9 Traits of a Strong Woman.
1. Shows and Speaks Her Truth: First you have to know your truth. This could be defined as having a good handle on what is true for you in any given moment, which means knowing what your Yes and No feel like, which includes having a good relationship with your own mind and body. Without this, you’ll not be able to hear the information being delivered to you, let alone interpret it well.
In other words, you have to know yourself pretty well to be able to make useful sense of the signals your body is delivering, and to be in command enough of your own mind to not be tricked and manipulated by it or anyone else who tries to tell you otherwise.
How on earth is all this possible? A decent mind-body practice will help you access a place of equanimity often enough that you get to observe anything that is reactionary, old conditioning or ego-driven acting out, and see it for what it really is. Underneath all these layers is your true nature. Being able to speak eloquently from this place is a true sign of strength.
Not only do you need to identify what is true amidst the noise of your own mind and that of other people’s opinions, you also need to be brave enough to express with more regard for your alignment than for other people’s reactions.
Maybe paradoxically, when you are in alignment and become used to being so, there is actually very little that will stop you from being and speaking your truth because it becomes just too painful to betray yourself by not doing so. The pain of living untruthfully is too much to put yourself through. It takes strong work to get to this point, to practice it, and to commit to it.
2. Has the Discernment and Mental Command to Hold Back Reactivity Until Truth Is Revealed: Self-knowledge and self-discipline are required to recognize and then hold your own reactivity, and not spill it over those closest to you and cause them pain. This is not the same as a shutdown. This is containment or another aspect of Brahmacharya (abstinence) from the eight-fold path of yoga.
In containing our reactivity, we create space to consider what happened, what has been triggered in us, what our intention is in responding, and how we might gather the resources to do that well. What will give us the information we need to understand how our actions and words impact others and to care about it? Empathy. But before empathy comes acknowledgment.
It is only by acknowledging our own pain that we are able to feel with another person in their pain. When we deny and ignore what hurts us, dealing harshly with our own humanity, we will likely behave similarly to others’ discomfort and pain, dismissing it as drama or self-obsession because we are sorely lacking our own loving attention to the wounds we have.
Handling our own state well when we get triggered, without blaming and shaming the other, takes enormous strength as well as knowledge of what it is to sit with ourselves and pay attention when it feels the worst.
Our honesty and curiosity around pain, suffering and reactivity brings us back into self-inquiry, self-compassion and equilibrium — a state where we need so much less from external sources because we have connected well with ourselves and our true nature.
Recognizing the difference between reactivity that stems from old conditioning and past hurts being activated and reactivity from having a clear boundary disrespected or ignored is another part of this task, which is why it takes time and discernment to sit in this space if our intention is to stop perpetuating pain and instead shine some clarity on a situation for the benefit of everyone.
This is the opposite of closing down. This is a practice built on deep opening, honesty and raw authenticity. Learning how to recognize what is true underneath its many masks, how to hold it and then how to express it, is a life’s work. We only get better at it when we practice.
3. Attends to and Prioritizes Her Own Desires and Needs, and Gives from This Place of Fullness: Following from the last point regarding having the ability to acknowledge and feel our own pain, it is also imperative that we can identify our desires and needs. When needs and desires are unclear or go unattended, it leads to martyrdom, manipulation and burnout.
Just as it is important to recognize the behaviors and activities that do not serve our well-being, it is equally important to know how best we can nurture and care for ourselves. Fulfilled, satisfied women can give quality time and attention sustainably. Hungry, empty women cannot. And for as long as giving is attempted whilst in a state of lack, want or need, the result will always feel off to everyone involved.
Not caring for our own well-being effectively can lead to — sometimes unwittingly — taking from other people’s energy and resources because we have little to none of our own. In this sense, it is always a generosity to others to take care of our own needs first.
Nobody wants to feel manipulated or made wrong or guilty, and this so often happens when we surreptitiously try to get our needs met without truthfully acknowledging that we have any.
