KAREN SCHACHTER

Best friend, soul sister, or frenemy?

Last weekend, I had 10 remarkable women sitting around my dinner table. The conversation was real, rich, interesting, and deeply connected. As one woman said, “being here feels like a deep exhale.”

Another said, “I was so excited to come tonight. To be sitting with women who I know have my back and want the very best for me.”

And yet another, “You are like family to me. I have never felt this way in a circle of women before. I love you all.”

These are women who I've been coaching & mentoring for almost a year. One year ago, they had never met, and today, while they might appear to make an unlikely tribe based on the "surface" circumstances of their lives, their connection, is immensely powerful & unique.

And yet, even for women who have no shortage of female friends, these types of connections – where we are truly seen beyond the curated image we portray to the world, where we are truly encouraged to be our brightest, most radiant selves – is rare.

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Instead, this is what I hear frequently from women:

  • Even my best friends don’t know what I am struggling with in my marriage/with money/emotionally
  • I don't really trust women -- so many are back-stabbing
  • Most of my friendships are focused on what's WRONG with our lives (complaining about husbands, bitching about bosses, lamenting about bodies)
  • Even though we are great friends, there's an undercurrent of competition
  • I don't want to share what's GOOD, or other women might be uncomfortable
  • If I'm too sparkly or happy, other women might be jealous & hate me

What’s UP with this? 

We women are designed for connection. It’s in our DNA! It’s what helps us heal, grow & thrive.

Yet sadly, one of the “side effects” of a patriarchal culture is that this kind of authentic, supportive “sisterhood” with other women is easily lost.

  • We are conditioned to COMPETE with each other.
  • We are conditioned to MISTRUST one another.
  • We are conditioned to connect around what’s “wrong” in our lives, rather than what’s right.
  • We are conditioned to hide our RADIANCE from one another.

And make no mistake: this is NO SMALL THING. This type of conditioning – if we allow it – can seep into, and impact, every single aspect of your life.

Not only does this kind of conditioning keep you feeling unsupported & small, holding back, hiding out, feeling ashamed of your desires & often stuck in radiance-defeating patterns…but it keeps you from your JOY. From the connection you crave. From your full passion-potential. And even from the abundance you desire (and deserve) in your life.

And it does NOT have to be this way. I promise.

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So what’s possible when women connect in a different – feminine-inspired – way?

  • Where true connection replaces subtle (or not-so-subtle) competition?
  • Where you can be seen AND loved, for your gifts, your beauty, AND your struggles?
  • Where another woman’s success IS your success, AND vice versa?
  • Where you have a safe place to grow roots and wings?
  • Where your radiance is encouraged, celebrated, and deeply supported?

From my experience, when these conditions are present, what happens is nothing short of magic.

Women re-discover their joy; they begin feeling confident in their own skin; they learn to ask for what they want in their lives (bye bye resentment); they leave relationships that were hurting them & create healthy ones; they create careers/businesses that are aligned with their passions; they change how they show up in their marriages, inspiring their husband’s to change too; their relationships with their children become fun instead of stressful; they begin healing their relationship with money; they begin showing up as leaders for other women in their lives….

(I could go on & on).

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So how do YOU create these kinds of deep, authentic, mutually-supportive female friendships? (Here are a few ideas to get you started):

Look for women who are ready to play a different game.  

I am not suggesting you abandon your friends (although there may be some…), but I am suggesting you begin to seek out women who no longer want to connect over victimhood, complaining, gossiping, & staying stuck, but are seeking to create lives that are deeply meaningful and enlivening.

Look for women who you are a tiny bit jealous of. 

YES REALLY! They are doing interesting things, they are creating lives that you find inspiring, they speak in a way that you admire… and you get to learn from them and be inspired by them. It may be uncomfortable, initially, but connecting with women we feel a bit jealous of can help us tap into what WE want, and step up our game!

Do a relationship cleanse. 

Sit down, with pen & paper (and lots of self-compassion), and look at your friendships and groups. Make a list of the qualities in these relationships (Trust? Envy? Betrayal? Warmth? Celebration? Disconnection? Ease? Honesty? Fear? Gossipy? Inspiring? Boring? Complain-y?).

Then decide which qualities you want to grow and which you want to shrink. Commit to BECOMING the qualities you want more of, and eliminating the qualities you want less of. Some relationships may naturally fall away, yes, but you will completely up-level not only your relationships, but the quality of your life.

Take an honest assessment of your beliefs about other women & female friendships.

What messages did you receive in your family & culture? What did you learn growing up? What kinds of experiences have you had? What beliefs & stories do you bring into your relationships? Do you feel that other women are safe and trustworthy? Or gossipy and shallow? Notice all the ways your own story may be impacting the kinds of relationships with women you are allowing yourself to have.

Want something different? What might have to shift in order for you to create & allow the kinds of female-friendships you truly crave?

We women are designed for connection. It’s in our DNA! It’s what helps us heal, grow & thrive.

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Hey there…I’m Karen, a former psychotherapist, a mentor, an Energy Editing™ Professional, an Art of Feminine Presence coach, mom and an entrepreneur. I'm also a wildly passionate advocate for helping women become their truest selves + live their most fulfilling lives.

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