During a conversation with a friend, have you ever been told or have you ever said these two words to your girlfriend or your fellow sister, “You are…”? What follows these two words can either tear her down or build her up. Without even realizing the weight of these two words we say them. Early on in motherhood with my first child, in friendly motherhood conversation a fellow mom said to me, “So-and-so is very strict with her kids, ‘you are’ way too relaxed with yours and I think my husband and I fall right in between the two.” I walked away from that conversation questioning and self-evaluating my parenting style. Subsequently, any time there was a disciplinary circumstance with my daughter I found myself trying what I thought would be a stronger yet not “too relaxed” way of parenting. However, I quickly realized that although this style may work for a different personality type, this was not the appropriate style for my introverted, quiet child. I learned something very powerful from this interaction: just because someone else sees me as ‘you are’ does not deem me as such. My worth and my limitations are solely determined by me. I also learned that I too am guilty of the two words ‘you are.’ You are such a good mom, you are so beautiful, you are so patient, and so forth. What does it all really mean though? Does she now have to live up to this expectation of so good, beautiful and patient? With this one woman, I realized that her declaration of who this other mom and I were actually reflected her self-doubt. “Am I enough?” I am enough if I am the “balanced one, who falls right in between you two.” As a woman, as a mother, for me, I know that I am running full speed between home, work and school. I look at my children and wonder if I am doing enough for them, by them, with them and I can’t help but wonder if other moms are truly wondering the same. When we can enter a conversation, share and connect, do we declare ‘you are’ and condemn her to justify ourselves or do we stop and say “Who are you?” “What are you facing?” “What are you learning?” “What do you need?” If we could simply share our own truth without imposing our beliefs of ‘who she is,’ what a powerful connection there would be collectively. Her social media may show a happy life, perfect clothes, makeup, hair, etc. However, did you know that today she’s feeling like a horrible person? She lost her temper with her children, she started her day with a cocktail, sat in her closet and cried so that no one would hear her. She is lonely, scared, hurting and she suffers alone. These are the things that are unseen when she posts a picture of her happy life; these are the things that are unseen when you walk into the birthday party or social gathering at church.
One of my most recent passions has been raising hens and since I’ve started this journey I’ve been fascinated by their behavior, the behavior of all birds. I believe that there is a lesson to be learned from all living things. My girls, as I call them, look out for one another, they defend one another against the rooster and stand united. They huddle together to rest and they make sure that while one is busy working, going through the process of laying her egg that she is undisturbed and safe. In the same fashion, birds that fly together as a flock do it in specific formations. Working together, they decrease the wind resistance caused by air travel. They take turns leading in the front – this role as leader enables them to fly further and use less energy by creating uplift with her wings. With the birds to be first means to sacrifice, and to lead means to uplift and decrease the resistance. Ladies, mothers, sisters we too can do this for one another. Next time you are sitting with a group of women steer clear of the “you are” and don’t project your issue or belief but simply ask and let her tell. You are enough, she is enough and together we can decrease the resistance that life brings and uplift our sisters, enabling them to fly further.