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Adventures of a Midwestern Jewish Woman Living in the Hill Country
A Message for All Women: Look Inside Yourself for Approval
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 • Posted October 20, 2009

It's quite overwhelming to me the signals we send our young people about what it means to be an adult. I want to share some words with the women who read this column. I'm writing to the women because I am a woman and have been doing a lot of work spiritually and emotionally lately and women seem to have a common struggle on the inside and that is who we look to for positive affirmation of who we are as individuals. We look through our own eyes and see what society proclaims to be acceptable for beauty - namely the latest Hollywood beauty to emerge from the boondocks somewhere here in the US or an international sensation. Of course, our religions and co-religionists inform how we conduct ourselves and as a consequence we start looking like one another. I want to say it is time for women to truly look inside ourselves for approval; not society or our mates, but inside ourselves.

It's natural to want approval from others, but what happens when it doesn't happen? Or somehow we are swayed to become something we're not because we feel that's what someone we care about wants us to be? What results is we're down the road a ways in our walk of life and find we've become resentful and disheartened because we are strangers residing in our own skin. We've conformed and sold out for someone else.

Truly looking inside yourself is quite an adventure and it's something fewer people do than I previously realized. I speak from experience when I write this. If you've lived long enough, you've taken a few bad licks from life. I've finally come to the realization that God really does cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. "It" happens to all of us. My early years were formed by an alcoholic father, which resulted in co-dependent behavior that unfortunately, I carried into my adult life and am finally getting around to purging from my soul.

I invite all of you to remember just how precious you are to God no matter who you are... He created you for a reason... and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Ladies... please spend some positive time inside your skin and love those areas that have been hurt in the past. Make peace with what was, so that you can move forward in a positive manner. All great traditions recognize the healing power that comes with exercising forgiveness. So grant forgiveness... do it today!

I remember struggling with the idea of forgiveness always and when I came to the Jewish tradition, I brought it with me. I asked my Jewish mentor Joe about forgiveness. At the time, I was struggling with forgiving my mother for some things. Joe told me that I must respect my mother as the person who brought me life, and while I might forgive her for the past, it's not required of me to forget. Oh how this made so much sense to me - and today I haven't forgotten what was, but with forgiveness and excitement for the present and future, I see the past as not being all the important anymore.

Lack of forgiveness can get in the way of happiness... so can a woman discontent with who she is. Ladies I'm being led to write for you and me for awhile now, so stay tuned!

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