Neeta Jain (Guest Blogger) is the founder of Her Shakti, a wellness company based in the United States, whose mission is to create a safe space for immigrant, international and women globally as they transform into their healthiest and strongest selves. She is a graduate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a holistic health coach and provides health coaching to busy female professionals.
Why Neeta wrote this blog?
This post was written to kick off the blog series on Her Shakti (www.hershakti.co). Having experienced patriarchy in both eastern and western cultures as well as in both my personal and professional life, I have always been drawn to women empowerment methods and concepts. Personally, a big part of my wellness journey and eventually transformation was the realization that I have always been fierce. I had always embodied “Shakti”, the divine feminine goddess in me. It’s just that I got disconnected from “her” for a big portion of my life. As a holistic health coach, I see “Shakti” in every woman and help them reconnect with their inner wisdom, as they transform into their healthiest and strongest selves.
BLOG And then she realized, She is FIERCE…
Growing up in India, which is still largely a patriarchal society and having worked in corporate tech america for 13 years, which is still largely a male-dominated industry, I often wondered what made a woman, a power to reckon with, you know, a Fierce woman. I would come across terms like ‘she is so brave’,’dominating’, ‘a total ball-breaker’ when describing a female leader or an emerging bad-ass-babe. And while those terms don’t necessarily equate to being loud, aggressive or unfeminine, there seemed to be an implicit agreement in both the eastern and wastern cultures I encountered that these attributes were prerequisite for a woman to be a powerhouse.
And to clarify, I absolutely adore that loud, aggressive and/ or unfeminine woman, if that is her true authentic nature. You go girl! Here though, I want to speak to that other chica who may be soft-spoken and erroneously considered a pushover by those around her or even by herself!
Some pieces of advice I received from my amazing mentors (men and women) across my corporate career as well as from best-selling corporate woman’s self-help books, was to be more assertive, speak a bit louder, know your stuff or more accurately s*** (excellent advice), smile less (terrible advice), don’t be a mother (i.e. try and feed the team), hide the pregnancy for as long as you can… the list is piretty long. While these could prove to be excellent tips for certain situations or women, I discovered something else along my own journey through corporate career and well by just being around for 37 years.
I am told by my family that as a little girl, I was a shy, soft-natured kid who tended to smile easily. I loved sports, dancing and probably felt most in my element when on the field or on the stage. I was warned by several well-wishers to toughen up, be assertive and more outgoing if I had to make it anywhere in life. I will be honest, I felt some anxiety growing up as it almost seemed like an elusive quality to me, i.e. one is either blessed with it or has to work very hard to acquire it (read: fake it till you make it).
And honest to god, I did try various tricks and hacks to project myself as someone who you cannot mess with and also tried the time-tested approach of fake-it-till-you-make-it. Some new habits did work in certain situations for a little bit, but I began to get exhausted of not being truly authentically me. The message I was sending subconsciously to my brain was that I am not enough for whatever reason and that I had to embody another character to be taken seriously or to get ahead in my career.
And then I began to look around me and closely observe the gals who were thriving, who were rising stars and fearless leaders in their respective fields. I even began informally interviewing them. And irrespective of where these impressive ladies grew up, their ethnicity or upbringing, I began to see a pattern emerge among them. Now these chicas were a varied bunch. Some were shy and quiet. Some loud. Some preferred their comfy sweatpants during a board meeting. Others rocked a LBD (little black dress) on a Tuesday afternoon. Some were ambitious executives, while others were creative artists. I found that all these women had THREE qualities in common.
Want to hear all about it? Here you go:
- They all knew why they were doing, what they were doing and who they were doing it for. Knowing or unknowingly, they knew their ikigai (reason to live), their dharma (soul’s purpose). They had figured this out over the years or had fortunately stumbled upon it very early on in life. They were alive and pulsating with purpose and in their life’s mission.
- They were unapologetic about who they were and genuinely comfortable in their skin. They truly loved themselves – that dynamic fearless loud one as well as the measured and cautious introvert.
- They believed they were worthy of what they desired. This made them unstoppable, confident goddesses.
And then I wondered whether I had what it takes. Did I embody any of these attributes, even a fraction? Did I know my dharma, my ikigai and why I existed on this planet? Did I love myself enough? And did I truly believe that I am worthy of what I dream of?
It dawned upon me, what I had been failing to realize ALL these years. Something that was sitting under my nose all along. I am talking about my ikigai, my life’s mission. I realized my life’s mission is to empower women in their beautiful bodies. I also learned that I’ve had a broken relationship with myself for a long time and only if I truly believed that I am worthy of my dreams, that my visions would manifest in reality.
Today I know that I am enough. I was always enough and will be enough till the end of my time. And I want YOU to know that you are enough too.
It took me a long time to conclude, but the secret I discovered is that I have always been fierce.
And YOU my friend, my goddess are fierce too. So let’s channel that Durga, that Kali as you step out into the world today. And remember to acknowledge and ignore that nagging voice (yours or someone else’s) when they tell you to be someone else in order to be fierce, a bad-ass, or whatever the fancy adjective is of the day.
If you resonate with this and have struggled with finding your inner goddess like me, then I want to hear your story. Because I know you are fierce. I truly believe you are Shakti.