In a Venice, CA juice bar, a girl peeked over the counter to ask me a question:
“Wha sh ss gwen-ed?”
To which I replied, “Excuse me?”
“What’s your name, Nosshneis?”
Confused and frustrated by the whizzing blenders, I looked at her carefully for a moment. Did I know her from somewhere? After a pause I realized I’d never before seen her lovely face, and asked again, “What?”
To which she replied, clearly and loudly, “What’s your name, Goddess?”
Shocked by what she’d said and how rudely I’d ruined her delivery I said simply, “uh, Katina, what’s yours?” She told me and made another smoothie. I didn’t amend our awkward interaction, but what she said stuck with me for days.
We’re all trying to be better people. For me, specifically, a better woman, and a better Katina. There’s our little goals to be more healthy, get a better job, have a healthier relationship, but what if there’s a current running through all of us, that can make us become the better selves we want to be? What if there’s a secret?
Depending on the situation, a woman can become either a “goddess,” or a “bitch,” says Naomi Wolf in her latest novel, Vagina: A New Biography. Though there have been mixed reviews of this book, I find this tidbit anecdotally and personally kind-of-true.
If I’m happy, confident, well nourished, and un-stressed, I act loving, kind, generous, and healing to those I’m around me.
But if I’m tired, stressed, disrespected, insecure, resentful, or overwhelmed, I can become snappy, judgmental, pushy, impatient, and borderline rude. Dare I say it, bitchy.
We’re all dynamic, unique souls, and I don’t mean to generalize. But what I do want for myself and for all the women in my life, is to be more of a “Goddess,” more of the time.
Why I’m a Bitch:
I’ll admit it to you. I can be hard to be around. Sadly though I have many angelic, goddess-like qualities, I have perhaps an equal amount of the opposite. And all we can do is admit it honestly to ourselves, embrace it, and find sympathy for any pain causing us to act that way.
But aside from those deep inner wounds, I have some other, very basic needs.
In 1943 a man named Abraham Maslow introduced a concept called a “hierarchy of needs,” in which he depicted the stages of human development based on the order of how our needs need to be met. For starters, the lowest and largest box on his pyramid, the block on which all the others stand, is our physiological well being.
This may seem incredibly rudimentary to everyone, but to me it’s been a slow reveal of epic proportions. The concept that 8 hours of sleep, a healthy diet, good sex, and “homeostasis” are non-negotiable factors in my well-being and potential for greatness is actually a bit shocking. No one told me that if I wanted to achieve my career goals I needed to get a good night’s rest and 60 grams of protein!
But if Maslow’s hierarchy has even a semblance of accuracy, then we all have some work to do.
Luckily, it’s certainly not rocket science. How difficult is it to drink eight glasses of water a day, have three well-balanced meals, sleep eight hours, and maintain healthy habits?
Judging from my own experience and from our nation’s health problems, it’s VERY DIFFICULT. But why? If you ask yourself why you aren’t able to do what’s best for your physical needs, you’ll find lots of lame excuses. Mine are:
“It’s kinda hard”
“I don’t have enough time”
So the truth of the matter is: I don’t make it a priority. Which is to say, deep down I don’t believe that my body and my health is important enough to be a priority. Now there are lots of cultural and gender-specific iterations and reasons for this. However, for the sake of my plight to become more-“Goddess-like,” I’m going to say that:
Why I’m a Goddess:
Again, people are complex, dynamic, and unique, there’s no separating us into categories (Picasso said, ‘There are only two types of women – goddesses and doormats.”) However, I do know the difference, in the spectrum of my life, to be on the Goddess side versus the Bitchy side, and I want to spend more time at the former. Here are three tips for becoming more of the goddess you already are:
GODDESS TIP # 1: MY HEALTH AND PHYSICAL WELL-BEING IS A NON-NEGOTIABLE PRIORITY
If we don’t make our physical well being a priority now, then when will we? When we have our first health crisis? When we start lamenting the physical signs of aging? Why wait for something negative to occur, especially if spending more time and energy on our own health can support our greater goals and ambitions?
“God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there’s no turning back.” Gloria Steinem
The majority of people reading this right now have the resources to prioritize their health, if they want to. Sadly, 1.2 billion people around the world (70% of them women) are living in poverty and have lifelong battles struggling to meet just their physical needs. I’m grateful for the privilege I have to write this article, and put my own health first. Click here to donate to one of my favorite women-empowering charities.
Take a moment to think of three ways you could take better care of yourself. Write them down and commit to how and when you will do those three things this week. Our physical well-being is the foundation for building rest of our life. If it’s not healthy, everything else can crumble.
