My one word is connection. I find connection fascinating and believe that we thrive through human connection. The best learning happens when the student or client feels connected. But how does connection affect our personal lives? More specifically, how does it affect women.
Although both men and women thrive when they connect with others, women have more of a need for it. From ancient times women have shared their lives. Sisterhood was essential for survival. Even before outlining the source of strength and comfort, sisterhood was needed for helping to raise children, cooking, daily tasks and the especially monumental task of childbirth. Women needed to help each other through day to day challenges in order to survive. A benefit to this was that this sisterhood also helped to improve their resilience and increase their level of happiness.
As we have evolved, we have moved away from living in closer communities and even if some may continue to live in small communities, community connection has a different feel. We now have the ability to connect through technology in an instant, yet our level of sisterly connection is decreasing. Women are feeling more isolated than ever. Whether it’s the day to day demands of the corporate world, being overrun by toddlers or pre-teens, or managing an online business, women’s time is stretched extremely thin. Therefore, we often cut out the extras. We cut out this needed connection time. The thing is, female friendships are extremely powerful. In an age where loneliness can create health issues, women have to be intentional about building each other up rather than tearing each other down. Are we really putting enough work into developing and caring for our sister friends?
Studies are emerging more and more that discuss the special bond between women. Women may not need each other to survive in the same ways as they did in ancient times, but they do need each other to thrive. When women are intentional about nurturing their tribes or sister-friend relationships, amazing things happen.
1. Women provide each other with courage to thrive. When women have sister friends that believe in them fiercely, it is motivating and fuels the courage and confidence needed to hit higher levels.
2. Women provide support in motherhood. Motherhood can be a lonely journey in which there is so much to navigate. When moms have other moms to connect with they have a sounding board to let out frustrations and look for solutions.
3. Sister-friend relationships provide an opportunity for authentic refueling. Sister friends provide a time to take off the armor and just be. When woman can just be, without judgement, it gives them the opportunity to embrace who they authentically are and an opportunity to truly refuel for the inevitable day to day challenges.
4. It allows your spouse/partner to be just that...your spouse or partner. As supportive as your spouse or partner may be, they provide a different support and play a different role than the ladies in your circle.
5. They tell you the truth…with love. Sometimes we need perspective checks and sister friends can provide this and help us navigate challenging situations.
So, if you have a circle of girlfriends …nurture it, be intentional about building and supporting each other. Will it be weekly or monthly happy hours? A Friday morning breakfast date or a weekly video chat if you are far away? Also, how are you going to make it work for the phase of life you are in? With each phase, comes different challenges. Remember that friendships are not about quantity, they are about quality. Nurturing and building a relationship with one or two sister friends can go a long way!
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.