the sole member of our sex, we are still isolated by this culture of competitiveness and divisiveness between women. We’re isolated by being made to feel inferior or other our whole lives simply for being female. We must remember we are not alone, that while we are each unique, we are also connected in our shared experience of being female to every other woman out there who has dealt with something similar.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“As women we have a special connectedness with each other. We have been raised to be competitive with other women and to see them as enemies and competitors. We have also been raised to see female as inferior and told that if we wanted to get ahead, we needed to identify with men and either become like them or be what they wanted us to be. It has all been very confusing. Frequently, we have felt alone and isolated.
A major factor in our healing has been to recognize that we are women and to seek connectedness with other women. We find ourselves reflected in their stories, and our loneliness changes to connectedness.”
It can be confusing to be a woman. We are told we are less than in society’s eyes simply for the fact that we are female. We are belittled and demeaned, pitted against each other despite the fact that we face the same discrimination and challenges as each other. We come to believe that the only way we can be deemed worthy and important is if we make ourselves more like men in behavior, dress, thought, and action, or if we embody the exact feminine representation they believe we should. Either way we are catering to someone else’s unrealistic expectations, and we are not being true to ourselves. No wonder we feel so alone!
In our connectedness though, we find strength. This goes back to a recent post where we explored how being alone makes our pain, our hurt, and our struggles larger than they are. When we are connected to others, we share that burden. The load we must bear is lighter, because we do not bear it alone, but instead have others to share in our pain, to help us carry it, to feel it with us and bear witness to our experience. To validate our experiences and reassure us that we are not alone. In connectedness, we find healing. We lift each other up, helping each of us realize we are more than what other people tell us we can be.