Maybe we were taught that our needs were irrelevant, maybe we were shown that asking for things was wrong or weak, but it’s time to uncover that conditioning and own that, as human beings, we all have desires and needs, and the sooner we can be clear about what they are, the sooner we can allow them to be met and the more replete we will feel.
From this place of fullness, we are well-equipped to contribute our energy, time and creativity joyfully.
4. Makes Decisions That Honor the Highest Good of Everyone Involved: I know each of these pairs feels a little contradictory, but stick with it. I’m not talking about more self-sacrifice at the cost of your own sanity and wellness.
This point is really an extension of the previous one, and describes how operating from a place of fullness naturally leads to an awareness and empathy with others that informs our decisions. The opposite is also true: we make self-serving decisions when we feel lacking, likely in an attempt to redress the balance which is off.
In fullness, we appreciate a broader perspective with little or no need to grasp, control or claw at outcomes in desperation. In our sovereignty, we are benevolent. Constant attention to our own process makes sure of it.
There is no greater leveler than the acknowledgement of our own fuck-ups and imperfections. Yes, underneath it all, we are perfect and we are beautifully human, as is everybody else we know. Making good decisions includes having the courage to carry out any awkward or difficult communications that may be associated with our decision-making process.
In the straightforwardness and clarity of truth, we honor others and provide space for adjustments and reactions to be witnessed — an integral part of growth and healing.
Sometimes the highest good doesn’t feel good at all. The more we are able to stay present with ourselves and each other throughout tough decisions, the more likelihood there is of maintaining connections that offer kindness and support.
5. Speaks with Kindness About Others: An intuitive woman will be able to see the inner truth of almost anyone who comes into her field. It’s not all love and light. Humans have the capacity to be complete assholes, make no mistake. That includes you and I.
Does recounting this observation about someone else change what has happened, make us right or better, or help said person in any way? No. Focus is important. Intention is important. Where we place our energy dictates what manifests into our reality.
Speaking with kindness about others does not mean that we are disingenuous or fake, it is not an exercise in fantasy. Speaking with kindness is a powerful marker of our own self-worth and evolution. Speaking kindly presupposes we see the proclivity for our own wrong steps and can forgive ourselves for them too.
Why would we speak unkindly? From unresolved trauma that another has triggered, from the fallout of a mistake, misunderstanding or disagreement or from pure malice. Very few people are malicious. However, everyone has unresolved trauma of some description and for sure, we all make mistakes and misunderstand… all of us.
Are we always so perfectly clear and direct in our communication that we hold no responsibility for any misunderstandings? How do you know? Have you asked? The meaning of the communication is the response you get, or you don’t know you’ve communicated well until you check what the other person understood.
Are we so clear of all our trauma that we never get triggered? When you start to think about all the ways in which we can get it wrong, it becomes not only a kindness to speak kindly, it becomes a necessity if we have any sense of fairness at all. Soham: I am that. Whatever I perceive, I also have propensity to be. Focusing on goodness is never wasted.
Being able to draw attention away from the painful missteps of others and back to our joint humanity is a huge strength. This does not preclude rightful action toward wrongdoing, it is a reminder to steer away from petty and damaging negativity that serves no one. Again, knowing the difference takes experience and a piercing honesty that few are able to withstand.
6. Has Integrity, and Will Persist in Truth: It is natural, as a woman, to intuit and to know — certainly once we have familiarized ourselves again with that innate skill that may have been conditioned out of us. Having integrity means to stick with that truth and knowing and to align ourselves with it, no matter what happens.
Emotions, events and other people can all conflict hugely with what we know to be true. Being strong requires being in our integrity at least more of the time than we are not.
It’s a learning curve, it takes time and we are human — sometimes we fuck up, sometimes we are weak, sometimes we forget who we are. A dedication to remembering is a strength in itself; acting from this remembered sense of what we know to be unequivocally true for ourselves is strength and personal power.
