Being a powerful woman doesn’t include many of the things we’ve always believed it did, like how well we pretend like we “have it all together,” how many boxes we check on the list of expectations society handed us, how many feminist rallies we attend, or how effectively we resist patriarchy and misogyny.
A powerful woman exhibits one key characteristic. It’s one that is cultivated within and not achieved externally. A powerful woman is simply one who has the ability to listen to herself and stay rooted in the soul of who she is.
If you’ve met a woman with this energy, you’d know right away. It’s an energy that is powerful, stunning, and difficult to define. It resides in a woman who is so grounded in who she is that nothing outside of her can sever the connection she has with herself.
Society is infused with teachings that encourage women to exist outside of themselves. We often look to magazines and highly commercialized celebrities like the Kardashians to know how to dress and present ourselves; we look to other people in our lives to know what to do next (Should I leave him? Should I apply for that job? Should I do this? Should I do that?); we listen to the diet and beauty industries that tell us we aren’t beautiful enough, and then we follow their advice to fix something that was never broken.
As women, we often seek our identities in the people, ideas, and industries around us. It’s not our fault; we aren’t the problem. The issue is the teaching that for centuries has led us to believe that our worth, identities, and answers are external. We have been conditioned to distrust ourselves and therefore have no solid foundation within, which leads us to seek it in the things that exist around us.
But babe, the things that exist outside of you will always fail you. Industries and other idolized celebrities will fail you because they don’t have your best interest in mind, and people close to you will never know what’s best for you because they aren’t you. Even mainstream movements and social groups are unstable ground because they, too, have their own agenda that doesn’t always include your wellbeing.
Imagine it this way: you’re like a tree, and the only way to grow fuller and larger is to dig your roots deeper into the ground below you. The deeper you grow your roots, the more connected you become to a force within yourself that always knows what’s best for you and always has your best interest in mind.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have a stronger sense of trust in yourself than in anything else around you? It doesn’t mean you can’t seek advice in other people or find inspiration in things outside yourself. We are all interconnected, and so it’s impossible to exist in this world without relying to some extent on external ideas, people, or institutions.
What’s important is that you don’t exist within these things. It means building a home for yourself, within yourself, that is rooted in your soul and not within the people or things around you. Everything outside you will end, but your soul is everlasting. Until you seek your soul as the only stable, knowing force in your life, you will always lose yourself in everything else.
Sometimes that’ll mean that you’ll have to stand alone. It might mean that you disappointment people or lose friendships. But it also means that you will always have a safe place to rest, even in the midst of uncertainty or fear. It means that you will develop deeper friendships with other people who are also building from within and will support you in doing the same. It means that you will never again get lost in what doesn’t matter and instead find permanent stability in the only thing that does.
The greatest activism of a woman’s life is building a strong, solid foundation within herself; digging a well from which she can consistently fill her own bucket; cultivating integrity and strength to stay true to herself even in the midst of uncertainty; and growing sturdy roots into the soul of who she is.