June 7, 2016

Girls with Guts, The Power of a Sisterhood

When we started Girls With Guts almost 4 years ago (wow!), we wanted to share stories here on this blog about empowerment. Right from the beginning we knew the power of shared experiences and connecting with other people who can related to you. It wasn’t until our first retreat in 2013 that the idea of a “sisterhood” became a common phrase when used in relation to Girls With Guts. The best part about this term being used in conjunction with GWG is that we (the board) didn’t associate that term with ourselves, but it was you, our clients who started referring to yourselves as a sisterhood.

I consulted a lot of sources on the meaning of a sisterhood for this post and this is what I found:

Merriam-Webster defines a sisterhood this way:

1a :  the state of being a sister  bsisterly relationship

2:  a community or society of sisters; especially :  a society of women in a religious order

3:  the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns

When I asked my friends this is what they said:

“A collective, global community of women supporting, empowering, and backing each other up.”

“Group of women who support each other.”

“With a common thought or to attain a common goal.”

“Love, support, and honesty.”

“The Shared experience, common voice, and innate bond.”

“Love, support, understanding, non-judgmental. Open communication. Not intentionally hurting one another. Trust. Solace. Forgiveness. Acceptance.”

Wow! That is some powerful stuff! The resounding commonality is that a sisterhood is a support network of women working together. “A solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences and concerns.” That sentence alone could practically be our mission statement. Girls With Guts is based in the idea of supporting each other, sharing experiences, loving one another, and most importantly empowering each other through our diseases. The foundation of what we were built on is that women have a different journey than men do when it comes to IBD (and life in general). Women are taught from a young age to fight against each other as opposed to supporting each other and that is something that we are working adamantly to change. But we need your help! I encourage you all to look at your interactions with the women in your life. All of the women in your life, not just your IBD friends, and consider if you are building them up and if they are doing the same for you in return. It’s no secret that I am a modern day feminist and believe strongly in the power of a sisterhood. Girls With Guts would not have gotten this far if it wasn’t for the sisterhood of my friends and family, as well as our wonderful clients who created the sisterhood we have here. Girls With Guts belongs to you, it is yours. It is your gift and responsibility to make sure that it stays a supportive and nurturing space.

For me, sisterhood is beautiful thing because we create it and therefore we control what it looks like. I am apart of a few sisterhoods that are supportive, encouraging and full of love. In the end, I know that a sisterhood is what I make of it, what I put in is what I get out and all of that jazz. It is an entity based in honesty, it’s free of judgement and negativity because that is the energy that I put into it. Much like most of life, and Girls With Guts in general, it is your journey and you will get out what you put in. This not only encourages us to take care of ourselves but also one another. In a sisterhood, we are also responsible for our sisters.

I’d love for you to write in the comments what a sisterhood means to you and why it is powerful.

Originally published http://www.girlswithguts.org/2016/02/17/the-power-of-a-sisterhood/