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| | How to Be a Woman by Sheryn Bruehl
Note from Steve: This was one of the "How to Be a Woman" article submissions from someone who preferred to submit it as text instead of via a link, so I'm posting it here in order to have something to link to from the final results post. This article is copyrighted by the original author and is reposted with permission.
--- This article was written in response to a call for submissions from Steve Pavlina, author of the article “How to Be a Man” (http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/05/how-to-be-a-man/), for a companion article on “How to Be A Woman”. HOW TO BE A WOMAN Women of the last few generations have freedom, access to education, career opportunities and lifestyle choices unimaginable for many previous generations (though not unprecedented in history). We have been raised by feminists, traditionalists, hippies, liberals, conservatives, fundamentalists, and everything in between. Each and every one of us has received different messages about what it is to be a woman, and how to do it well. So do you revel in the gifts of your feminity and the power of your womanhood? Or do you prefer proving that you can be just as powerful in exactly the same ways as any man? Have you chosen to get married, have children, have a career, or all of the above? Are you doing those things “traditionally” or not? Do you feel that any of the choices makes you less of a woman? You have a thousand choices, and all of them are yours alone. There is no weaker gender, there is no innately superior sex, there aren’t “characteristics” of either gender that are exclusive to everybody in that role. There is not one kind of woman, or one kind of man…and there are plenty of people who don’t fall squarely into either gender, physically or mentally. But if you live your life as a woman, here are a few ways to live consciously in the gift of your womanhood: 1. Know Your Power & Protect it Know who and what you are in this world. You are, by virtue of being alive, a being of vast intelligence, instinct, intuition, beauty and complexity. It took a million miracles to create the being that you are, here, now, in this place and at this time. You are not an accident. You are a being of infinite possibility and awesome power. Created with the power to think, to dream, to create, to nurture, to love, and to create life in a myriad of ways. You are unique in the universe, and without you, nothing would be the same. Do not give away your power by surrendering your judgment, will or intuition to the opinions of others. Not to an invisible and imagined “Other” in the form of public opinion, and certainly not to individuals so weakened that they would make you less than you are to protect their egos. “They” are not more empowered or enlightened than you. How “they” might judge you is irrelevant. Surrendering to their fear serves neither you, nor them. Nobody got a manual to this life that you didn’t. Some may have experience you don’t, but even that is colored by their own experience of life. Listen to wise counsel, but weigh it with what you know. You know, deep in your core, what you are meant to do and be. Listen, and act, accordingly. Being less than you are serves nothing. Being all that you are serves the universe. 2. Embrace Your Sexuality and Your Desires You are a woman. Your body is exquisitely designed to give and to receive sensual pleasure as well as to nourish your body and soul, and those of your partners and children if you choose. Your skin is more sensitive than a man’s, and softer to the touch. Your body is softer and rounder, built to comfort, to nourish, to carry and to receive. And yet it is durable in the extreme, with a much higher tolerance for pain, stress and fear than its harder male counterpart. Your senses are more attuned, and your orgasms naturally more powerful and versatile. You were designed for your own pleasure, and for it to be a pleasure to be you. Your natural hormones are a cycle of yin and yang, balancing active and creative with receptive and still, in a dance that mirrors the cycles of nature. Your desires are influenced heavily by what you perceive as good for you, and your body accommodates by being physically attracted to the things you truly desire. The pleasure you give and receive feeds back to increase the love and loyalty between you and your partner, and the energy you exchange, even by merely flirting casually with a stranger, nourishes the soul. A woman who feels safe, secure and attractive is a naturally sexual being, however she chooses to express it, sexually or creatively. A woman who does not know who and what she is, and is not in possession of her own power, will give or barter away her sexuality for attention, reassurance or security. Once traded away, this magnificent source of pleasure and vitality becomes a conduit to drain her of energy, confidence and power. Know what gives you pleasure. Claim the magnificence that is your body, whatever its shape and size, and use it for your pleasure. Share it with people who are worthy of you and who give as much as they receive. Use it in any way you like, even if your pleasure is unusual or “perverse” by other people’s standards. There is no right or wrong, so long as everyone is consenting and adult. But do it on your terms and with joy. 3. Be Who You Are in the World When you have claimed your power and your pleasure, you will begin to notice that you have distinct desires. Whether they be to create art, children, money, or ideas, or to nurture the creations of others. Honor them. You will also notice your fears, insecurities, and a variety of programs playing out in your head that reflect the fears and desires of people who have influenced your life. You will begin to recognize survival mechanisms created by you as a helpless child that no longer serve you as a powerful adult. You will start to see a “false self” you have created that no longer serves you. Acknowledge that self for its service to you and protection of the child that you were. Then let it go. Use your desires as your cue to what is good and right for you. Use your fears as maps to false messages of limitation that hold you back. Don’t wait for the perfect plan or opportunity. There is no “right” way to be a woman. Only a true one. Simply begin being who you are, openly and honestly and with all of the creativity and strength at your disposal. Not everyone will approve. You may lose a “friend” or two, perhaps alienate a controlling family member. But you, being who you really are, will naturally attract those who love what you are in abundance beyond your imagining, and those who really love you will revel in your joy and fulfillment. Creating a false self by doing what you think “others” expect of you instead of what you truly desire can only attract people who cannot really love you, because they do not know you. It will lead you, and them, in a dance of disappointment and pain that will waste years of your life. There’s a reason so many people have “mid-life crises”. It’s the time when people finally realize the futility of pretending to be something they are not, and that their lives will never be what they want them to be until they actually start doing what they truly want to do. Being the woman that you are will inspire others to their greatest strengths, lead those whose help you need to you, and naturally create power and momentum behind your dreams, until you cannot help but be successful at being the most perfect version of you. [Article continues below...]