Women in therapy sessions often reveal that they live under tremendous pressure. Pressure rarely doesn't make sense.
We only have to take a quick look at their lives.
They have young children and fight sleepless nights, or they are mothering teenagers while having sleepless nights, or they are having perimenopausal sleepless nights, and sometimes all of these. Then, there's this whole global tectonic energetic shift happening collectively, involving the post-pandemic collapse and war in the middle of Europe, and strange political changes all over the world. At the same time, many women are leading demanding, time-consuming, ambitious business projects.... and, shall we add, perhaps family members with mental health issues, facing unexpected losses, and demoralizing grief?
As a rule of thumb, amid all this anxiety, women show a habit of questioning themselves. They doubt ad nauseam, sometimes openly, often secretly. But the fact is, many are highly skilled professionals - or on their way to being so, and they really do have the biggest heart you can imagine, and have already done so much good in this world... yet?
They fucking question themselves. Like, a lot. Like, too much. I cannot imagine a compassionate, empathetic, driven woman who suffers silently and needs therapy without this undisguised layer. Even if my client is the most caring person in the world, at some point, she becomes afraid of herself. At a particular moment, she becomes anxious, and the stream of stressful thoughts comes from the well-sealed backyard of her intelligent ego.Suddenly life feels like a court of law, and she's both prosecutor and judge, and there's an interrogation, and there's no comfort anywhere:
Am I good enough? What'll they say? Will I make a good impression? What if she thinks I'm a selfish bitch? What if I look greedy? Horny? Hateful? Seductive? Aggressive? Rude? As if I don't care?...
A woman isn't aware of how her doubts run and affect her mood and actions. The fact is that we women put pressure on ourselves with our constant brooding and then often have no idea why we feel the way we do. Doubting ourselves is one of the most common and at the same time most exhausting emotional-spiritual habits we have.
The problem is that women have been collectively brainwashed:
with the far-fetched notion that everything is about us,
that we're the ultimate creators of our own lives,
and that things don't "work" because we don't work - whatever the fuck that means.
This hyper-individualistic New Age philosophy always adds an extra layer of miserable guilt to our backyard narratives, disempowering us even more, whether we suffer from not having a good love relationship, being "overweight," or not being as rich as we think we should be.
It's very short-sighted to ignore the influence of the environment on humans.
And it's just outrageous to ignore the impact of the environment on any of us. Yes, it doesn't fucking matter whether you were born in the slums of Brazil or in Berlin-Charlottenberg and whether you grew up with a pack of lost teenagers and no tap water or in a warm apartment with lots of love under high ceilings, with your own room and the smell of apple (mango) pie coming out of mom's kitchen every Saturday night.
In both cases, a miracle can happen if you study, work and meditate diligently.
But let's be realistic: the chances of you getting an education is very different from the outset and are indeed related to whether you live in a slum or in a comfortable apartment. Therefore, conditioning and deeply held beliefs are also likely to be very different, and this is reflected in how you use your talents and gifts, how you expand your consciousness, and how you ultimately shape your life to your liking.
Women are obviously different from men. We're extremely relational beings to begin with. Nancy Chodorow, in her book The Reproduction of Mothering, has developed an understanding of female psychological development that shows that a girl's psychosexual development is related to her innate sexual equality with her mother (not her father, hello) and that her position in relation to her mother determines her degree of autonomy in every relationship throughout the rest of her life.
This observation has important implications. According to Chodorow and Stone Center feminists, women have a more vulnerable sense of autonomy in relationships. The complex matrix of our relationships influences our self-perception and self, which shows up on many levels, especially in our ambition, because to succeed in this world, you've to achieve in a masculine way.
I doubt that modern women really know the "feminine" way. Many try to explore it, after all, we live in an overflow of the "feminine". But I also see that even when women think they're succeeding in a "feminine way," they're doing it in a masculine way because patriarchal programming is so deep that our thoughts and perceptions of reality are steeped in it.
On my therapeutic couch, I find that women often need extra support to think independently of what's happening in their lives, so immersed their psyche is in relationships. They often think of others first, and even when they think of themselves, they're often thinking of others. They believe they are addressing their own needs, but unconsciously, they're addressing the needs of others.
But the truth is also that while we women are energetically very open to what's going on in our relationships (the level of womb consciousness), we're still constantly creating our reality with our perception and with what we observe, how we observe it, how we think about it, and what we make of it. Often, like life in general, this is all a bit more challenging and demanding than it's for many men. We're not omnipotent and omniscient beings, as so many would have us believe - and as many would like to sell us. But we're also anything but powerless! We have a strong ally, and this ally is our Psyche, of course :)
In Psyche, things aren't logical. They're psychological. Psyche has its own kind of logic (and magic). So.... the pressure in a woman's life always makes sense. However, if we look a little deeper into her psyche, into the way her impulses, feelings, emotions, mental schemas, etc., actually align, we can see that the pressure she experiences on the outside is similar to the force she generates on the inside - for herself, by herself, as it were. When the sense of pressure is present in her life, we can always find the inside source of this pressure too.
The origin of internal pressure is significantly related to ideas of how we "should" be and how others "should" respond to us. To put it simply: a woman under pressure is guilty of trying to be someone other than she's.
For various reasons, she's unable to feel her energetic-emotional truth deep within her body.
On one side are their mental expectations, on the other side the denied energetic-emotional truth. This creates constant conflict and pressure. This eventually leads to mental confusion, emotional struggle and even physical pain.
