Do you remember when you were a little girl and your friends were your whole life? Do you remember playing Barbie or Polly Pocket, or Matchbox cars with your friends? How much fun you had giggling and making up stories about your figurines … perhaps you played outside on the swing set at recess, played soccer on Saturdays and maybe you even rode your bike or skateboard around the neighborhood. You always did this with someone by your side and I’m sure even now you can conjure up the memories of who you played with and the stuff you did with your friends.
It’s much harder to capture those friendships in adulthood because we are discouraged by not only the busyness of our day-to-day activities but also our fears and worries. Fear that person in your church group won’t like you, fear that you don’t fit in with your Moms Club friends anymore and even just the worry that you’ll be rejected if you ask your co-worker to coffee.
As busy as we are and as “connected” as we seem to be with the world at large through social media, we have actually never been as disconnected from other women as we are right now in 2017. Working with women every day has shown us that while we are benefiting from our digital prowess, we are still struggling with loneliness and lacking a tribe. Our clients express that they are struggling with these fears and worries on a daily basis as they try to figure out their place in this life. We are longing for that group of women who get us, who are there for us and with whom we can laugh and sometimes cry.
History has shown us that women were always together in our ancient societies: we cooked together, raised our babies together, prayed together, survived together and played together. We celebrated our menstruation cycles, our children’s milestones, our small victories as human beings as we lived side by side in small tightknit communities. Our stories were interwoven with each others’ stories and we were oftentimes, one in the same. Together we took care of each other emotionally and spiritually, in our friendships and love for one another. We needed each other to survive the harsh times and to face a world that was not necessarily a friendly place to live.
These days however, we live and work separately from our communities and our friends, as our world has grown more self-sufficient and independent. We have less opportunities to get together with each other as life interferes. Our modern society has created a world that we can be proud of but one of the drawbacks of our development and progress, is that our human need for connection is not being honored.
We raise our children alone for the most part as a lot of us are geographically distant from our families; we sometimes find ourselves hiring childcare for our children instead of relying on our friends to help us when we need it. Most of us work away from our homes which adds another layer of complication on an already complicated life as we figure out how to juggle the demands of family, work and home. Finding time to meet the girls for drinks can be so difficult to squeeze in our already packed calendars.
We have discovered as we’ve worked with hundreds of women and teen girls throughout the years, that true healing takes place when we feel connected to other women. When we feel heard, understood, affirmed and when we know we can trust the person we are talking to. A landmark study on friendship among women conducted by Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor showed us that while both men and women release oxytocin in response to stress, women also produce more estrogen simultaneously which supplements the oxytocin affect and creates the desire for connection as a way to manage this stress.
Women actually need this connection with other women which helps them manage their stress and gives them the support they need to refocus and create viable solutions to whatever problem they encounter. This is why we call our bestie when we just had a fight with our partner or are upset we didn’t get that promotion at work. Don’t you feel better after you’ve been able to talk through an issue with your friend, mom or your therapist? It’s this biological tendency that helps us manage and reduce stress but we are seeing at our practice that most of us are not utilizing this tool in the most effective manner.
This is why at Empowered Connections we believe strongly and passionately that women need connection to heal. We dedicate our sessions, each and every one, to making that warm, strong connection and relationship with our clients as we show you that we can be part of your tribe. That we know what you’ve been through as we have been there too; that we recognize you because YOU are US. This is why our mission is to show women that your story is also OUR story. We see women heal every day: we are blessed and honored to witness the transformation happening as our client’s grow, blossom and redesign their lives in ways that are important to them. We believe fervently that women need connection now more than ever and we have dedicated our lives to ensuring that every client knows how special and unique they are and that they now have a safe place to begin healing. Please visit us at www.empoweredconnections.net for more information or call us at 301-690-0779 to begin your own connected path to healing.