We need a shift in culture

Sif Holst
Posted February 25, 2018 from Denmark
Sif Holst
A photo from the launching of a more accessible Danish parliament

I am a strong woman and am used to speaking out loud. I have been in one sort of politics or another since my teenage years, mainly in disability politics since a disability forced me to make some changes in my life. It has not been a career choice, but a knowledge that I have the ability to help others through my skills and therefore the duty to do so.

I have been taught, that having any sorts of career or influence is an eternal competition, where showing enterprise, initiative, vigor and skill is necessary. I have been taught that this holds true, especially for women, who must perform 110% to succeed. I feel judged by these values and even more important, I judge myself on these values. I judge whether I do all that I can.

I tend to compare myself to others and I judge myself. I see an article in a newspaper and appreciate it, and I ask myself, have I shown the same enterprise as that person? Why have I not written an article? After a meeting I might ask myself, did I show enough initiative during that meeting, speaking my mind? And always the question, am I vigorous enough? Do I do enough, or should I do more?

After becoming vice-president of the Danish disability movement, I feel this more than ever. I can’t help always judging myself. How do I for example measure up to the president (a brilliant man full of enterprise, initiative, vigor and skill)? Why do I keep falling short? Do others see my failings?

And it is not only a question of comparing myself to others. I miss those women, and sometimes men, who have nurtured me up to this point. Those who have encouraged me and who have boosted me. Those being one rung up the ladder, taking the time to help the next generation along. Now I am at the top and encourage others, but I increasingly doubt myself.

In the middle of this internal struggle, I also spend a lot of time considering, whether enterprise, initiative, vigor and skill are the right parameters to judge by. I sense a need for a change. To acknowledge enterprise, initiative, vigor and skill, but start practicing the art of holding space. Acknowledging the value of peace, being at rest. Knowing the power of observing before acting. Being receptive. Nurturing. Cooperating. Holding light and love and yet acknowledging the darkness in all of us, the shadows.

We need to make a shift from trying to prove ourselves by masculine values, measuring ourselves against each other in an eternal competition. We need to acknowledge the power of the feminine, the power of holding space and allowing.

But how do we make the shift? How do we make the shift to a culture, where the feminine and the masculine is more balanced? Where holding space, observing, acknowledging, nurturing and cooperating is just as important is being full of enterprise, initiative, vigor and skill. Where we know that, just as there is a time to working the earth, there is a time for allowing the earth to do its magic. Sometimes we need to work hard and sometimes we need to allow, to nurture and hold space.

It will not be an easy shift. In western society we have a deep belief in the value of hard work. We need to constantly prove how busy we are. How successful. But it is necessary for us to make that shift. We need to achieve a better balance, in our society, in our daily lives and most importantly within ourselves. And we need to support and nurture each other, in order to move forward.

Comments 8

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Olutosin
Feb 25, 2018
Feb 25, 2018

I just love this.....holding space, observing, acknowledging, nurturing and cooperating is just as important is being full of enterprise, initiative, vigor and skill. Where we know that, just as there is a time to working the earth, there is a time for allowing the earth to do its magic. Sometimes we need to work hard and sometimes we need to allow, to nurture and hold space

Thanks so much for writing this piece. This is just so us.

Sif Holst
Feb 25, 2018
Feb 25, 2018

Dear Olutosin, Thank you so much for your encouragement. I needed that Regards Sif

Jill Langhus
Feb 26, 2018
Feb 26, 2018

Hi Sif. Thanks for sharing your story. I love your authenticity and honesty. Indeed, as the feminine energy is rising and more balance occurs it will be challenging to find our new footing on where masculinity ends and femininity begins and what works for us personally. I personally have a lot of challenges with comparisonitis, too. It's very demoralizing, but for me it comes from a deep seated lack of self esteem. I firmly believe that once I have mastered self love, this will become a thing of the past. Have you considered having a life or biz coach that can address this for you, or do you do any self care/love practices, such as affirmations, meditation, etc? Looking forward to hearing more from you. Oh, btw, You will want to select the icon that looks like a commentary bubble when responding to people on World Pulse, so they are notified in their inbox that you have responded, otherwise they won't see that you have. Hope you have a great day!

Sif Holst
Feb 26, 2018
Feb 26, 2018

Hi Jill,  Thank you so much (also for helping me finding the commentary bubbles). It is the time of great change and currently I find it a bit difficult to find me footing. But I know it will come, it always does, when it is time and I have learned, what I need to. A great day and week to you too.

Jill Langhus
Feb 27, 2018
Feb 27, 2018

You're very welcome:) For sure. The same to you!

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Mar 01, 2018
Mar 01, 2018

My dear sister Sif

Thank you for such a wonderful analysis on gender imbalance. When should the shift happen is a very good question.  It should start with us now. We should be able as women to look beyond the social norms that have existed for over 100 years. We should be more supportive, caring and understanding to our fellow women.  We should also bring up our sons respecting women's rights from when they are young. It begins with us.  Thank you once again for this great insight. 

Stay blessed. 

Sif Holst
Mar 02, 2018
Mar 02, 2018

Thank you, sister Anita, And may you stay blessed too. Best of regards Sif

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Mar 02, 2018
Mar 02, 2018

Your most welcome my dear sister.