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The truth about mean girls

In the final part of this series, today we’re going to dive into what I consider the layer that makes everything else work. How we stay sane despite all the curveballs life throws your way.  

Sisterhood.

The truth is that women need women. 

My day doesn’t start until I connect on the phone with my mom or one of my cherished close girlfriends.

But, I know what some of you are thinking: “Really? Women are such a huge pain in my ass. They are back-stabbing, back-biting, untrustworthy, and selfish. There is no way on this earthly earth that a woman would give me support! She would probably just step all over me as she crawls her way to the top, and I have the battle scars to prove it.”

And yes, it is true that women have been given a really, really bad rap inside this patriarchal world culture.

The norms of the world in which we were raised do not teach us to embrace each other. 
 
I don’t think any of us get through our childhood or adulthood without being mean-girled. Or mean-girling others.
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Perhaps the worst consequence of the patriarchal belief system is that we end up unable to connect to other women in a deep trusting way, much less through joy, radiance, and pleasure.
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If we want connection with other women, we’re conditioned to get it via our mutual victimization.

We end up able to communicate only about the negatives in our lives. We are likely to talk about what kind of flu bug we just had, or bitch about our boss, or complain about how our husband forgot our birthday again.
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But we don’t dare reveal anything good about ourselves, or our lives. We would never share about the great sex we just had with our hot boyfriend, or how much we love our job and how incredibly well-paid we are. Why? We don’t want other women to feel bad. 

We assume that there isn’t enough good to go around, so our radiance is a threat to other women. We don’t want her to hate us for having a great life, so we stay focused on everything that’s going wrong.
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To relate with other women, we’re conditioned to connect around our bad luck, mistreatment, and despair. Bad news is our entry point; we have absolutely no shame about leading with the negative. But to start with the spectacular news of our lives? We cringe.

This keeps all of us small and less than we are capable of being and becoming.
 
This kind of cultural agreement is another form of enslavement. It binds us to negativity, instead of our potential. When a woman is taught by her culture to only communicate about the negative, she begins to place “positive value” in the negative. It becomes our negative experiences that buy us access into relationship with other women. 

(In our December 2nd and 3rd intro event, you will experience first-hand what it’s like to witness and be witnessed. The feeling of sisterhood and what it facilitates is one of the most transformative aspects of the weekend. This intro course is my gift to you. All the details are here if you want to find out more.)

So what does Sisterhood mean exactly?
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It means we turn out for each other’s charitable endeavors. We open our homes for travelling friends no matter where we are in the world. If a Sister is having a bad day, a heartbreak, a health crisis, we rally. We stand. She is not alone. We are not alone.

It means that the country—the world—is loaded with women who can be counted on to laugh their panties off with one another. Women who can cry with wild abandon in each other’s arms, share their outrageous dreams, encourage and expand the dreams of one another. Women who insist on each other’s beauty, passion, and full-throttle joy.

In a world where light, passion, desire, outrageousness, and pleasure are not understood or revered, there exists an ever-expanding community of women who value all of the aspects of womanhood—both in themselves and in each other.

Because in a community of deep, rich multi-dimensional relationships with women, if your Mama is not present for you, there is a Sister who gives you some “mama.”If the love of your life has not appeared yet, there are so many flavors of Sisterly love and affection to keep you sleek and shining with appreciation and fun as you move towards finding partnership. When a deep crisis occurs, it is your Sisters who hold you up and keep you close while you find your footing again.

Sisterhood centers us. Reminds us of who we are, teaches us so that we can locate our joy no matter what the circumstances, takes us back to ourselves as source, when we have blown off course and given our power away. It means that no matter the legacy of our childhood, the circumstances of our relationships, who our mother was, our husband, our boyfriend, our job, or lack of job, we are each pure, raw potential, capable of replanting ourselves in the fertile soil of Sisterhood, and reinventing ourselves, surrounded by love. 

