In 1999 when Destiny's Child released their hit track Independent Woman, I was thrilled. Elated really. Chills covered my body as I affirmed that "I depend on me," "always 50-50 in relationships," "the clothes I'm wearing, I bought it, the rock I'm rockin', I bought it."
Finally, I thought, a woman was speaking the words I felt in my heart. Growing up the only option ever presented to me for my future was getting married and having kids. And while some part of me wanted part of that (it's taken me a long time to get on the kid train, but more on that in the future), it felt incomplete. I knew there was more I was supposed to do in the world, I just didn't have the slightest idea as to how I would do it.
Out comes Beyonce and Destiny's Child proclaiming that we can act like men in the bedroom ("when it's all over please get up and leave"), rock an abundant lifestyle and be in power. What a relief, right?
Except now, it's 15 years later and we've all learned quite a bit about this independent woman thang. It turns out that doing everything for one's self, combined with our natural tendencies as women to caretake others -- whether it be our friends, coworkers, bosses, lovers, family members, clients -- is totally exhausting and unnecessary.
Being in the driver's seat with our romantic partners all of the time is not sexy at all, and in fact completely squashes the hot factor in sex. And sometimes -- or a lot of times as the case may be -- we would really like to receive a gift or two rather than do it all ourselves. Not because we can't do it all -- many of us have but have realized there has to be a better way -- but because life is far richer with the love, help and support of others.
We are currently living in a time where the "Independent Woman" model is an old paradigm, where we are rewriting what it means to fully be a woman in our society. It isn't about doing it all, it isn't about doing it for our lover, it isn't even about doing it for our kids -- it's about loving and adoring ourselves so much that we will not settle for anything less than the life of our dreams.
It's been happening for quite some time now, but it felt important to call out this radical shift from Independent Woman to Integrated Woman*. Check this out:
• An Integrated Woman knows she is magical, that she has special gifts and that she has the ability to create the life of her dreams. She knows that when she is living the life of her dreams, everyone around her begins to live more of their dreams too. She is that powerful, and she knows it.
• An Integrated Woman knows that she came here to live abundantly and richly. She allows herself to receive this abundance in the ways that her intuition guides her to give her gifts. She has no problem creating this abundance on her own while also allowing herself to receive richly from the Universe.
• An Integrated Woman knows she has a divine purpose and mission to carry out in this lifetime and she is fully committed to allowing that mission to flow through her.
• An Integrated Woman knows that regular, consistent connection to her sexual self is imperative for her to feel vibrant, alive and joyful. She knows this means being intimate in deeply loving relationships with a man/woman that truly honors and adores her.
• An Integrated Woman knows that she has natural healing abilities that create more love and peace in the world. She gives these gifts as she is guided to, with integrity and with boundaries that honor her.
• An Integrated Woman knows that she has a divinely destined partner with whom she can share her whole self with. She does not settle for anything less than a partner that can honor and enjoy her magnificence. She knows that the two of them can create the relationship of their dreams.
• An Integrated Woman knows that while naturally a caretaker, the first person she must always care for is herself, and then allow herself from that balanced place to care for her children, friends and family.
• An Integrated Woman knows that nurturing her spiritual self is paramount to the ease, abundance and love in her life and for those around her as well. She puts this relationship with her deep Spiritual self and her Higher Power as one of her primary relationships, followed then by all others.
• An Integrated Woman knows that being able to receive is important to her health. She asks for help from her partner, friends and family, and she allows the help to be given effortlessly.
• An Integrated Woman knows that community is essential to her sense of connection and joy in the world. She only joins communities that lift her up and allow her to go higher in living the life of her dreams.
• An Integrated Woman knows that daily body movement and eating high-vibrating foods allows her sexy and beautiful body to feel its best.
• An Integrated Woman only wears clothes that make her feel like the radiant woman that she is.
• An Integrated Woman receives regular self-care (examples: spa days, manicures, pedicures, facials) and makes feeling and looking good a priority - not because it turns someone else on, but because it turns her on.
And that's just the start!
It's an exciting time to be a woman. A time to share freely our gifts with those we love and the world at large, a time to delight and radiate our natural beauty, a time to love with the fullness of our hearts while staying deeply connected to the core of who-we-really-are. It's a time to live in abundant, beautiful, sexy, deeply nourishing awesome-ness.
I hope that you'll join me on this ever-evolving, living the life of our dreams, divinely feminine Integrated Woman journey. You deserve it.
What ways do you stay connected to your Integrated Woman self? Leave your comments below.
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*This list is written from the perspective of a heterosexual, feminine woman and is by no means all-inclusive. Other gender and sexual orientations can adjust this to suit their preferences with ease.