The following poem was written by Rachael O’Donnell, LCSW, LADC, an outpatient counselor at Crossroads for Women. Rachael provides mental health and substance abuse counseling on an individual and group basis at Crossroads for Women’s outpatient office in Kennebunk and can also be found leading IOP groups in Portland (Maine).
What I Have Learned About Being A Woman
I have learned that other people’s judgments can keep us from doing a great deal of things, including loving ourselves, being who we truly are, and taking chances.
I have learned that regret is a river that runs deep and that forgiving ourselves can be our greatest challenge.
I have learned that a woman’s power is not measured by how loudly she speaks or how confident she appears –
It is measured by how much pain she can endure,
how much disappointment she can take,
and yet still have the capacity to love, to dream, & to hope
I have learned that sometimes just surviving means you are doing the best that you can
I have learned that the thoughts we think and the words we speak have the power to propel us forward or keep us stuck
I have learned that other women can be both our greatest allies & our worst adversaries
I have learned that true beauty is not always something you can see, It is more often a feeling. One that exists in fleeting moments- an expansion of our hearts that pushes the breath right out of us
I have learned that more than anything, we all just want to feel loved and accepted
I have learned that the journey to find safety, when it is something you have never had, can be a long, long road.
I have learned that even the best of intentions can be crushed by the weight of reality and responsibility
I have learned that a good laugh can lift even the lowest of spirits
I have learned that truly listening to another woman who needs to be heard can change her life, even if it is in ways that you cannot see
I have learned that friendships with other women are both necessary and complicated
I have learned that FEELING is something we MUST do ….
If we choose to run from it, the more it takes control and keeps us from getting anywhere at all
I have learned, that all of my other dreams and goals aside, if I have one moment in which I have touched another woman’s soul, where I have helped her feel loved or hopeful or worth something –
Than my life has purpose and meaning… And that is my greatest lesson of all.
~Rachael O’Donnell, LCSW, LADC