I once heard this wise teaching from a mentor of one of my mentors. She said; “Your biggest weakness is just your greatest strength turned up too loud.” For example: Your greatest strength could be your strong leadership ability and natural charisma that attracts people. However, if you turn the volume up too loud on that strength, it can become arrogance or a dominating personality. Your greatest strength could be your ability to make people laugh and stay “light” amidst challenges. However, if you turn the volume up too loud on that strength, it could turn into insensitivity or the inability to be serious when called for.

I see the “feminine’s” greatest strength as her desire and natural ability to create connections, to build strong relationships, and to care for those around her. We do this everyday; whether at PTA meetings, in our business networks, in our families, or within our circle of friends. But we have to watch out that our greatest strength doesn’t turn into our biggest weakness in times of stress.

When your strength for relationship and connection is turned up too loud it becomes the dysfunctional dynamic of “fusing” with another - loosing your sense of self in relationship. It may look like not speaking your truth in a relationship or not making a stand when you know you should, just to keep a friendship alive.

In Harvard Professor Carol Gilligan’s ground-breaking book “In a different voice” she describes many psychological studies that show while men fear – and avoid connection and intimacy significantly more than women, women fear separation and isolation more than men. One study asked men and women to complete a fictional story that was presented to them. When the beginning of the story included some form of relationship or connection, men would often write violence and tragedy into their stories, while women would not. When the beginning of the story included someone being alone or being singled out for something they did, women would often write violence and tragedy into their stories, while men did not.

Men’s fear of intimacy holds them back. Relationship is one of the greatest vehicles for personal and spiritual growth. Women’s fear of separation holds us back, in a different, but no less limiting way.

I can still feel it now; the discomfort of my internal cringe when I am singled out for excelling at something. I feel anxious if I am put on a pedestal in the company of a group of peers that is attempting to do the same things that I am doing. Even though part of me is ok with accepting praise and thanks, another part of me feels this “singling out” is somehow unsafe.
I find that even in my most loyal and dearest relationships at times my voice becomes weak and it is hard to say what I am not happy with because I don’t want to put a rift in the relationship. In what ways are you squashing your voice or hiding what you really feel? We tend to do it in small ways and large.

Your spiritual development accelerates when you move from family/socio-economic group care and responsibility to world/ global community care and responsibility. Your development as a leader hinges on your compassion not just for those you know, but for all sentient beings. You must claim your feminine gifts of connection and communion, and at the same time not back away from what you know is in the highest good for everyone, even if you may loose the respect of someone in your family or peer group.

I love the bumper sticker and now the book title by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: “Well behaved women seldom make history.” Our fear of not being loved could be the biggest obstacle for women to make a huge leap forward. When I read about Martin Luther King and how many enemies he had while speaking up what he stood for - I am in awe. When I watch a movie like Erin Brockovich who spoke an unwelcomed message – I am inspired. Who would you be, and what would you say if you had less fear about keeping people happy, and more positive concern for our global community?

Author's Bio: 

Rachael Jayne Groover has worked in the field of education and training for ten years, as a teacher and workshop leader, most recently in the area of Performance/Presentation skills and Personal Growth. During her 3 years as Director of Education for the Conversations with God Foundation she developed many programs and courses that were strongly attended and highly praised. She has an international practice as a Life Coach, and now works with both men and women on understanding the importance of the feminine principle in intimate relationships and in shifting global consciousness. From this passion she has created The YIN Project. http://TheYinProject.com