The side effects of acting consistently in this way are a deep sense of peace, being comfortable in one’s own skin, more trust in life and our own ability to handle it, and a distinct lessening of time wasted in vacillation — we trust our decisions, we know our truth, we act from it. Simple. Simple, not easy.
We also are less likely to unconsciously manipulate others to align with us if we are brave enough to align with ourselves first and foremost and be clear about that. People follow our lead. It can be scary to act and speak with truth because the prospect of loss feels difficult.
And we will lose whatever and whoever is out of alignment with who we really are as we become clearer — we can seem challenging or confronting to others.
It’s clarifying and refining to be in integrity, and it streamlines us toward our most heartfelt and honest path in life, but it can feel scary and painful, especially if we have surrounded ourselves with things and people that comfort and quiet us in a bid to be okay with living small.
Forfeiting our own power and beauty is a long, drawn-out death of our spirit. Deciding not to do this is brave and strong, and it does get simpler the more we align. Also, our way of being is witnessed and people around us trust us more easily because we are less sporadic and more congruent in our behavior and words, thus displaying that which is important to us.
There is a great clarity here, and there is always some peace in living your truth, whatever struggles it may include.
7. Loves Generously: A strong woman will love you well and fully. Knowing who she is, staying aligned with that and taking good care of herself, results in a natural ebullience, a surplus, an overflow of pure life-force energy. There is no agenda here.
To love generously means to love over the cracks, the places we can’t agree, the times of imbalance, to absorb the resistance to love that feels like personal rejection and to keep allowing love to flow regardless.
A generous love heals, creates space for awakening, and delivers more truth than most can handle. A generous love will find the good in everything without ignorance, and will reflect the ugly without apology. A generous love would rather anyone walk alone in truth than be bound together in a lie.
Instead of finding reason to disconnect and blame, a generous love will shoulder the acceptance of free will, however heart-breaking, and continue to flow ever outwards. A generous love has no requirement to know it is requited or accepted, it loves for the sake of being, because it can be no other way.
8. Attracts Aligned and Harmonious Connections: Being fully responsible in our own beings means we don’t tend to look for love in all the wrong places, we know it’s an inside job.
We have a deep understanding of what is wanted, we can express well enough to clearly ask for what we want in our connections, and we embody and live our truth so fully that only that which aligns with it feels relevant to our experience. The result is a reduction in reactionary behaviors — we become less triggered in that which is not aligned with us simply because we have less interest in it.
When we embody what is true for us it, becomes less necessary to prove anything because we are just being it.
And it’s a full-time job staying awake and conscious, a constant process of understanding and refining, opening to love and awareness, and there is simply no time to engage in every connection. The ones that distract us from or prevent our inner connectedness become more obvious to us and of much less interest.
9. Has Innate Healing Powers: Healing powers are a natural result of a person in true harmony of mind, body and spirit. Healing, or the ability to channel and direct life-force energy for good, is dependent only on how much is in the way of this happening, namely, how we block the channel.
We can block the channel physically, mentally or emotionally. Recognizing how and where we may be blocked and dissolving these blocks takes strong work as they are inextricably linked with our personalities and attachments. Once we can become clear conduits for this energy, it flows. Once we are conversant with the power of our intention and use it, we can direct the flow.
This does not happen once and for all. As we live and grow and experience, we collect residue, and it is only by paying close attention to our state that we can do the work required to access our innate healing powers.
Jemima House is an author, coach and Yoga teacher with over 20 years of experience, dedicated to becoming the most joyful expression of who she is and supporting others to be the same. Practicing and teaching the highest levels of body wisdom, conscious connection and mind management, Jemima is creating communities of highly functioning, heart-led leaders with integrity and power. Connect with her via her website, Instagram or Facebook, and get her book “Magic & Ordinariness” on Amazon.