Dr. Joanne Mednick
March 8 starts this year’s Women’s Week.
There is no better way to celebrate all women than to empower yourself and take control of your own mental health. For every woman who lifts herself up she lifts up all women. All over the world women of all ages, from the young to the old, are tossing off the shackles that have held them down or held them back and are becoming whole, empowered, self-realized beings. Empowered to care for themselves, their families, their societies, and the world.
For too many women the thought of self-care is always last on the list. But to truly be able to care for others (as most women do), you must care for yourself.
Take the First Step
A first step is to put aside any fears or stigmas attached to getting the help that you need. Reaching out is the first and sometimes the strongest action you can take.
The action of reaching out eliminates any ‘aloneness’ you may be feeling. It will help you build a community that is the foundation of your healing and your moving forward. It will help to develop a positive mindset. In order to maintain a sense of happiness, a sense of calm and a feeling of self-worth, we must quiet the negative self-talk that stalks us inside of our heads. That voice that descends on us in the dark of night. By gaining a more positive mindset, we automatically gain control over much that troubles us. With that there is nothing that a woman cannot accomplish on the road to empowerment.
If you are not feeling fulfilled these first steps are critical to getting you on that path. Whether it be in your career, your home life or in your relationships the only way to create the empowerment you seek is to move forward within yourself and reach out when help is needed.
Empowerment requires a leap of faith. You must believe that there are better things ahead. This will set you on the path towards a life that includes harmony and balance that will lead you to happiness.
Learn to speak your truth and be assertive in your relationships.
Always be aware that no one else can read your mind. You need to tell them your wants, feelings and needs. Women have been silenced for way too long and made to feel their opinions are not valid. Your feelings are valid. Your feelings matter. You matter.
In my practice, I have seen so many men threaten women if they speak out against the abuse, they have endured. They threaten to hurt them or their family members. This must stop. Women must feel empowered to take that leap of faith and to seek help and support from their community.
Over and over again, I hear, when a woman speaks out, that men want empirical evidence that what they say has happened to them has indeed taken place. Can they prove it? Is a woman supposed to have DNA from their father sexually abusing them as a child? Are they supposed to have a note somewhere in a doctor’s file when they were too scared to tell their mother or anyone else? Abuse is prevalent in this patriarchal society that makes women doubt their own voices and that keeps them silent. That abusive cycle ends with each step that we make toward female empowerment.
Where to Start
Learn to love yourself first so you can truly love others around you. Women who learn to fill themselves up are giving from a place of fullness instead of from a half empty cup.
Learn to break the co-dependent relationships in your life. Co-dependency leads to unhealthy relationships. Co-dependency Keeps women locked in a place of believing they need someone else to do things for them. Women can use co-dependency as a way not to fulfill their deepest wishes but to do the things that they want to do. Stop making excuses. The only one that can really hold you back in the end is yourself.
Heal your childhood wounds so that when you meet a potential new partner you are asking the universe for a ‘healthy partner’ not a partner that is an attack on your ‘wounded self’. Don’t allow your trauma that has already caused you so much pain to continue to re-traumatize you by playing out over and over again with new people in new situations.
Many women come from families that don’t have healthy attachments. Take the time to learn about your attachment style and how you can create a healthier one which will bring happiness to your life once you learn to heal these issues.
Learn about reformative experiences and create these for yourself with a safe person or licensed mental health professional. Try different activities to ground yourself into your body so that you are always acting and responding from a calm and secure place. These activities may include mindfulness, meditation, yoga, reiki, or movement. Read books to help cultivate your understanding of the human experiences. Great books on Trauma and attachment include: Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, Trauma and the Body by Pat Ogden, and Healing the Shame that Binds you by John Bradshaw. Great books that focus on philosophy and different ways of seeing the world include: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron, and Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping. Lastly, some great books that focus on women empowerment include: Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
For over 30 years I have worked with women whose happiness has been delayed – sometimes for almost their entire lifespan – by not asking for help. By not learning the tools that lead to empowerment.
You can make your future bright from the inside out.
Remember the words of Hannah Gadsby: “There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself”.
-Dr. Joanne Mednick