Women have been intentionally silenced for a very long time. The impact of this is deep and wide. We have adapted by second-guessing our deepest wisdom.
We have adapted over this long time period in many ways. But I will mention a few here and then encourage you to do your own ‘review’ of how you might stay silent for the sake of others staying comfortable.
One adaptation to silencing is to smile instead of speaking up.
I remember being told to smile when I was quite young. “Smile, you look so much better,” my father would say. Then, just eight years ago I was walking on a trail here where I live in Iowa and a young man I passed told me to smile. Unbelievable! It’s ingrained in him that he has the right to do that.
Have you been told to smile? This is just one of hundreds of ways the culture silences women. I pick this one because it can seem so ‘harmless’. But it’s not.
It gives us the message that someone else has the right to tell us what to do with our bodies and how to be in society.
I’m won’t list out all of the ways we have adapted to the silencing because I couldn’t. There are so many.
I want you to make your own list.
How do you silence yourself so someone else can stay comfortable? Do you not say things, or say things that aren’t your real truth? This can happen even with people we love and who we are safe with because it’s so ingrained. Explore how you still stay silent out of a conditioned fear of speaking up and being visible. You see, the fullness of your Being requires authentic expression.
Another adaptation: We have been conditioned to feel confused, and to doubt our intuition.
And another: We have been conditioned to keep seeking answers outside ourselves.
I know women, both friends and clients, who have experienced being silenced by teachers and gurus. In a class or gathering, just minutes after being shushed for speaking up, the male students are encouraged to speak.
It’s ubiquitous, the ways the female experience has been and is erased.
I know it’s changing, but let’s make it happen faster.
So make it part of your practice for a week to bring Awareness to how you may stay silent so that others can remain comfortable. Once you can see the pattern, then you have the power to let it go.
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