10 steps for women who eventually want to fulfil their potential (10/10)

Wilhelm Busch once said that envy is the most honest form of recognition

Whereas jealousy means ‘I want to have what you have’, being envious means ‘I want to have what you have, and I do not want you to have it!’. While a little bit of jealousy adds a certain amount of flavour to a dish, like salt and pepper, envy means emptying the whole pepper mill on it.

Furthermore, envy indicates a lack of self-worth, and hints at self-pity, which results in comparing oneself with others, and feeling disadvantaged.

And the other way round: if we feel envied, it is the unspoken confession that we are better or more successful, or simply luckier. At least, at the first, more superficial glance. However, if you take a closer look at the spiritual laws, you will discover that everything that happens to us is the result of cause and effect.

Envy is of no benefit because…

  • you benefit more from concentrating on your own life, needs and successes
  • you are happier when content with what you have
  • it is better to concentrate on your abilities and talents rather than peering at others
  • it is better to define personal levels and priorities
  • envy can destroy relationships, which you definitely do not want
  • envy weakens your self-worth, your self-esteem, and your self-confidence, which is the last thing you want


  • Nobody knows what is going on behind the closed doors of other people. Maybe they pay a high price for their success.
  • Envy is like poison. It has a direct effect on your body and weakens it. Nelson Mandela once said that envy is like drinking poison, hoping that it might kill your enemies. Envy always works against you!
  • If you are envied, do not be offended or angry – the successful German TV presenter Robert Lembke used to say ‘Pity you get for free, envy you must earn’.
  • Watch yourself and recognize in which situations you feel envy and why. Only when you see through your behaviour patterns, can you consciously work on them.
  • Admit to your insecurity, your frustration or self-pity in connection with envy. You do not have to be ashamed! But the longer you suppress these emotions, the deeper you go down the spiral of envy.
  • Change your point of view of life, and abandon your role as a victim. As long as you believe you were disadvantaged as a child, and still are as an adult, you will always envy other people. Realize that other people’s lives, which you probably envy, are not perfect, or without problems.
  • Stop thinking about what is fair or not. You do not know about the higher plan behind other people’s lives. You have no idea about their learning tasks and developing steps, and what challenges they have to face. Maybe their hardest learning tasks feel easy for you.
  • Have the courage to change your living conditions if you are unhappy. Nagging, envy and moaning only cost valuable energy, but are of no use. Oh well, as the saying goes: change it, love it or leave it!




For ten years my parents tried to make me eat what normal people eat. They eventually succeeded. In the first ten years of my life I refused meat and dairy products. And I still do not like onions, garlic and leeks. And there is more…

I remember very well when I slowly started to eat cheese at the age of eight. A strange thing indeed, considering my father held a leading position in a local dairy. It was no problem for me to eat bread and butter, therefore, my mother mixed mild cheese spread with loads of butter, so that I got used to the taste of cheese. The next step was bread and butter with thinly sliced cheese. Even this became normal for me, so I turned to stronger cheeses, until I ended with really stinky ones. Everybody was proud of me!


I also found sausages disgusting! But this is a different story. Today, some decades later, I am aware that I was born as a semi-vegan. Of course, this did not fit into the prevailing habits of the society I grew up in. Many children have a natural instinct, and feel exactly what is good for them and what is not. During my days as a kinesiologist I often experienced that children are allergic or intolerant to food they did not want to eat originally (but were often forced to).

For some years I have been vegetarian for ethical reasons, moving towards becoming vegan. I am not interested in facts and statistics which say it is unhealthy to eat meat. No, I just don’t like meat because I don’t want to eat dead animals. And this includes fish and seafood.


I always find it amazing that loving owners of horses, dogs, cats, hamsters or guinea pigs eat a rare steak without turning a hair. The American social psychologist Melanie Joy has written an interesting book on this topic: ‘Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, And Wear Cows’.