The less the woman is aware of this dynamic, the more she invests in it. She then consumes vast amounts of time, thought, energy, and money as she strives to appear as the most beautiful girl in the world, daddy’s world champion, mum's good little girl, the most bright girl in the high school, sexual priestess, goddess, the kindest and compassionate soul you can imagine.
And often she's not even aware that she's doing all this. For example, she's not aware that she's trying to achieve her great business growth or scientific career just to finally get her father's approval. Even though her father has been deceased for 15 years, the little girl inside her is still looking for recognition and love, suffering from pressure, and has no idea why or how to put an end to her private suffering.
Until she does.
Because sooner or later, these compulsive strivings make her tired. And then dull. She suddenly feels like a gray ball of energy, the creative well is dry, and she feels stuck. Out of frustration, her body sometimes even gets sick, or hormonal imbalance kicks in. This overwhelm of private suffering is often a moment when women choose to engage in deep inner work.
Putting images of perfection off the pedestal is an essential intro step of deep inner work. Not the most popular one, but the most essential one.
In our narcissistic society with distorted feminine and distorted masculine energy patterns, it's a difficult step for many to knock the image of perfection off its pedestal. I meet women who're naturally endowed with many beautiful gifts but then use them in a broken way. They push themselves and exhaust themselves. They are no doubt competent, but they want more, and more, and more. Then they punish themselves when they fail to live up to expectations. Without being aware of their feminine nature, they demand straightforwardness and constant performance, which makes absolutely no sense for any woman.
The female body and Psyche are not fuctioning in a linear ways, but cyclic.
Idealized images that are the essence of expectations develop as polarity to early psychological wounds and trauma. These images are internally protected, and the human psyche unconsciously works hard to avoid reliving the injuries associated with unconscious wounds. Idealized images we've are often seductive. They flatter our ego mind, and are alluring, appealing, and full of promise. Like modern marketing, in a way. They always build on more of something that's usually convenient and easy to achieve. Or they demand hard sacrifices in the name of success, which is non-negotiable.
Let me give you an example. Imagine a child. Her mother and father are busy, as mothers and fathers are these days, right. They rarely ask the child about her day, except superficially, like he's in school. There's no genuine interest in her feelings, her thoughts, and his perceptions. There's no real "investment" in their mental and emotional reality, no genuine curiosity about their world.
How is it that you like cats so much? Do you ever wonder how big the universe is? What happens to atoms when a robin dies? Do you think atoms stop moving, dissolve, or cease to exist altogether? What'll you be when you grow up, a surfer and astronaut? What makes you happy over the moon?
There are no prying inquiries of this nature. What do you think is happening here?
What does the child feel? What do you feel?
Lack. And lack is a strange feeling, obviously of something missing in our lives. Often we attribute the lack to the outside. We assume that the lack in our lives is caused by our partner, our community, our children, society, or by God and the universe. We say, well, I'm missing something in the way we're. Something isn't right.
All this then goes on in secret because although we feel the lack, at the same time, we're fully immersed in this paradigm of radical self-responsibility; while we reach for things on the outside and compensate for lack with more - like another result, we want, an injection of filler or Botox, a bigger house, size 38 or 40, a new lover.
This doesn't solve our problem of lack. The problem is that we still lack the organic, embodied experience of what it's like to have someone close to us emotionally give us what we need. We simply hold the experience of lack in our cells. So we feel that lack, and we hold on to it. In projection, we think that something is constantly missing in our lives, which frustrates us a lot and causes a lot of frustration, anger, or bitterness.
To heal the hunger inside, that sense of lack, we must turn inward and heal the void.
No spiritual achievement and no seven-figure business bottom line has any meaning unless we can embrace ourselves inwardly outside of any achievement. Giving ourselves what we really need and healing the lack that fuels our craving for "more" is often about building a loving, compassionate relationship with all parts and versions of ourselves.
Healing is always about raising the vibration.
The point is to reverse or shift the energetic vibrational level. We leave dense, complicated, restricted energies. We move to brighter, lighter, much more expansive energy. Holistic and energy-based psychotherapy helps you live life out of your body rather than out of your mind and ideals, which are full of expectations, your own or others'.
When we live embodied life, we take life as a beloved experiment, as an experience divine.
We have a sacred, loving detachment from ourselves, other people, and the world while at the same time fully connecting emotionally and energetically, immersing ourselves with people and the world.
Each time we release a fractal of the pressure of our own idealized norms, we free ourselves a little more. We then experience love and joy; they're indeed unlimited and constantly growing, Just as there's no end to love, no end to joy, and no end to truth and beauty. Sooner or later, we realize that we're fine as we're. We're acceptable. We're loving and lovable. We can reach out and get what we need. There is enough. We are enough. We're not afraid of being ourselves, no matter how successful we are, because we know deep down we are ordinary and imperfect, beautiful in our own individuality, as everyone is.
It's okay to want more. If you're an ambitious woman with a strong drive to create and help shape this life, expansion is essential. Just make sure you do it out of your soulful fullness and not out of a psychological lack.
This is how you go from being a high achiever to being a high performer. You start looking for transformative solutions instead of turning your expectations into reality at any cost. You start believing in yourself, prioritizing, and surrendering to a deep trust in yourself. You give up exhausting control over every detail in your life because you feel safe inside and taken care of at all times.
In a nutshell
Do you feel a lot of pressure in your life? Check if you're putting too much pressure on yourself. You may be trying to become someone you think you should be, denying your deeper needs. Stop worshipping ideals. Come as you're.
**Tina Božič is a psychologist and psychotherapist in private practice, a women's issues professional, practicing holistic, energy-based psychotherapy.