Friday, May 27, 2011

The Power of Women

I have four daughters and one son.  They range in ages from 12-20 years.  We are talkers.  We talk about almost anything.  One of the things we talk about a lot is human behavior.

Recently we were watching a movie.  One girl got angry at another girl for a perceived offense.  She then began to systematically ruin this girl's social life.  And so began our conversation.

My son didn't see it coming.  My daughters were all able to predict what would happen each step along the way.  It seems this is one way males and females are still different.

My husband taught me about how boys handle things like this.  He told me a story about when he was in junior high.  A boy had a problem with him, didn't like him.  He told my husband so.  My husband said that was fine because he didn't like the boy either.  Soon the fists were flying.  They both got in trouble.  The police were involved.  They learned their lesson.  And before long, they were good friends.

As I've talked to men over the years I've come to understand that this is a common happening.  Guys have a problem, they deal with it (not always with fists), and often they become friends afterward.  If not, at least they are direct and know where they each stand.  Then they just leave each other alone.

Girls, on the other hand, are not as direct.  They often continue to act friendly in person but destroy each other behind their backs.  They spread rumors, they steal friends, they poison the social waters in any way they can.  And it works.  It works because girls/women are of the heart.

We understand how people feel.  We learn what is important to them.  We understand that they are social creatures, that cutting off their social support is like suffocating them.  We know how to hurt another person in a way that is so much deeper than a physical injury.  And because we are of the heart, these wounds damage us.  This attack works.

I wish I could say this ends in junior high.  For some of us it probably does.  I've known some incredible women who would never say anything bad about another person, who would never strike at another's soul.

I wish I was one of them, but I'm not.  Sometimes I'm petty.  Sometimes I'm jealous and self-centered.  Sometimes I'm just impatient.  And often I am critical.

As women we have an incredible ability to do good.  We can use this same power to lift others up.  Instead of seeing how those around us don't measure up, we can look for things they are doing well and praise them.  We can encourage them.  We can thank them.  It's this same exact power -- the power of the heart -- that offers us this choice.  We can do so much good or so much harm.

People don't need to be told what they are doing wrong; they already know.  They need to be told that they are of worth.  They need to be told that they are capable of better, that we believe in them.  They need to be appreciated for what they have to offer, not told how they are lacking.

I am a woman.  I have the power of the heart.  I commit today to use this power more wisely and kindly.  Because I can.  I have a choice.  I hope you will join me.


Bonnie said...

I am WOMAN! Feel me LOVE! Love love love this post. That's absolutely it - we have a choice to act with our incredible power to create/destroy in self-serving or other-serving ways. I choose too. And I love you all the more for sounding the gathering signal.

From Tracie said...

I absolutely love what you have written here!

The power of the heart. That is huge.

I choose to join you.

Katy said...

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah! Another three cheers for your posts! If only we can teach our daughters their power for good, too!

Maricris Zen Mama said...

I think because we are of the female specie, we are raised to be nice all the time. But yes, we have the power to change this. Thank you for sharing your story!

Kelly Latour said...

I am with you! It's incredible what one positive statement can do for your day or your week. We are all so hard on ourselves, having someone else say the things you doubt has such power.
Thanks for writing this one! I needed it after the week i've had....

Running Circles said...

Every word is so true. Women/girls can be some of the cruelest creatures and at the same time can lift you into the sky. Great post!

Katie Gates said...

"People don't need to be told what they are doing wrong; they already know." WELL PUT!!!

Elly said...

This is something I DEFINITELY need to remember more often. Growing up, I was never a "mean girl," and I still am not that mean, but I can be petty, and I hate it. My energy would be much better spent in kindness!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Robin, you are so beautiful and so wise. I love what you say here and it is 100% true.

Wonderful post.

Stephi said...

This is so true....I only need to watch and episode of The Hills or The Real Housewives to see this horrible aspect of women displayed in the worst way.

I am guilty of doing some truely bitchy things to some girls that have hurt me. And I have really regretted it. It is continous decision we need to make not to give in to our weaker side. Very wise words Miss Robin!.