The other day I overheard a conversation between a young lady who was looking down the barrel of her twelfth birthday and feeling her age and a forty-something woman. It went like this:
Young girl: My birthday is on Monday. I’m going to be twelve. I’m getting old.
Forty-something woman: Well if you’re old, what does that make me? I’m ancient.
I, having recently turned sixty-something, naturally had to chime in. “Well if you’re ancient, what does that make me?” After a second’s hesitation, the answer came back, “You’re a Goddess!”
It was a light, fun moment and we had a good laugh. But then I started thinking. In this day of over-done marketing and media blitzing, the terms Goddess and Divine Feminine have been so overused that they’ve become, at least to me, a cliché. I have never really resonated with them. So, I thought, if I’m beyond “ancient” and now can be considered a Goddess, what does that actually mean?
As I sometimes do when looking for a different perspective or additional detail, I turned to my good friend Google. As expected, there was a plethora of sites willing to explore the idea of being a Goddess. One site in particular (seen here) introduced me to Genie Webster whose definition caught my attention.
Ms. Webster laid out a beautiful explanation of what it is to be a goddess (small g). As I read the article I realized everything she was saying embodied the work I’ve been doing both personally and with my coaching clients. Some highlights:
“A goddess is authentic. The mask she presents to the outside world is the same as her innermost heart. She has learned to express her emotions cleanly and healthily. What you see is what you get. A goddess knows her own truth. She does not impose her truth on others, but will share her wisdom when invited to.”
As a goddess in training, I’m doing pretty well with this one. I’ve attributed my progress in this area to age but there’s no reason you have to wait till your sixties to be authentic. Authenticity is knowing who you are on the inside and having the courage to be that person in every situation. If you’ve spent your life being conditioned to be and do what you perceived others want you to do and be, that isn’t as easy as it sounds. But you can learn.
“A goddess has learned to let go of the need to control the flow of the river. She has discovered the futility of trying too hard. She has learned to ride the wave and go with the flow, to ask for and accept help when required. She is flexible, fluid, and adaptable. She has given up the need to control or manipulate. She does not pout or whine when she does not get her way.”
I have to admit, I’ve always been a control freak. I come by it naturally having inherited the trait from my mother. But I have made great progress in letting go and allowing the good into my life. There are still times when I need to control but I come to my senses much more quickly now and realize I’m only causing myself undue stress. The minute I let go, things fall into place. It’s an awesome process and I highly recommend it.
“A goddess takes care of herself. She does not expect others to take care of her. She treats herself as well as she would treat her best friend. She is compassionate and forgiving with herself and others. She gets enough rest and gives her body the right fuel — both in oxygen and in food and water. She knows what she needs. She feeds her soul.”
OK so this is not my strong point. I need a lot more work in the self-care department. I’m a great proponent of self-care as long as I’m supporting someone else in that process. Treating myself as well as I treat others is still in the works. As a coach, I tell my clients they don’t have to be perfect. So, I’m allowing that for myself as well, as I continue my path to full-fledged goddess.
Genie’s article is a beautiful description of what it is to be a “goddess”. The term tends to imply that perfection is a requirement but that is definitely not the case. Perfection is not the ultimate goal. Authenticity is the goal. To own your imperfections is part of being authentic. You know who you are and you’re OK with that. If what you see as an imperfection is important to you, you’ll work on it. If not, other people don’t get to tell you what you need to change. Isn’t that fun?
In my mind, being a goddess brought up a picture of women dressed in flowing gowns, dancing in a circle under the light of a full moon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If that’s comfortable for you, I applaud you. Do what you love. I never really felt the need to do that particular dance.
The explanation provided by Genie Webster in her article provided me with a new picture. I now see a goddess as a strong, authentic woman living life on her own terms and supporting others in doing the same. That’s an explanation I can live with. So I’ve decided, given this new explanation, I will own the term “goddess” and continue on my human journey.
If you are currently a goddess-in-training, consider the points set out in Genie’s definition.
I invite all women to own your description of what you believe it means to be a goddess. If it feels right to you, it’s right for you. Be real, be you.