She says you should imagine the following scenario: you are invited to a festive dinner at friends’. Together with the other guests you sit at a nicely laid table. The room is pleasantly warm, candle light is reflected in crystal glasses filled with wine. There is relaxed conversation. You can smell tempting aromas coming from the kitchen. You have not eaten anything the whole day, and your stomach is rumbling. After some time, which seems a lifetime to you, the host appears with a steaming bowl of stew.

The scent of meat, spices and vegetables is drifting through the room. You help yourself generously. After you have tried the tender meat, you ask the host for the recipe. She happily reveals the secret by telling that she first takes five pounds of golden retriever meat, well marinated, and then… Golden retriever? You are petrified! The meat in your mouth comes from a dog. And now? Would you continue? Or does the thought of Golden Retriever on your plate, which you have just eaten, repel you?


What is going on here? When we think of a golden retriever, we see a dog in front of us, playing ball with children in a garden, dozing in front of the fireplace, or running alongside with a jogger. These images raise sympathy and compassion for the killed dog, and disgust at  the thought of eating this animal. If we deal with beef, however, we skip this part of the process of perception which connects the meat with the cow.

I do not count myself as a militant vegetarian who condemns others for eating meat. People have different reasons why they do not want to exclusively live on vegetables, grain or fruits.

Why do I publish this text on my women’s blog? Because in my experience, it is basically us women who influence the eating habits of our families and therefore, indirectly of our society.

However, an increasing number of children and teenagers influence us adults to do without meat. They simply refuse to eat animals for ethical reasons.



10 Steps for women who finally want to fulfil their potential

A proverb by John Knittel states that you are old as soon as you have more pleasure in the past than in the future.

Are you one of those people who are in the present physically but their mind is still in the past? It is very hard, if not impossible, to discover and live your potential in this position!

You feel torn inside, wasting your resources on people and situations that have a completely different, or possibly, no role in the present.

Maybe you want to take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions:

Why you are sometimes stuck in the past?

  • Do you not get old, burdening situations, failures or wrong decisions out of your mind?
  • Do you regret missed chances and opportunities?
  • Are you incapable of forgiving yourself for something in the past?
  • Are you scared your best days might have gone?
  • Would you like to turn back the clock to take another direction at a crossroads in your life?
  • Is the future a major cause of concern to you?

How you can mentally bow out of the past

  • Take time very consciously to think about something from the past that you cannot get out of your mind. Take a regular time for this, for example 20 minutes in the evening. When the time has elapsed, deliberately turn your thoughts to something totally different. You will probably be able to stop, or at least control your thoughts from going round in circles.
  • Replace your thoughts about the past by consciously chosen positive plans. If you, for instance, continue to dwell on past quarrels or arguments, then firmly say to yourself “STOP!”, and then think of something beautiful, such as a holiday, a celebration or a relaxing day.
  • Imagine your future in the best possible way, plan the first steps, and start realizing them. This gives you no more time to think about the past.

How you make peace with the past

  • Learn to recognise facts from feelings! Emotions can be agonizing, take much space, suck energies, and often do not have anything to do with reality. Sometimes you might be carried away by fantasy. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
  • Appreciate the experiences you have made in difficult situations in the past. Totally accept them. It is no use struggling with the past, so therefore, learn your lessons gratefully.
  • Change your view of the past! If this is hard for you, imagine yourself as a neutral observer, and realize that it is mainly your emotions that do not let you rest. Try to pay attention to the facts, not the feelings, that connect you with the event in the past.
  • Allow yourself to enjoy the present and look ahead. Even if you have lost someone very close to you, and must now live without them, it is important to learn to enjoy your life to the full again.


Women Women&Consciousness


Scientists have noticed that the female body reduces stress more quickly and efficiently than the male one. The women in the study produced less cortisol (stress hormones) and less adrenaline than the men undergoing the same test. Also heart frequency and blood pressure rose less strongly in comparison.