Alone she is worse than fragile. Her delicate thread of connection to herself and her power can snap in a moment, throwing her whole system off balance, affecting her physical and mental health.
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Sisterhood is the safe space where you get to connect with your truth, and have it celebrated. Supportive sisterhood allows the real you to shine through. Not the image of you that you think everyone wants to see. Not the you that placates, the you that cooperates, the you that compromises. The real you. My brilliance lives, reflected back to me, in the eyes of my sisters. When I stand for another woman’s greatness, I ground myself securely and even more deeply in my own.
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When I am in a community of turned-on, tuned-in women, I am not just the source for everything and everyone in my life, but I am sourced and fueled by my tribe.

Here are 3 ways to up your game around Sisterhood in your life: 

1.  Reverse the negativity habit. Begin to find a group of women that are open to and interested in bragging. You can test this out, one woman at a time, simply by suggesting to your friend that you each brag about something good that is happening now, in your lives. You can use my book as a guide. And don’t worry if you can only find one woman to brag with. It’s a start! Make a commitment to brag every single week. If you really want to hit the gas pedal on this, decide to brag together, every day. And be sure to upride each other’s brags. That means to praise each other for how wonderful each other’s brags are.

2.  Create space for your unfiltered truth. Every single one of us has both intensely good experiences and intensely bad experiences, and everything in between. Since we are accustomed to doing a lot of complaining with our women friends, we don’t realize that the act of complaining actually creates a lot of negativity and stress in our lives. It is quite stressful to listen to someone we love do a lot of complaining. In fact, sometimes I think that it is even more stressful and painful and frustrating to have to listen to the same complaints over and over again. Yet, we have to have a place to be able to dump our frustration, our crazy monkey-mind stirrings, our not-so-wonderful judgments, our fill-in-the-blanks. If we don’t get it out, we stuff it in. Spring Cleaning is a communication exercise I teach in my book, that allows us to hold space for a friend to release the intensely negative feelings they might have, without having to talk about it, or solve it. We all need a place to dump our garbage, but we do not have to use up valuable communication time or hang out time to complain ad nauseum. Sharing those feelings is so important, but making sure they don’t dominate the relationship is equally important.

3.  Schedule Sisterhood. It is the sad truth that most of us simply do not live in a world where community and sisterhood is embedded into our everyday lives. Like anything important to us, we’ve got to get our priorities in our calendars, or they simply won’t happen. I get together with one very special gang of friends, with whom I practice a lot of the tools and arts in my book, at least once a month. We e-mail each other almost daily. I live down the street from another friend, so we have dinner once a week or so. And I make sure to continually reach out and keep tabs on my many other besties, asking for help as needed, and seeing where I can contribute, as needed. If you are just getting started in creating your posse of girlfriends, don’t be afraid to be the firestarter and the cheerleader. Women are just beginning to learn each other’s value, and we each need someone to open a door to sisterhood, for us. The fact that you are reading this e-mail right now makes you the leader. Tag, you are it, lady. I cannot wait to see what you can create!

In the comments below, let me know about your experiences in sisterhood. How have women stood for you and impacted your life? Give me specifics. There is so much joy in these inspiring stories. Tell me about the women who have really been there, through thick and thin. Have you been mentored? Do you mentor others? What have been the key ingredients and elements that have gone into your friendships with other women?

Finally, if you are interested in deepening your connection with women, and joining a tribe of the most amazing women from all over the world, please join me, live, for The Womanly Arts Experience on December 2nd and 3rd.
 
With so much love and pleasure,

Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts

P.S. Check out the other posts in this 4-part series: The 4 Keys to an Extraordinary Life, How to Get Out of Your Head, and The secret ingredient to, ummm, everything.

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10 Comments / Leave a Comment

10 comments… add one

  • Toni Baker November 15, 2017, 4:00 pm

    I used to be the ‘arranger’ in our group. I initiated outings, provided information on celebrations and needs for support. But, when the tables turned and I was the one that needed the shoulders, I retreated into trying to handle my plethora of responsibilities.

    When my burden became too much for me, I reached out – looking for nothing more than validation of my feelings. They responded: first they chastised me for waiting so long, then rallied around me to provide what I needed. Women can be supportive; we just have to get past the nonsense that has been fed to us. There still are some women in my life that cling to that ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality. I pray for them and refuse to let myself believe that.

