Success and achievement but it feels hollow?
Over recent weeks, both in classes and in private coaching sessions with my clients, I have noticed that there is a pattern of strong, successful women who have achieved lots but they are having a feeling of unease and a vague sense of dissatisfaction without really knowing what it is about or where it is coming from.
I understand this personally from my own experience of having a career in the City and growing up in a generation where we were told, as women we could have or achieve anything a man could. To me and to many of my friends, that was liberating, exciting and inspiring, the world was our oyster. We could dream big and as long as we worked hard we could achieve those dreams and climb the career ladder.
I feel very fortunate to have been born in times where that is both possible and encouraged. It honestly never occurred to me that any doors would be closed because I was female and my personal experience has borne that out.
But there was a sacrifice along the way.
I didn't notice it at the time....but with hindsight there was a separation from the feminine and an over identification with the inner masculine. In order to succeed and get things done, there was a subtle and often unconscious need to suppress the outwardly feminine traits.
In the workplace, rational, logical thinking was valued over collaborations, relationship building and emotional intelligence. (I do understand this is changing and I am encouraged when I hear stories from friends who are still in the corporate world how things are very different now).
However....when I reflect, I am honestly not sure if this was the result of an expectation of those I worked with, or more so, if it was internal and came from me. I suspect the latter had a big influence.
This is all part of the Heroines Journey (and it is different from the Hero's Journey - as described by Joseph Campbell). The Hero's journey is the path of the masculine and could be described as up and out and an external journey. The Heroines Journey is the internal journey and could be described as in and down.
As we mature, there is a natural separation from the feminine (as we as women see the perceived weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the feminine) and an identification with the masculine to achieve, grow and move forward........but then once we have achieved a certain level of success or we have arrived at the destination we were heading for....we feel a bit "meh"....as the victory or achievement feels a little hollow but we don't understand why - surely we should be feeling amazing?
We have a deep (often unconscious) sense that we have betrayed ourself, that we have sold our soul to achieve........but we don't want to embrace the traditionally feminine roles of nurturer and comforter and we mistakenly see it as an either / or situation.
As examples, if we have had a mother who is overly emotional or angry, we can see these as weakness and suppress these emotions; if we have a mother (or mother-like presence) who is superstitious, religious or old fashioned, we ignore the mystical, magical, intuitive aspects of the feminine in favour of the logical, analytical thinking....and so on....until there is a split from the internal feminine.
Part of the Heroines journey is seeing this as just a stage.....recognition of this is a step towards wholeness as we dive deeper into the darkness, embrace the feminine, the Goddess and then integrate both the inner masculine and feminine.....
Yes we can achieve outward success and inner fulfilment whilst being true to who we are and honouring all aspects of the feminine.
The Heroines journey is an inner journey towards wholeness as we meet, initiate, embrace and integrate all parts us.......
I am currently developing an offering involving this and I am really excited to soon be offering this to just a few people.......please reach out if you would like to be one of the first to hear about it....and please do speak to me in the comments. Have you also experienced this split and sense of discontentment or feeling lost in the wilderness?