Nature has ordained that the male body produces more testosterone then the female one. In stress situations it tells the neuro-receptors to drop everything, and react to a threatening or emotionally escalating situation rapidly. Whereas this was a lifesaver for cavemen, this boost of testosterone often results in a stress reaction, or even aggression, nowadays. Therefore, men are more at risk of a heart attack than women.


When men feel under pressure, they shut themselves off. They usually try to deal with their stress and their feelings themselves. They resist asking others for help and tend to blame others for their stress/their situation.


When women are under stress, they usually go towards others (other women) and want to speak about their feelings. They react emotionally and find help on the outside. This may be support from friend, but also therapists. And women are more likely to blame themselves for a problem or a stressful situation. But they are also more vulnerable to depression. According to studies, twice as often as men.


As soon as we understand that due to hormones men react to emotional or stressful burdens differently to women, we can more easily understand and accept that they do not speak about their problems, handle them on their own, and do not want to seek professional help. However, it needs our female sensitivity and empathy to find out if and how we can detect what burdens our loved one.

A blog series for us women which can help to see men with different eyes and to understand them (even better).



She is a (small) rebellion and this is a good thing. I am talking about the British woman Sophie Slater. She started to study History at Manchester, and became dedicated to women’s rights. One day she had had enough of the way the fashion business treated women. She thought: can fashion be feminist? Are women’s rights considered in the production of clothes? There have been good intentions for years, initiatives for better working conditions in textile factories, campaigns against unnaturally thin models and sexist advertisements. But this has taken much too long for Sophie.


Therefore, the British student founded the company Birdsong with two colleagues in 2014: an internet shop, selling clothes and accessories only made by women in aid projects all over the world. Clothes and style have always fascinated Sophie. As a child she liked to dress up in front of the mirror. During her school-time in the north-east of England, she worked as a shop assistant and model for the American company ‘American Apparel’. Although they claimed not to have their clothes produced by exploitation, the company’s founder Dov Charney had a shockingly one-sided image of women, the young woman remembers. “During my work I was constantly surrounded by posters, showing women’s bottoms.” As it became known that Charney had sexually harassed employees for years, she was sure: the view of women in many fashion companies was still not right.


Sophie worked for an emergency hotline for rape victims, and cared for homeless women. She could see how hard it was for women’s projects when grants were cut back. During a postgraduate programme in London she met Sarah Beckett and Ruba Huleihel, two young women with similar interests. They soon agreed on a study project: they developed an internet shop, offering self-made fashion from several London women’s projects. They took photos of the clothes in parks, and a friend acted as a model. When they went online, they had about 30 products in the shop. After one day they were almost sold out.

Today Birdsong cooperates with 16 women’s projects. Amongst these are six organisations in England, a sewing group of Israeli and Palestinian women, a social enterprise in South Africa, producing necklaces and rings from recycled magazines, and former prostitutes from Thailand, earning their money with self-made jewellery.


About 80% of the proceeds go back to the producers. But the idea of Birdsong goes beyond sales. “We want to remove the male view from fashion”, says Sophie. Therefore, the motto on the website is “No sweatshops, no photoshops” – no exploiting companies and no digitally modified models. The young woman only employs women photographers, and the models have the most different cultural backgrounds. Some women do not shave their underarm hair, some are 86 or transwomen.


Birdsong does still not make a profit. The company is supported by private investors and government funding. Therefore, besides her work at Birdsong, Sophie needs three more jobs to pay for her rent: at a school, at a women’s advice centre for rape victims, and as a journalist. But this does not deter her. After all, when she talks with potential investors, she can see how chauvinist not only the fashion business is, but also the scene of social enterprises. She is often seen as a trainee. “There is always some sexism. Only a few investors have the confidence in a young woman to found a company. But every single dress we sell will help to make a change.”

Personal details: Sophie Slater, British and 25 years old, is co-founder of Birdsong (, an internet platform for fashion, produced and sold according to feminist guidelines. She was born in Sheffield, the daughter of a teacher and an administrative officer in the royal household. Besides her job at Birdsong, she gives feminism workshops at schools, works at a social information centre and as a journalist. Here you find an interview with Sophie Slater.