  • Lady Flo November 15, 2017, 3:07 pm

    For about 20 years now I have met with usually 3 good friends on Saturday mornings for breakfast. We listen to and support each other. Unfortunately, about 4 years ago one friend became so negative that 2 of us had to opt out of the gathering. We received a very scathing email from here. The 3 remaining friends then got back into the habit once again. Sadly one died from breast cancer 1 1/2 years ago. This left just two and soon we had a third. This friend was going through a tough time and really needed the support. I’ve loved our Saturday’s together and our sharing and support. At the same time the negative often seems to dominate, for instance the cancer. How does one be supportive and yet not let the negative over power the conversation? Thank you.

  • Priscilla November 15, 2017, 8:24 am

    I have truly enjoyed reading this post I have several mentors,professional and spiritual one as well. These individual have poured into me so much .Even at the age I am it’s refreshing and new. Women can help other s if we chose to be available , physically , emotionally.

  • Catherine November 15, 2017, 7:26 am

    Hm. I’ve never really had any sisterhood since I was a teenager at school with a group of friends. Most women seem to feel intimidated by me and just put me down all the time. I haven’t really felt sisterhood at all. I generally get on with men better, but they are often intimidated by me too. What’s happening…

  • Libby November 14, 2017, 2:56 pm

    I love a lot of this. My soul resonates with your observations and how we as women find deeper intimacy by complaining and focusing on the negative. However, your suggestion to negate this habit by finding a partner to brag with feels forced and would likely at least for me feel unhelpful. Positive reflections feel like a better method than bragging, which feels like an ego-driven effort to superficially cover insecurities. I suppose my discomfort with bragging may be a result of the patriarchy but I think regularly making positive reflections with your friends is contagious and those who feel bad will eventually just not vibe. Bragging to me just doesn’t sound appealing. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude that is real and constant does.

  • Ana Verzone November 14, 2017, 1:34 pm

    This rings so true for me – I hung out with boys for all of my teens and early 20s, since the girls in my life betrayed me deeply. It wasn’t until my mid-20s, when I began working as a professional climbing guide, that I was able to spend time with more women that were so confident in themselves, they didn’t need to bring down another woman. They would cheer me on, help me, support me. It was life-changing. I opened up more to the women that were in my life, and they are the dearest and most loyal friends now. I now have a 3 year-old daughter, and I pray that she will have friends that are loyal to her so she can feel sisterhood from the start.

  • Lady Camille November 14, 2017, 12:25 pm

    I have had the pleasure of being a part of several different Sisterhoods.
    From Rainbow Gathering spiral circles under the Full moon to a dedicated group making Spirit children for our altars as we discuss the lessons of life.
    I Love your no complaining suggestions. Gossip is another full time toxic topic for many women.

    When I was married and raising 3 sons the energy was strange to host Sisterhood circles. Kicking everyone out so I could gather ladies together was met with resistance. Now that I’m living alone I keep dreaming of hosting small gatherings with close friends. And you tagged me….So better get on it.

  • Inez🌺 November 14, 2017, 11:29 am

    Great energy! 🙂

  • Peggy Clancy Reskin November 14, 2017, 11:07 am

    Regina: I met you in 1988 when you came to the Oakland Morehouse during your est course. It is no surprise that you have taken your genuine and authentic expression of love and passion for women into your Mamagena. It’s magnificent! I’ve met more than a few women alive & thriving from the Mastery you offer. I wrote a book Barefoot Frontrunners: Sex, Women & Power and work with women who want more intimacy and greater authentic expression in their lives. Totally appreciate and speak of you and Mamagena often, and look forward to having more of you in my life,
    Best, Peggy Reskin

  • Ágota November 14, 2017, 11:06 am

    Hi Mama,

    Thank you so much for you emails and teaching. After two terrible marriage and bringing up my two sons as a single mom I have my best part of my life partly because I am reading your inspiring essays.

    First thing in the mornings ask myself: Dear Agota, how would you like to enjoy life your day and I give myself everything I need. Jogging, yoga, meditations, clean eating, reading a lot, having coffee with girl friends, horseback riging, turkish bath, sauna, bicycle outings. I buy posh dresses for myself. I earn the money for myself.

    I am not giving all these to my husband or kids. I provide myself with all these gift in this man shovinist society.
    Yes, I am bragging,

    Ágota

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