GODDESS TIP #2 MY OWN SAFETY AND SECURITY COME FIRST
I hate to say it, but I know way too many women who have half-assed their ambitions because they are waiting for someone to come “save them,” namely a husband with a lot of cash. Sure, we’ve come a long way from the 60’s, yet I’ve caught myself thinking “does my career really matter, if I’m eventually going to get married, have kids, and set my ambitions aside?”
Here’s the truth. The answer is the same for every person, of every gender, every place in the world. Your unique gift and your purpose on this earth is the most important thing in your life. That’s not to say that we’re all meant to be CEOs making six figures or that it’s not okay to be a full-time mom. Having purpose and passion for your life simply means being confident and excited with who you are and what you bring to the world. Every day.
Now most of us don’t know exactly what that is – or rather, we’ve forgotten. Some of us are on the right track but not exactly satisfied. And rarer, are those people fully alive and thriving with passion for what they’re doing, every day they wake up.
It doesn’t matter where we are on this journey. Whether it’s the first lap or the final stretch, what matters is that we respect ourselves enough to listen to our intuition, consider taking risks in the direction of our dreams, and empower ourselves with the tools and an environment to get there. Though we may have multiple jobs, passions, and hobbies, feeling confident and sure about ourselves and what we offer the planet can bring joy, security, resources, health, and prosperity.
But there’s a loophole. We can get these things other places, as well. Hence the knight-in-shining-armor dream we hold on to when we’re unhappy with our own lives. But in this world, you can never count on anything, including the people around you, so why not place the majority of our energy and faith in who we are on the inside, and how we want to offer it to the world?
Our purpose and passions can change, we require growth and immense strength, but committing to ourselves and our own personal purpose is a big secret behind the most successful people in the world.
“Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams.” -Stuart Wilde
Take a moment to write down your most secret dreams for yourself. The things that nag at you sometimes, but you’re too afraid to tell anyone around you. Or maybe you told someone and they squashed your dream because they’ve squashed their own. Bring those deep dreams out in to the open, and write them down, just to see how it feels. It’s the first step to honoring the true you.
GODDESS TIP #3: RESPECT IS A MUSCLE THAT NEEDS TO BE EXERCISED
You’ve heard all the statistics about body image in the media and what a f*ed up sense of beauty we’re spoon fed all our lives.
But I’d like a statistic for how many times a day I say something negative and derogatory to myself. How often do you? I’d put myself on the high spectrum of self-esteem and yet I am constantly subtly judging my physical appearance, putting myself down as a failure, and pushing myself instead of practicing sympathy and kindness.
And when I’m around other women, I hear us do it all the time to each other, reiterating our lack of self-worth. “Hi I haven’t seen you in so long, you look so great!” (as if that’s the most important thing there is.) Or talking about a mutual friend, “I love ___ a lot except for the fact that _____(insert bitchy, judgment or gossip).”
It’s all over the media about women being bitchy and mean to one another. It’s in the media constantly. Aside from that, I’ve experienced my own pandemic of female friendships my entire life. So I’m pretty sure there’s an epidemic of strong, supportive female bonds. (If you disagree, please write to me!)
Well if you look at how we’re treating ourselves, there’s no wonder. We act nice, polite, and sweet to each other, but under it all, we’re thinking the same things about each other that we think about ourselves:
“You’re not good enough”
“It’s all going to go downhill eventually”
“You couldn’t if you tried…”
ON and ON….
RESPECT |riˈspekt|: verb [ with obj. ] to admire someone deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
ORIGIN late Middle English: from Latin respectus, from the verb respicere ‘look back at, regard,’ from re- ‘back’ + specere ‘look at.’
Respect means looking DOWN at ourselves and admiring our abilities, qualities, and achievements. And when do that, we can also do it for those around us, starting a new era of positive, supportive relationships.
It takes work, commitment, inner-growth, and forgiveness to turn ourselves into positive, supportive beings. MEanWhile the world doesn’t make it any easier and our habits and addictive behaviors do everything they can to keep us on the negative spin cycle.
But with introspection and honesty we can form true friendships with both OURSELVES and people we trust and admire. And until then, FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. I recently read that our postive thoughts are ten times as powerful as our negative ones. So if you think to yourself “I’m ugly” ten times, it only takes saying “I’m beautiful,” ONCE to win the battle. Write it down, sing it, scream it, paint it on the wall, and tell every person you know that they’re beautiful, too, and we’ll be on our way to winning the war.