I discovered this article by Sarah Levy in the magazine BRIGITTE 18/2016. I liked this article so much that I copied a large part of it. I assume this is okay for the author and the publisher’s, as I never received a reply to my request for permission to print.


No longer get in your own way but learn from your mistakes!

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing  (John Powell)

When were you last annoyed about a mistake? And, what did it bring? Be honest: nothing! So why do mistakes make you feel so awkward? Why do you feel caught, as if you had done something bad? I wonder why?

I don’t know how you experienced your childhood and school time. But I guess you had a lot of fun learning to ride a bike, for instance. You kept trying and practising until you could do it. You would not have dreamt of feeling bad after falling. You got up again, you might have picked a few small stones out of your wound, and got back on the bike.

Why do you feel so awkward when you make a mistake?

Maybe because, as a child, as the result of a mistake,

  • you messed up something important,
  • you had to repeat something until you could do it perfectly,
  • you were made to feel stupid in front of others,
  • you questioned your intelligence,
  • or an opportunity was missed?

The Americans’ trial-&-error philosophy

If we in Middle Europe start planning something, we look at the whole project from all the different angles in the preparatory phase, to make sure not to make any mistakes. We work according to the failure-exclusion-method.

The typical American way to approach something new is the trial-&-error-method. This means trying until a solution has been found. Failures are accepted without criticism, as they promote development and bring us closer to a result. The only problem is making the same mistake again and again without learning from it.

Brief error management

Here are a few tips, in case you keep falling into the same trap:

  1. Keep your nerve. If you have made a mistake, keep calm and carry on! A reckless and hasty reaction to try and repair the damage can cause the opposite.
  2. Analyse the situation.Consider what effects your failure might have (on others) and what should be done immediately. In most cases, your errors will not end in a serious threat to you and others (of course, excluding doctors, pilots, or people in similar jobs).
  3. Consider the next step.It is no use being like the rabbit in front of the snake. Think what could be the most sensible step to get out of trouble.
  4. Be honest to yourself and others.Mistakes are unpleasant, but attempts to hide or distract from them are even more unpleasant and embarrassing. Take responsibility for your error, and nobody will condemn you.
  5. Stop moaning and look for solutions!Making mistakes and then moaning is a no go. You might feel sorry for yourself, and others, because of the unpleasant situation you have caused. But moaning is simply a waste of energy, and this is certainly what you need the least.
  6. Take responsibility.If your mistake has caused damage, take responsibility. Try to compensate for it, or, at least offer some sort of favour in return. This doesn’t always mean you have to pay in real terms for the damage you’ve caused, because compensation can also take the form of helping the victim in some practical way.

Living involves making mistakes. He who makes no mistakes, is no longer alive.



Aunque vivir contra nuestra naturaleza real durante algún tiempo es agotador, la mujer salvaje en nuestro interior no puede ser destruida. Así describe Clarissa Pinkola Estés la negación de nuestra alma femenina y sus necesidades básicas en su bestseller mundial Mujeres que corren con los lobos.

Dice que sabemos que ya no podemos respirar cuando los demás nos ocupan.  Sabemos que hay veces en las que tenemos que desconectarnos de todo durante algún tiempo. Pero ella dice, no obstante, que cuando podemos escuchar la llamada de regreso al hogar, las partes de nuestra psique que han estado (secretamente o no) preparando el salto, gritan: ‘‘¡A por ello!’’.

Estoy segura de que todas conocéis el sentimiento de estar atascadas en un callejón sin salida. ¿Quién no ha sentido alguna vez la sensación de haber perdido o haber abandonado voluntariamente su alma?

