The daily face of women empowerment
Text by: Inga Minelgaitė-Snaebjornsson
05 January, 17    |    7 min read

Women have been called queens for a long time, but the kingdom given them isn’t worth ruling. 

Louisa May Alcott

W

omen Empowerment is a big concept and an important process. We could surely list its benefits for global society in at least thousands of pages, starting with effects on quality of interpersonal communication, coming all the way to the impact on the global GDP. Those of us who were blessed, lucky or brave enough (or crazy ?! some would say) to take proactive part in contributing to women empowerment processes, usually focus on topics such as: policies, economies, development programs, international organizations, resolutions and political agendas. We are typically focused on the top to the bottom processes that would ensure the effects for the future at a macro level. We look to the future, we aim for the change, we work to make the world a better place for upcoming generations, our granddaughters and grandsons (Oh, yes! I believe that gender equality is also in the best “interest” for men too!).

However, question I have here is: What about us? Women of today, right here and right now? How do we make our quest for women empowerment survivable/pleasant/inspiring today and every day

First point

The bliss of the dailyness one way. There was a time, when I thought I needed to do extraordinary things in order to find answers to the big questions or discover something important. Travelling around the world, bungee jumping or climbing the mountain seemed appropriate measures for such inner discoveries. I was impacted by this prevailing trend of today to focus on consumption of intensive experiences. This fashionable consumption of experience leads to ignorance of the everyday bliss (dailyness), because our mind is focused on future event that has been attached an extraordinary meaning to. Inflated expectations can never be satisfied and often are accompanied with the feeling of disappointment and most definitely with the feeling that we missed something (present) while trying to get there (future). Similarly, we get sort of disappointed at times with big programs of women empowerment: inflated expectations are attached and the waiting time for effects to kick in is often demotivating – we struggle to maintain daily motivation. The more I travelled, the more I spoke with truly achieved and happy (!) people, the more I realized the value of the ancient wisdom – of being here and now.

This is one of my philosophies in life: even when pursuing big dreams and goals, never underestimate the power of daily achievement and daily joy!

One of my mottos in life is borrowed from Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit. Indeed, the importance of the daily ritual cannot be underestimated, as it creates habits, it creates powerful force, like many drops of water create powerful stream. Therefore when we talk about women empowerment I decided long ago to make daily (regardless the “size“) contribution to this process: have a meaningful conversation, present somebody with “benefits” of women empowerment, encourage a woman who lacks self-confidence, write an article, not to allow to be judged based on my gender, speak up, etc. This is a daily mantra.

Why I focus on „small“, but daily things? 

I am a professional woman, a mother, a wife, an active member of society and as every single one of you I often lack time for “big” commitments for ideas that matter. However, the daily habit of living the empowerment keeps it on my agenda every day and long-term. It becomes unconscious process. We are often encouraged to be brave, take visible action or speak out loudly. Not everyone of us is ready for that. But what we are really ready for is looking into our unique self and finding ways for daily embodiment of women empowerment. Every single choice can be that contribution: the conversation you have with your son about women and the world, the story tale you choose to read for your daughter, the objectification cult of women you choose (not!) to participate in, etc. The power of dailyness creates strong fundament for agenda of women empowerment, as it influences long-term values and creates solid feeling of continues achievement. Therefore, I invite all of you to take small but daily steps contributing to women empowerment processes: make it a habit and choose the form that reflects your unique self!

Second point

The way of daily empowerment I call - giving is receiving. I know, we all have read tones of inspirational books about power of giving.  I know that thousands of times we felt like we have given so much, but it is getting really tiring to wait for that “receiving” to happen. I am not talking about general generosity (often turning into simple sacrifice) here. I am emphasizing on one particular source of energy.

Let me visualize it for you. Do you still remember the movie Avatar? Amazing movie about beautiful things. In one of the scenes the main character – woman “alien”- sits down by the spectacular tree – tree of souls. This tree looks like the most beautiful, powerful but at the same time a peaceful source of energy. She connects to it by using part of her body and her face enlightens. This is a spiritual and very powerful episode in the movie. Do you have the visual already? If yes, I am happy, because you see to what kind of source of energy I feel I have access daily!

My tree is the tree of empowerment – the energy that women create when united.

 

Every time I have an honest and warm conversation with a woman about things that really matter, I feel like I have connected to that big tree of goodness, power, wisdom and energy. Every single meaningful conversation feels like connecting to that big tree of energy – giving in honesty, vulnerability, and sincere wish to make other feel inspired. Receiving happens immediately – I get inspired, I see my problems as reduced size, I get motivated to go and do things, and finally, I want to give more. 

For thousands of years women supported each other in their difficult existence. My theory is that we have developed subtle levels of “support” which manifests in resilience, persistence and restlessness. We recharge each other by understanding each other’s experiences. This understanding brings about calmness, relief and feeling of inclusiveness. We feel like we have connected to that big tree, where every and each of us has turned to with our own fears, disappointments, hopelessness, but the tree “processed” it and returned to us energy and inspiration. This tree is our communication and our togetherness.

We are the biggest inspirations for each other and we are a unique source of energy in our daily life. When we connect our hearts feel lighter, souls inspired and heads are hungry for acting upon this wonderful feeling of freedom, openness and empowerment.  

Women empowerment is about increasing and improving the social, economic, political and legal strength of the women, to ensure equal rights. These are important aspects, however, I think the most important is our self-confidence and true implicit belief that we have that right to equality. We need to develop true inner belief and then illuminate that belief into the society. We can do it in many ways!

Last but not least

I would like to remind the women of the world about one fundamental, but often forgotten truth.  The truth is that we are enough. We do not need to change. All we need is awareness of our authenticity and courage of embracing it.... daily and with support from each other!

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Quote to inspire

“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.”― Ingrid Bergman

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