The media has convinced us that we’re not enough; that the only way to be of value is to buy what they are selling and they are selling a lot. For women, it’s no longer enough to be married, raise children, be employed, or give to their community; rather, we are required to remain desirable, marriageable and employable for ever.
This means we are constantly working to maintain a youthful appearance, succeed at our jobs and give to others. While questioning our purpose or what we have accomplished in life; if we really matter. After years of being bombarded with stereotypes and images of celebrities, we have lost our true self.
The consequence? We are unhappy; we self-medicate; we overeat; we overspend; we are stressed; we suffer from depression; we feel lost. As life wears us down we become more and more disconnected from our Spirit… According to society “women of a certain age”, are fat, old, sexless, useless, unattractive, fill in the blank.
In Mauritania, men find fat women desirable; before they are married young women are force-fed a diet of up to 16,000 calories a day to make them eligible for marriage, in Mauritania, fat is considered beautiful. Okay, putting aside, the force-fed part, maybe we just live in the wrong country.
We all have things we accept without question, assumptions that make up our world view. Maybe we should adjust our assumptions. We should recognize, challenge and revise these ideas because these beliefs give us mistaken messages and beliefs.
In our society, we are not taught how “to do” life so we assume life will be perfect. Fairy tales have given us the expectation that we will always live happily ever after. We have learned to fear change instead of allowing it to inspire us to new possibilities.
We need to look at life as a quest, a quest for wholeness, a quest for our true self. This is the challenge. We are wives, mothers, sisters, lovers; we have careers, dreams, successes and failures. We all struggle with questions like; “Who Am I? How can I live an authentic and meaningful life?”“What do I do now?” “What is my purpose in life? ”
Unfortunately, there is no road map; everyone’s experience is unique and so you struggle through the process, feeling lost and unsure of yourself.
Understanding how transitions work can help us navigate the process so that when we have that feeling of lostness of not knowing what to do next, we know we are in the middle of a transition.
William Bridges says all transitions (change) are composed of 3 phases (1) an ending, (2) a neutral zone, and (3) a new beginning. The first phase is an ending, a letting go. The second phase Bridges calls a neutral zone, a time of lostness and emptiness, we lose our direction, we don’t know what to do next we get frustrated. The third phase is that of a new beginning, life “we start over again with a new orientation and move forward in a different direction.” Change in life are normal.
Change can often cause chaos in our lives, but transitions can be a time of opportunity. A time to take more risks, challenge yourself, practice self-care, accept yourself, seek support, practice self-exploration, learn what makes you happy, add more fun and laughter into your life.
Don’t be in a rush. Expect to feel uncomfortable, insecure, anxious, this is part of the process, and it will pass. Approach life open to adventure. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Expect failures and detours, it’s normal. The work of discovering and designing a new life, involves imagination, persistence, patience and resolve. That is the work of becoming a resilient woman.