We women are so busy we rarely have the time to slow down long enough to appreciate and acknowledge the other women in our lives who we admire, who inspire us and who we are grateful for. Which is why I love to use the energy of the International Day of Women on March 8th – it gives you permission to pause and reach out in ways you otherwise might not, in small but mighty ways that can make a big difference to the women who have influenced, supported and impacted your life.
Since 1911, for over 100 years, International Women’s Day, has been a time to shine the spotlight on women – to celebrate our achievements collectively, to honor the progress we’ve made, and to acknowledge the courage and determination of our ‘sisters’ – mothers, daughters, friends, teachers, mentors, leaders.
As women, our need for ‘sisters’ goes way beyond our blood relatives.
I can remember the day I realized that sisterhood was essential to my personal happiness and success, and that without it, even with a fulfilling marriage and litany of friends, something was missing.
My epiphany came during my first “women’s weekend retreat” back in 2001. The first day of the retreat I wanted to bolt and hightail it home. By the second day, I was no longer a flight risk, but I did have an invisible sign that read something like “keep your distance women folk!” Then the morning of the last day, we were invited into this structure called “the red tent” (it was actually white in color but I decided not to point that out to the women leaders, and just go with it.) As I surrendered my judgment and stepped into that tent, everything changed for me. It was like entering into a time machine. Fully inside this red/white tent, I saw all of the women seated in a circle, silent, radiating a beauty that comes from a deep sense of inner peace and grace.
Inside this tent, sitting in a circle of women, something inside of my heart opened, as if I was remembering something that had been locked deeply away in my soul.
The presence, power and peace of true “sisterhood.”
Women gathered together, without competition or comparison, without the masks of make up and designer clothes to create a status of external beauty or wealth, and without the need to prove anything.
We just were. We all belonged. We all were unique and also similar. We felt seen, supported and safe. We spoke openly from our hearts, and it felt good. That was the day I decided that sisterhood was essential to my happiness and health, and I would do all I could to cultivate it and honor it for the rest of my life (note: I later learned of course that the red tent was a metaphor for the ancient times when women would gather together during their menstrual cycles. Imagine, every month getting time away from work and men to just hang out with your sisters!)
I share this story with you because I believe that sisterhood is like medicine for our soul – it cures the overwhelm, soothes the loneliness, uplifts the soul, and nourishes the heart. And just like anything in life, when you put energy into something, it gives it back.
I invite you today to tap into the energy of International Women’s Day and take an act of sister love and self love:
1. Take a moment to pause and think about the women in your life who have shaped you, supported you, cheered you on, guided you, inspired you and been there for you over the years. Think of at least three women and write their names on a piece of paper. These could be mothers, grandmothers, mentors, friends, blood sisters, soul sister, as sisterhood has nothing to do with age.
2. Ask Yourself These Questions
- How has her presence made a difference in your life?
- What would you love to say to her, from your heart?
3. Take an Act of Sister Love from a Place of Self Love. How could you honor her contribution to your life today, in a way that honors you too? No need to stress yourself out with grand gestures or spend tons of money. Try one these simple but mighty acts in honor of her, and yourself and you will make both of your days!
- Reflect the Difference She’s Made in Your Life & Tell Her with a Short Sister Love Note. We often think people know the tremendous impact they’ve had on our lives, but most don’t, and most women feel like they are never doing quite enough. Be a mirror to reflect that you really cherish and appreciate how much she matters. Call her or send her a text or email that says specifically how she has made a difference in your life. Being specific makes the appreciation and love get through, so open your heart to her and share.
- Admire Her Feminine Power with Flower Power. Since most women are overwhelmed, sending flowers to remind your special sister of her power and beauty is an easy act to take. Plus the flowers will keep reminding her of her feminine power after March 8th! Include some words about the flowers you choose and how they reflect what you admire in her.
- Open Her Heart with a Memory That Matters to You. Recount a special moment or more of a special time you have shared that still sticks with you, thanking her for the impact she has had on your life and for the place she holds in your heart. Gather up a few photos and email them, reflecting on meaningful memories.
Give yourself permission to pause and celebrate the women in your life, and the presence of sisterhood. You will feel so much happier the rest of the week, month and year because you did.
Christine Arylo, m.b.a., is an inspirational catalyst, transformational teacher and best-selling self-love author who teaches people how to put their most important partnership first, the one with themselves, so that they can create the life their souls crave. The popular author of the go-to book on relationships Choosing ME before WE and the self-love handbook, Madly in Love with ME, the Daring Adventure to Becoming Your Own Best Friend, and her newest Reform Your Inner Mean Girl. She’s affectionately known as the “Queen of Self-Love” for her groundbreaking work in self-love, including founding the international day of self-love on Feb 13th. Arylo is the co-founder of the self-love and empowerment school for women, Inner Mean Girl Reform School. You can follow here on Twitter, FB or visit her sites here & here.