In college, I started a small Etsy shop and blog from the storage closet in my sorority house. A few years later, and through a very non-linear journey, that small Etsy shop grew into an internationally recognized sweatshirt brand & that little blog led to bestselling books and a publishing career. Now, I'm obsessed about helping other women uncover what they're made to do and take steps to make it happen, too.
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I say it’s high time we rediscover the art of femininity in a world of mixed messages for women.
I mean, really, it seems like society can’t make up its mind about women. Should we be independent boss babes? Homemakers and moms? The president or pastor’s wife? Quiet and gentle? Strong and fierce? It’s enough to make our heads spin!
So in this episode, I brought on Amanda Ferguson, Certified Etiquette Consultant and Femininity Coach, to help us embrace our feminine design. In this conversation, we dig deep into what tapping into our femininity as women in today’s culture actually looks like.
Before diving too deep into rediscovering the art of femininity, I asked Amanda how she defines femininity. I figured that would be important to have in mind as a frame of reference.
Her answer? Femininity is tender power.
I leaped at that answer! In a world that tells us we should either be soft and tender OR powerful, Amanda profoundly combines the two. In doing so, she highlights the truth that being tender does not mean being weak or being a pushover, and that being powerful does not mean being harsh.
She hit the nail on the head with this definition and I believe it’s important to lay the groundwork for the rest of this conversation with this clearly defined.
Before continuing on, she emphasized that she considers femininity an art because art is beautiful, and being a woman is beautiful.
I can get on board with that!
With the definition in mind, I pushed a little harder.
“Okay, Amanda,” I asked, “But how do we actually harness this tender power you speak of?”
I continued, “And what gets in the way of us tapping into the beautiful art of femininity?”
She began by opening up about her own story, sharing traumas she’s endured in her life, such as sexual abuse when she was a young girl and losing her mother to cancer later in life.
Then, she highlighted an important lesson she learned as she tried to navigate the world as a woman after those experiences:
“I learned that you stop growing at the place of your last trauma that hasn’t been dealt with.”
She went on to explain how her own experiences showed her how much trauma can steal our tenderness because in an effort to protect ourselves from pain, we may respond by trying to be tough.
Our efforts to shield ourselves from pain and avoid exposing ourselves can actually cause more harm than good by hardening our hearts and making us harsh.
Have you ever noticed this happen in your life? What was that like?
In addition to the personal experiences that can disconnect us from our femininity, or our tender power, Amanda also pointed out that culture can do this as well.
Often times, women interpret the messages of empowerment to mean that in order to succeed in this world, we either need to 1) tear down men or 2) be like men.
Both of these approaches miss the mark because they discount the beauty of our feminine design and the unique contribution we can make as women.
God intentionally made is unique, and we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we fight our feminine design.
Amanda puts it this way, “Empowering women doesn’t require tearing down men,” and instead offers alternative, healthier ways to think about it.
And when it comes to confidence? The Femininity Coach herself argues that it doesn’t come from trying to prove we’re better than anyone else. Instead, it comes from doing what we’re called to do without trying to prove anything.
Sounds a little like the subtitle of my book, Own Your Everyday, which is, “Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You Were Made to Do.”
Lastly, we talked about the “it” factor some women seem to have.
You know when you see those women who walk into a room with confidence, and although you can’t put your finger on it, there’s just something magnetic about her? She’s poised, present, and powerful but not harsh, bossy, or domineering?
That’s the IT factor. It comes from a place of inward confidence that spills outward effortlessly.
Knowing that most of us would love to have that kind of confidence, I asked Amanda, “How do we women get THAT? How do we become more poised and powerful as a woman?”
She offered the three steps summarized here to get started (tune in to learn more on how to actually do each one!):
1. Deal with Your Internal Dialogue to Build Your Self Esteem (how you talk to yourself matters)
2. Work on Your Posture to Be More Poised (head up, shoulders back)
3. Take Your Time and Take Inventory of What’s Going On Around You (slow down when you walk)
Ready to learn the art of femininity, tap into your tender power, and get the IT factor every woman wants? Hit the play button on your favorite podcast platform!
Once you’ve had a chance to listen, come back here and tell us in the comments what your biggest takeaway was and how you’re going to turn insight into action.
Here’s to women!
PS. Learn more from Amanda by following her on Instagram here.