Every month, Women’s Republic will write a letter to its female readers, aiming to empower women by having honest conversations about how we subconsciously put men on a pedestal. The series will help women to de-center themselves from the men in their lives, unlock their ‘shakti’ (power) and re-focus their energies on enhancing their own mental and physical wellbeing. Please reach out to us if you want something covered or have a question you’d like us to answer.
The first two letters in this series have focused on our relationships with men, and the energy we subconsciously (and consciously) lose in trying to meet their expectations. But these letters are not just about spotting red flags. They’re also about changing how we treat ourselves in comparison to the men in our lives. So this month’s letter asks one question: does a female really need male companionship to feel content? The short answer is no. But I also have a long answer.
In anything we watch, read, and listen – love is a popular theme. Everyone loves a good love story. From Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, to Ross and Rachel, heterosexual love is often the focus in the stories we consume. These stories then teach women to have unrealistic expectations about relationships, to chase after an all-consuming type of love that will complete them. Then reality hits, and we realize the journey towards finding love is often incomplete without pain. The rose-tinted glasses we’ve worn since watching our first romance movie are taken off: we finally see men in their full form.
And when the heartbreak comes, we long for a different type of love. Something pure, wholesome, and healing. A love that makes you feel valued – without wearing you out. A love that will not be conflated with complexities. Yes, I’m talking about the love we share with our girlfriends.
As women grow older, they learn that love doesn’t have to be strictly reserved for romance, and can extend to the women in our lives. Can the friendships that we form with our girlfriends replace the so-called love we are told to chase after?
Of the many things experienced through being in a heterosexual relationship, we chose the following to focus on:
- Emotional Security
- Emotional Support
- Feeling Valued
- Feeling Loved
Women’s Republic conducted a poll asking its readers whether they’ve experienced any of the above with mostly men or women?
In many of the results collected, women were the most popular choice – getting in excess of 80% of the vote. Our readers made one thing clear; that they have never felt more loved when in the company of women.
‘I can unapologetically be myself and feel loved, adored accepted and hyped.’
‘No one has my back like they do.’
‘What I have with them, I can never have with a guy.’
‘Comfort and familiarity above everything else.’
Being deep in love can make you lose sight of so many things. But platonic love, particularly the love we share with other women, does the opposite. It allows us to value love – without losing awareness of ourselves.
In a relationship, love can be a constant tug of war. I’m not telling you to give up on love – because when you find the right person, it is a beautiful thing. But sometimes, it’s healthy for our body and soul to step back and acknowledge that men are not everything. They do not complete you.
You complete you. The love you receive in a relationship (romantic or not) is secondary to the love you must have for yourself. And that’s the thing about female friendships – they often teach us to love ourselves. They allow us to grow; they provide sustenance and a safe space in which we can recharge our batteries: to gear up for that tug of war type of love.
The next time you’re feeling a bit worn out by a man, here’s a few things you can do.
Re-align your body and soul with some female energy.
- Call your girlfriends – Chances are, they may be going through something similar. You’ll realize that you’re definitely not alone.
- Talk to other women – You don’t need to personally know a woman to know that she shares the same struggles as you. This alone is enough reason to confide in other women.
- Read a book written by a woman and find comfort in her words – Oftentimes, female writers put their heart into their writing. Her words might just speak to you.
- Watch a movie with a female lead and relate to her tribulations – One of the best things about seeing a woman on TV, is seeing your struggles played out for you on a screen.
- Read the stories of incredible women and be inspired – You don’t need me to tell you that women are incredible. Their stories are proof enough!
- Listen to music composed by a female artist and feel the pain/happiness/confidence/passion in her voice – music is always a healing experience.
- Take note of your interactions with women – a mutual exchange of kind words or a smile are like food for the soul!
DISCLAIMER: You may not get on with some women. This letter isn’t telling you to suddenly become friendly with women who’ve been a toxic influence in your life. It’s okay to have different experiences.
When you learn to truly value and understand the unique bond shared between women, you open up a treasure trove of Shakti (female energy). And ladies, that is the moment you feel complete.
Until next time,