Femininity is a way of being, and it is within you. Femininity is not about conforming to an archetypal idea of what feminine is or isn’t. It isn’t about being the submissive housewife, nor about the modern woman who has it all together.
That being said, belief systems and conditioning passed down to us may have obscured our own feminine. To cope with our ancestors’ pain, many of us may put on a false, defensive facade because we were taught that being vulnerable, wild, and feminine was not accepted. After all, our wild feminine was deeply feared by our society.
In order to understand how to reclaim our feminine, we may want to understand why our feminine was suppressed in the first place.
Aristotle’s views on women influenced some Western thinkers, as well as Islamic thinkers. In his Politics, Aristotle saw women as subject to men, and he compares this to the relationship between human beings and tame animals — ‘It is the best for all tame animals to be ruled by human beings. For this is how they are kept alive. In the same way, the relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.’ Aristotle, Politica, ed. Loeb Classical Library, 1254 b 10–14.
As a result, I believe such philosophy has influenced religion, and hence the underlying beliefs of some institutions and fundamentalism. Such institutions see the feminine as “inferior” and “defective,” perhaps as a form of control. As a result, many women, including some of our mothers, influenced by such belief systems, may have denied and suppressed their femininity as a result.
And these women may have believed that their feminine gifts were not valuable, and that they had to develop traits that were deemed more “masculine” in order to be valued by society. As a result, they may have also passed down such beliefs to their sons and daughters. And some fathers may have passed down such beliefs as well and encouraged their offsprings to repress their feminine gifts as they did not know how to deal with the feminine given such belief systems.
And, many of our female ancestors may have been afraid to discover and pursue their “feminine gifts” because they were afraid of negative consequences as a result of such beliefs passed down from generations. Given the above, they may have buried themselves in grief and sadness due to societal obligations, as well as not being able to express their gifts. Some of them may not have the awareness that the feminine should also be embraced and valued as much as the masculine, for it represents the creation of life — mother Earth.
Given their resentment, many mothers may have passed their pain onto their daughters and sons. Many maybe in denial, but dying for the freedom to be liberated from the cages of such beliefs.
As some of our mothers may have betrayed their own wild feminine given the aforementioned institutions, they maybe expecting us to do the same so we would not jeopardize their safety — Our wild feminine can be scary to some of our maternal figures because they are cut off from their own feminine.
For such maternal figures to accept our feminine side and needs, they would have to admit to what they have been denying all along — our ancestors’ suppression of their femininity and gifts, as well as their need to feel protected, instead of controlled, by men.
By killing our feminine side, our mothers could continue to be in denial so they do not have to look into their own pain. They did not believe they deserved any better, and they passed these “lies” to us.
The above leads to the mother wound — the pain of being a woman passed down through generations of women. As a result of the mother wound, many of us may mistakenly and subconsciously be rejecting our feminine.
It doesn’t have to be this way…
We can reclaim our feminine by being with our pain and exploring our shadow. When we clear the dust that is obscuring our essence, our femininity will immediately shine on its own, in a unique way, like a diamond.
In order to do so, learning to question our beliefs relative to the feminine is the first step to the healing process. And, below are few tips to help you reclaim your femininity.
#1: Examine beliefs relative to what being feminine means
When you dive into your subconscious mind, and examine any and all beliefs passed down to you by your mother, your father and your ancestors, you can better understand what being feminine means in you and your family, adopt beliefs that you feel reflect your feminine, and drop beliefs you feel suppress your feminine self from shining.
#2: Identify beliefs that reflect and suppress your feminine
As you continue to examine your beliefs and familial patterns, you may begin to identify beliefs that suppress your femininity. Such beliefs maybe formed as a result of trauma or/and events in the past passed down from your family and ancestors. When you continue the process, you may even start to grieve the loss of your feminine self in the past.
#3: Heal your suppressed feminine through shadow work and being unconditionally present with your negative and positive emotions
And, to reprogram and/or unwind such beliefs in order to reclaim your feminine self, you need to heal your trauma and past conditioning that suppresses your unique feminine essence from expressing through you. To do so requires you to be completely present with your negative and positive emotions — sadness, anger, grief, joy, love — and not making them wrong.
To be present with your negative emotions, you simply breathe, and take the time to sink into the feeling when negative emotions arise. Let yourself experience the emotions and use them to gain awareness of your feelings, and why you are feeling a certain way.
#4: Cultivate compassion and openness to yourself and others
When you embrace negative emotions and accept, instead of reject, parts of you that you feel shamed of, you begin to cultivate openness, compassion and gentleness towards yourself, and the world.
As you continue to cultivate this compassion, you start to love yourself and parts of you that you have rejected. For example, if you have always rejected the part of you that is angry, you may feel shame when you experience emotions of anger, and start suppressing such emotions. You may have been taught that being a woman means that you have to be agreeable and not show anger under any circumstance.
When you start feeling sensations of anger, you may start to reject your emotion of anger initially. However, as you learn to tap into this emotion and sit with it, you can experience the “negative” emotion without resisting or judging it. And in that space, you can cultivate compassion by validating the part of you that is hurt and angry, and asking her what she needs.
By just giving the “negative” emotion, in this case, anger, the space to express itself, you are cultivating compassion for yourself. You may want to commit to sitting and just being with your emotions for just 5 minutes a day as a practice, or even pick up a silent yoga practice with a seasoned instructor who is in touch with his/her emotions to cultivate such compassion.
#5: Take care of yourself by saying no and setting boundaries — drop “doing it all”
Being gentle with yourself also means taking care of yourself. This means listening to yourself and saying no to things that do not serve you.
In order to listen to yourself, you need to learn to embrace your positive and negative emotions, and take action based on your intuition — only you will know what is best for you.
For example, instead of “forcing” yourself to go to a meeting you don’t want to go to, or chores/tasks you don’t want to do, you can be gentle with yourself and say no — by declining the meeting, delegate such chores/tasks to others, rest, or do it another day.
And when you say no, you are saying yes to yourself — your energy, your time, your space — and you start to become more gentle with your body because you are actually listening to what she really needs.
And in the process, you may notice the part of you that is judging yourself for saying no, for not “doing it all,” and you can also cultivate compassion for that voice. That voice is likely to be an internalized parent’s voice, and/or voice from society. Know that you are enough 😉Conclusion
The wild feminine still shines, no matter how much it has been suppressed, even if it was faced by brute force and encountered many thorns.
Being vulnerable and feminine means being able to open up in love, even if the world may punish your light. The wild feminine wants to be seen, and promised that you won’t ever abandon or invalidate her again, no matter how scary the process maybe.
The feminine is strong and powerful. No matter how much our femininity may have been punished, it persists, despite the pain, the beating, the attempted slaying of it — it simply rises from the ashes, like the Phoenix.
If you are feeling held back by fear, doubt, past conditioning, I hope that you’ll remember this — What will set you free is being completely present with your emotions, feeling them, and know that this too shall pass.
There is tremendous freedom in that. Being feminine, open, alive, and feeling everything that is takes immense strength and courage, and your femininity is worth fighting for.
Let us dream a new reality by honouring our individual femininity. Feel. Love. Be Wild. Reclaim the part of yourself that is lost from years of conditioning, sadness, grief, and anger. Embrace our femininity and let it shine.
Originally published at nicolelana.com. Revised in November 2019.Call to Action
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