Clarissa Pinkola Estés escribe una antigua historia sobre este tema llamada Piel de foca, piel del alma. Es una de mis historias favoritas. Dice así:


Un hombre solitario que vivía en un paisaje nevado del lejano Norte cazaba focas. Un día vio un grupo de seres femeninos desnudos bailando a la luz de la luna. Se habían quitado su piel de focas, dejándolas encima de una roca. Como el hombre había vivido solo durante mucho tiempo, se llevó una de las pieles para obligar a una de las mujeres a estar con él. Cuando esa mujer quiso volver de vuelta al agua con las otras, ya no pudo encontrar su piel. Así que tuvo que quedarse atrás. El hombre prometió devolverle su piel después de siete veranos si era su esposa durante siete años.

Después de algún tiempo, la mujer foca dio a luz a un hijo, al que llamaron Ooruk. Los años pasaron y la piel humana de la mujer se volvió más y escamosa quebradiza, hasta que empezó a desprenderse poco a poco de su cuerpo como si fueran harapos. Su piel blanca empezó a volverse demacrada y gris, empezó a perder el pelo y sus ojos que una vez fueron expresivos ya no servían de reflejo a su alma. Pero el hombre no le devolvió la piel después de siete años, ya que le asustaba perderla para siempre.

Un día la mujer foca encontró su piel bajo una roca, se la puso, se llevó a su hijo y nadó de vuelta a su viejo hogar, un brillante pueblo en el agua. Aunque su belleza original regresó poco a poco, y era feliz, se dio cuenta de que su hijo tenía que volver al mundo humano. Llevó a Ooruk de vuelta a la playa, prometiéndole permanecer conectado con él para siempre.

Pasaron los años y Ooruk se convirtió en un hombre espléndido y respetable. En ocasiones se le puede ver arrodillado en una roca, hablando con una foca con ojos especialmente sabios, salvajes y llenos de alma. Aunque la gente lo intenta y lo intenta, no pueden cazar a esa foca.


El mensaje que esconde este cuento es el hecho de que muchas mujeres jóvenes están poco preparadas para el hecho de que su ‘‘piel del alma’’ sea robada algún día. No obstante, la pérdida de su libertad física y emocional, por ejemplo en una relación infeliz y restrictiva, las consiguientes dificultades y posteriores intentos de liberarse; pueden generan un increíble avance en su desarrollo (espiritual).

Esto es lo que sucede:

  • Las mujeres se hacen más conscientes de lo que deberían ser sus principales prioridades en sus vidas.
  • Entonces deciden reconquistar algo perdido (por ejemplo, su libertad, su fuerza, su intuición, etc.).
  • Después se dan cuenta de que tienen que hacer algo por su propia libertad.
  • Y finalmente, después de que han decidido liberarse a sí mismas y poner eso en práctica, pasan por un enorme proceso de transformación interna que les permite desarrollar sus poderes ocultos y habilidades mediales.


Lee mis preguntas y considera los sentimientos que afloran. Quizá te gustaría anotar tus pensamientos:

_ ¿Alguna vez has pensado que tenías falsas expectativas de vida cuando eras una mujer joven?

_ ¿Alguna vez has cedido tu libertad, más o menos voluntariamente, por ingenuidad, inexperiencia o credulidad?

_ ¿Alguna vez has estado o estás en una situación en la que temías o temes ‘‘secarte’’ porque tu piel de foca te ha sido arrebatada/te es arrebatada?

_ ¿Cuál habría sido/es el precio de recuperar tu piel de foca?

_ ¿Entraste en un profundo proceso interior por haber perdido/cedido tu libertad? ¿Qué indujo? ¿Qué cambió en ti y para ti?

_ ¿Estás lista y te sientes capaz de defender tu piel de foca?


Solo si nosotras las mujeres buceamos en lo más profundo de nuestra alma, seremos capaces de establecer un contacto conscientemente con nuestra espiritualidad. Hay múltiples formas de volver a casa, incluso cuando la grieta en la que solíamos bucear parece cerrada al día siguiente.

Simplemente tenemos que encontrar otra.