[notice]The first in a new fortnightly column by Anna Heydenrych[/notice]
“May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalms 19 vs 14
The other day, over a quick cup of coffee during my lunch break, a girlfriend and I were discussing how it would be wonderful to be ladies of leisure; to not have to work and rather pursue everyday whatever our hearts so desired. At that very moment, our hearts were so desiring to sit longer at the coffee shop.
Then we recalled that until very recently in our modern history, western women were still fighting for their right to be equal to men; to work, to vote, to have a say. At the risk of disrespecting our foremothers, we quickly acknowledged gratitude for our equal rights, and then realised that what we were so grateful for was choice. As modern women in the western world, we have a choice to pursue careers, be pioneers, to lead organisations or to be stay-at-home wives and moms. We decided that in whatever we as women find ourselves doing, we should embrace the fact that we are uniquely women – equal to men, but different.
On that note, I would like to dedicate this first edition of ‘Coffee Break with Anna’ to celebrating the first of four traits that I have identified as uniquely feminine. I will be writing about the other three in my next column (look out for it every two weeks).
Whether you are a working woman or a stay at home mom, I am pretty certain that you will relate to all four of these womanly characteristics. And my opinion is that we should embrace the differences that set us aside as a gender from men, just as we embrace the unique characteristics, talents and personality traits that make each woman different from the next. But for the sake of this two-part article, I am assuming that as women, we relate uniquely to each other and that as you read this, you will relate with it and will feel proud of the traits that make us uniquely feminine.
So, in no particular order, uniquely feminine and womanly characteristic number one is: We talk more!
Any man you know will probably agree with this one, and further to this confirmation, the matter has actually been scientifically researched. Women allegedly use up to three times as many words in a day as men do! I can’t verify the accuracy of this study, but I do know that when I get together with my girlfriends, there is a lot of communication going on. I also know that when my husband and I arrive home from work, it is I more often than not who dominates the conversation with my verbose recounting of the day’s events.
Women also communicate differently to men. You have probably heard a man lament the fact that women are just impossible to interpret or understand at times. Sometimes they just don’t pick up the subtle nuances and communicative clues that we give them.
I recall some excellent advice given to me by a girlfriend before I got married. She told me that it was unfair to expect men to fulfil the role of girlfriends. All women -married and single, young and old – need to have regular interaction with other women. Sometimes men just don’t give us the reactions that we need in certain situations. Let me clarify with an example:
Woman to girlfriend: Look at my new shoes, they were on sale
Girlfriend: Oh my word, they are stunning!!! Where did you get them?
Woman to man: Look at my new shoes, they were on sale.
Man: Oh no, how much did you spend on those?
Maybe this is a silly example, and maybe you did overspend on the shoes, but can you remember a scenario or a time when you have needed the caring and understanding of a girlfriend to help talk about and unpack a situation in your life? You know what I mean, us girls need each other and it is important to make time for each other even as we grow up, move away, get married and have children and grand children.
So, let’s celebrate feminine and womanly characteristic number one by remembering to appreciate and make time for the ladies in our lives. And remember, as much as you need to talk, you also need to listen to your girlfriends, and be there for them when they need to talk to you. Let’s also endeavour to be women who, instead of occupying our time and minds with frivolous gossip, are known and respected for our sound counsel.
I came across this fitting quote a little while ago, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” It is commonly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, but this is disputed, as there is no citation of an original source. Nonetheless, let us, as women aspire to use our penchant for communication for good. May our words be words that heal, encourage and inspire others to greatness.