The Benefits of Female Friendships
By Alisa Divine
|Female friendships are often the first commitment to scratch off the schedule when women become busy raising families and advancing careers. What if though...what if those female friendships could be powerful allies? What if they become an asset in our emotional and physical well being? There is science behind this. Female friendships and strong social ties have proven to counteract stress. When women experience stress, the hormone oxytocin is released and encourages women to tend to their children and gather with other women for support, according to Dr. Klein, at Penn State University. The studies suggest that when a woman engages in tending and befriending, more oxytocin is produced which leads to a calming effect.|
Sometimes, however, women may feel intimidated by other women and relationships can turn to competition. This is where we can each take on the role of lifting one another up. Many of us have experienced women who are still operating under the practice of, "every women for herself." This has been a barrier among female friendships. As women, we want to put our competitive efforts towards breaking the glass ceiling and competing against men. We want to befriend the women around us and lend a helping hand. Consider the women behind us, those younger than us. Let's throw them a lifeline and say, "I have your back. This is what worked for me, this is what I know and I’m willing to help you out."
My daughter is a senior in college and in March, she drove from Michigan to Florida in a car with four other young women. One friend she's had since high school and the other three since college. I was bubbling over with vicarious excitement for her when she let me in on their plans. Five women squeezing into a five person car with luggage for a 20+ hour drive is what laugh-out-loud stories and memories are made of. It is an experience that leads to significant bonds and creation of allies to call upon when needed. My daughter is an honor student and I am proud for her. I am grateful for the bonds she has formed because I know that one day, it will be worth more to her than anything she can buy. I know that from my own experiences. When she shared the details of her trip, I smiled to myself knowing that one aspect of a powerful woman is creating an alliance.
You can choose to begin today by creating an alliance or nurturing your existing alliance. Rekindle old friendships and start new ones. Make a list of women you want to be around. Invite them to lunch, extend a hand, or listen. Invite younger women and teach them the ropes. Tell them everything you wish you'd known at their age. We are more powerful as a union than we are by ourselves.
"Girls get competitive, as though there's only one spot in the world for everything — but that's not true. We need to stick together and see there's more to life than pleasing men. It's important not to cut yourself off from female friendships. I think sometimes girls get scared of other girls, but you need each other."
~ Zooey Deschanel
NEW WORKSHOP FROM THOMAS HALLER
Dissolving Toxic Masculinity
Dr. Thomas Haller
M.Div., LMSW, ACSW, CMFSW, DST
Are you worried about raising your son in a society where the standards dictate that men be strong, unemotional, aggressive, and dominant over women? Are you unclear as to how to teach your son about sexual harassment, sexual abuse and domestic violence? Are you concerned that your son could grow up to be a chauvinistic, misogynistic, bigoted man who believes he is none of those things? If so then this workshop is for you. Dr. Thomas Haller, author of Dissolving Toxic Masculinity, will present the necessary lessons for helping parents raise boys who embrace an attitude of compassion, empathy, kindness, and respect for women. We can succeed at raising our boys to be emotionally healthy masculine men by beginning at home.
To schedule a presentation in your community contact:
- Discipline without Dominance
- Promoting Self-Responsibility
- Reversing Empathy Deficit
- Encouraging Cooperation
- Establishing Boundaries- The Do's and Don'ts
- Teaching the 7 Key Components of Consent
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