The Dual Nature Of Women

This week I’d like to look at another chapter in Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book The Women Who Run with the Wolves called, The Mate: Union With the Other.  In it she talks about how women have a dual nature.  While I didn’t get a real sense of what she believes a woman’s dual nature is, she did say there is an inner and outer part to the nature of women.  As I sat with idea for a while, thoughts started to come to me of the times in my life when I have kept hidden a secret part of myself.  Perhaps this is the dual nature she speaks of.

I think women are brought up to put other people’s needs before their own.  While this is a loving way to be, what happens is we learn that the things we want in life don’t matter next to the needs of others.  The all-important needs we have cherished become suppressed.

Suppressed; according to the dictionary, it means, “to crush as a rebellion; the deliberate exclusion from consciousness and action of an idea, emotion, or desire.”  In some situations dreams are crushed by a parent, a partner, or a society that tells us that women can’t do such and such.  In order to please the other as we’ve been taught to do – after all we don’t want to lose their favour, or their love – we give up on our dreams and tell ourselves it is for the higher good.

There have been times in my life when I’ve felt guilty for wanting something for myself.  If it meant dipping in to the family’s finances, I believed it would have been selfish of me to spend money for my own use instead of for the good of the family as a whole.

In another instance, I put my needs second to that of a friend.  This relationship became based solely on what I could do for that person. My thinking was that if I did this, or that, then our friendship would become closer; that if she could just see that she could count on me then she would realize that I was the kind of person she could trust.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that there was nothing I could do to move our relationship to another level.  So I let it go.  She just didn’t feel able to trust anyone.  In retrospect, I should have been true to my own needs and told her up front that the type of relationship she had in mind for us just wasn’t going to work for me.  But I didn’t know going in that what I needed out of the relationship was important enough to speak up for myself.

Then there were the times I didn’t speak up for myself when I was asked what I do for a living.  I was embarrassed to admit that I was a writer because I didn’t get paid.  What about being a stay-at-home mum?  Again, no pay, not considered a career. Looking back I would have owned my choices.  Because in my heart I was, and am, proud of being both a mother and a writer. I work hard at the things I love.  Why hide the best parts of myself?

In another chapter of Pinkola Estes’ book, she talks about finding your pack (or as I call it in a previous post, your kindred spirits).  These are the people who will accept you for who you are.   They will support your dreams, thoughts, and choices without judgement or agenda.  They are the people who will give you the courage to move forward in positive ways. Whether it is to leave a marriage, take a course, or simply say “no” to a relationship that’s not in your best interests.  Being part of a pack has certainly been instrumental in my life, perhaps it can be in yours as well.

I think we all have a secret life – a part of ourselves that we can’t, or don’t share with others for fear of not being accepted.  But at the very least I do think it’s important to be truthful with yourself about what your dreams are.

These are just my observations about what it means for a woman to have a dual nature. I hope that my thoughts on this subject will encourage you to take a look into your own heart and determine if any of what I’ve just said has meaning for you.  Or perhaps you will come to your own conclusion of what it means for women to have a dual nature.  Either way, I have achieved my purpose and begun the dialogue with you.

Categories: Women's Lives

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