Thank you - together we can make a difference

Sif Holst
Posted March 10, 2018 from Denmark
At the Danish Parliament
Sif Holst at the launching of a more accessible parliament

I posted this a short while ago and was promted to re-post it here:

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.

After my initial post I felt so blessed by the response and I am now more than ever convinced that we need a forum such as this, where we can receive the support and the nurture we need in order to thrive. The constant inner critique is soothed, by seeing ourselves in the eyes of others loving support and we get the courage to continue. But more than that, we get new energy, a new drive. Even though my work is prominent, I was beginning to feel invisible, that I made no difference, that I was just wasting my energy. But my initial post and another I wrote afterwards, made me feel seen. Made me feel that I did indeed make a difference. That it matters, that which I do. We need each other - I need you. Thank you for the support you give.

This story was submitted in response to You Are a Silence Breaker.

Comments 10

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Tamarack Verrall
Mar 10, 2018
Mar 10, 2018

Hello Sif,
How good to meet you here. I loved this post, found myself saying "yes, yes, yes" as I read through. You have put it so clearly and with such a beautiful alternative to demanding so much of ourselves and figuring out how to work in such a competitive environment, when we can let go and trust a way that is one of work, rest, trust, support each other, take in the support. I loved the image of working in rhythm with the earth, and especially your postscript of how well this works, this support we give and receive so lovingly here within WorldPulse.

Sif Holst
Mar 10, 2018
Mar 10, 2018

Dear Tam,
Thank you so much.
I wonder when we learned that we have to compete, instead of following the rythm of the earth?
I learned it from my mother and other strong women, I learned it from experience. And they probably learned it the same way.
But maybe the time has come to make a change, maybe we can try a different path with the support of each other?

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Dear Sif,
I do think that for a few decades we thought we had to enter the areas dominated by men by proving we could fit in, or handle the job or meeting as expected. Reading your response again I am saying yes, yes. I too learned about learning from nature from my mother, other strong women and my own experience. These days the concept of women having a whole new way of creating a gentle culture in harmony with the earth, is growing so beautifully, and here within WorldPulse we are able to find each other globally. A truly magical gift.

Jill Langhus
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Hi Sif. I see that Tam has left you in good hands. Good luck with your story submission, and have a great day!

Sif Holst
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

And you too. Thank you for the support

Jill Langhus
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Thanks, and you're welcome:-)

JulieG
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Dear Sif,
Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. I, like Tam, found myself nodding and smiling and feeling grateful for your decision to see, observe, write about and share these feminine awakenings. It is a shift and it is happening! We do have to support and nurture each other, forward, receptive, holding space and allowing. Thanks again for posting.

Warmly,
Julie

Sif Holst
Mar 11, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

I love that everywhere I turn, this shift is being being felt, even though some are more aware than others.
And thank you so much for your comments
Regards
Sif

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Mar 12, 2018
Mar 12, 2018

Hello Sif
Whatever you do matters and we are grateful that you posted here because we are here for you and we have your back. Thank you for making such a huge difference you are inspiring many more women all over the globe to stand up and fight for what they believe in.
Looking forward to many more wonderful and inspirational stories.
Sisterhood forever

Sif Holst
Mar 12, 2018
Mar 12, 2018

Dear Anita,
Thank you so much, that means a lot to me.
Sisterhood forever