By Tapiwa Mhlanga
“I love my husband, but it is nothing like a conversation with a woman that understands you. I grow so much from those conversations.”
Female friendships have for a very long time been under estimated and in some instances portrayed in a negative light. ‘Betrayal’, ‘Jealousy’, ‘Nasty’ are some of the numerous words that are widely used to describe female friendships. What is often not mentioned is the power of Sisterhood.
Sisterhood-This is an intimate yet platonic relationship between two strong, ambitious, independent women, who become even more fabulous by virtue of being in the same vicinity. It is this astounding source of confidence, reassurance, comfort, joy and candor that can serve as guidance through life. It multiplies women’s professional power, helping more women fulfill their potential. A sisterhood is the sun in your darkest hour. It provides the solidarity to get through the inconvenience, fear, confusion and even danger of being female. Being part of a sisterhood means never being alone and real women know that we need each other’s love and support to survive in this world. Female friends can be the greatest loves of our life.
So which of our woman-to-woman bonds should we focus on? Here are five essential sisters you should embrace, love and cherish.
PERSONAL PASTOR One of the ways women learn to be godly is from other godly women! Your personal pastor contributes to your spiritual growth. She is crucial to helping you get through your trials by praying with you and urging you on in the faith. Let’s face it, at times it’s just plain hard to do the right thing. Your personal pastor will be there to encourage you when you don’t feel like pressing on. She will be the woman reminding you of why it’s important to honour Christ with your life.Your personal pastor also serves as your accountability partner. Truthfully, wanting to honour Christ with your thoughts, actions, and words is great, but without accountability, it’s very easy to slip and miss the mark. And that’s where your personal pastor comes in. She is willing to ask you the tough questions, ‘’ What areas are you struggling in the most right now?’’
Your personal pastor should only be one God fearing woman who walks with you through your spiritual journey. She holds you to a high standard and empowers you to live out God’s calling on your life through prayer, devotion and spiritual counselling.Invest time and resources into keeping this bond alive. That might mean getting a regular counselling date or being the one to follow up (yet again) to a prayer date. Avoid keeping score because at times your personal Pastor can be overwhelmed with other Church obligations too.
MENTOR Empowered sisters are superwomen. Such a woman will not hesitate to scold you, push you, and even anger you in order to empower you.She is someone you look up to, because she is truly a trail blazer. Your mentor nurtures and grows your talent, skills and abilities. She encourages, motivates and inspires you to be the best version of yourself.
You should have at least one mentor, but make sure you choose someone who is not overwhelmed so that they have enough time to devote towards mentoring you. Your mentor can be an industry leader or just someone who is 5-10 years ahead of you in your career. This relationship will allow you to learn how to navigate through the challenges and obstacles they have faced. Plus avoid making some of the mistakes she has made. Make time even with a chaotic schedule to form a deep meaningful relationship. Have regular one-on-one meetings where she gets to deposit her gold nuggets into your life. Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Proverbs 27:17).
GATE KEEPER Your gate keepers help you to reach your goals. These women are connectors or contacts that bring you closer to your dreams by opening doors and bringing about new opportunities. Opportunities to meet your gatekeepers are everywhere – from the office to networking events, seminars or happy hours. Your gate keeper is not only a high-profile individual but also the individual ranking lowest in your social or professional circle. We can find each other to connect and share resources so make sure to treat each woman you meet with love, respect and support when you’re able to provide it. And just in-case you’re not already doing so, attend networking events. They will allow you to connect with women who will help you to reach your goals.
LOYALIST Your loyalist is someone you can always go to and never have to worry because she always has your back. You never have to worry about her judging you because she always accepts you for who you are with all your flaws. She is someone whom you can be completely vulnerable with; share your darkest secrets, deepest desires and fears with in an emotionally safe space. They defend us, wipe away our tears, take care of us when we are ill, encourage us in difficult times, lend us money if needed and support our dreams.
As you age, illness, deaths of loved ones often leave you feeling lonely. Having someone you can turn to for company and support can offer purpose and be a cushion against misery, ill health, suffering and loss. In particular, Ruth supported Naomi by going to the fields and gleaning grain for Naomi. Naomi was not a young woman and could not do this for herself. She also cared for her mother-in-law when her husband passed away. Our sisterhood is our safe space to share and heal, especially useful when it feels like the world is against us. You should definitely take time out, no matter how crazy busy you are to nurture this relationship.
DISCIPLE Mentoring girls is an important part of the sisterhood. Our sisterhood must be intergenerational and diverse to grow and continue positive change. A disciple is woman who is ideally younger than you, who you mentor. Women forget how much we can inspire one another. No one really understands us like us. Mentoring your ‘sister’ may come at an expense and inconvenience to one’s self but the prize, the joy that comes from helping your sister far outweighs the cost.Life isn’t all about you or your success. It’s about the success of all women.Our sisterhood is our tribe and each of us is gifted with something unique, our own stash of knowledge and talents to help one another in our life’s journey. So why won’t you invest in another woman who is younger, and is trying to make her way in the world?
I encourage you to increase your circle and make space for these close sister-ships in your life. Find your tribe. Love them hard. Having a tribe means having people that you can confidently depend on and that depend on you, people you can laugh with and cry with, that will encourage you when you are down, support and enthuse you to be the best version of yourself. Take note that sisterhood is not a destination but a journey. Developing and maintaining friendships actually takes time and effort. Keep in mind, “There’s nothing quite like a lady power team”. So invest the necessary time, interest and reciprocity needed to develop your sisterhood tribe.