I remember being 10 years old and embarking into the world, learning what it was to be a woman. What did it mean to hold myself as a woman, to walk as a woman; how was I to dress, could I wear makeup or should I not, when was the appropriate time to start thinking about boys in a romantic sense, or could they simply stay my friends?

What I remember from that period is how much importance was placed on the way women were perceived by men. It was almost as if every woman’s goal was to be accepted, admired, and to even be put on a pedestal by men. I saw that in order to feel worthy, women sought recognition from men in whatever shape or form they could get it, from the picture-perfect wife (i.e. amazing cook, great housekeeper and good mother) to the less controversial ‘manly woman’ who played sports, raced with men and competed on who was more tough.

I chose to become one of the tough ones as I idealised the women who were stronger than men and took the leadership role; the women who could do it all on their own and only had a husband because they felt like it, as there was no real need of them. In my own way, I guess I was rebelling against the traditional views of what a woman should be like – i.e. the housewife. Why? Because it felt like an imprisonment to have all of these expectations and rules on what it was ‘to be a woman’. But I felt a strength inside of me, like I could do anything, and complying with the traditional social demands of society to me meant that this fire that was burning inside would slowly turn into smoke.

On the other hand, the women who were less conventional and tougher seemed like they were not bound by those rules, so I chose to make sport – and my ‘I can do everything on my own’ attitude – my way to show the world that women don’t have to be just housewives and that we are actually strong. I played sports, from the more socially acceptable feminine ones such as netball, trampolining, badminton and running, to the tougher, more physically demanding ones such as jujitsu, rugby and weightlifting.

During my school years I used to compete with boys in all of the various ways because for some reason, deep down, I held a grudge against them – I just had to prove that I was equal and that I was worthy. I remember on several occasions, in my desperation to be seen to be their equal, I would pick up and lift the heaviest guy in our year group… again, just to prove that I was strong, tough enough.

From very young, the role model of the housewife was forced upon me from within my surroundings. On many occasions it was repeated that if a woman did not cook and clean her home she was in fact not a woman at all.

This brewed up a fury inside of me. I hated that comment with a passion and did everything in opposition to it. Although in truth I always loved a clean space and well-prepared food, I wanted to show the world that I didn’t need to do any of those things in order to be a woman, so I didn’t clean my room, and cooking a meal at home was done only for special occasions.

But in those rebellious habits, what was I actually achieving? Was anybody ever convinced that my recklessness and lack of care were actually something a woman who honours and values herself would do? I doubt it.

What happened instead, is that a deeper level of self-loathing was ingrained in me day-in, day-out. That fire I was feeling was burning out anyway and my rebellion did not seem to benefit me, nor prove a point to anybody.

It’s crazy to consider the level of self-abuse I would go to just to prove a point. But I didn’t realise all the fighting against these social norms was actually detrimental to my health. All that changed with my introduction to Universal Medicine. On the day I met Serge Benhayon, its founder, I walked into the venue sceptical because of some of the headlines that I had come across on the Internet. But the warmth, openness and steadiness I felt from this man with everyone equally was without a doubt one of the most sincere welcomes I have ever observed.

Serge’s presentation touched on so many points that I had previously considered. He shared so many things that I had already come to realise myself, but he did not hold back, taking the teachings even deeper – bringing a greater understanding of why I had been rebelling, why I choose to behave in ways that I do. And perhaps most importantly, by the end of that weekend I felt an absolute confirmation of the fire that I felt within my core as a young girl, that, yes, we as women are incredibly strong, but there is no need to be tough to prove it.

This realisation brought a sense of settlement for me, an understanding that I no longer have to push and compete with men in order to prove that I am an equal. With this understanding, I have learnt to hold myself as an equal to men, to not feel less in any scenario just because society deems men as the superior gender.

What a weight off my shoulders, hey!

Serge Benhayon has time and time again presented that women and men are equal, not because they get paid the same amount for doing the same job, not because women can lift the same heavy weights as men, but just because equality is the law of the universe and that is what is innate to us.

But we as a society are so dogged in our misplaced understanding of what equality truly means that it may take many spins around the sun until we accept and embody such simple teachings.

For me, this has been life-changing. The opportunity to deepen my understanding and allow the men in my life to freely express their care and tenderness, without having an iron shield of protection around every aspect of my being, has been an absolute blessing because the strain and weight of this shield has been draining me from a young age.

My understanding of equality is changing, not just with men but with women too. I am more willing to be gentle and tender. In my conversations with people I am more open and understanding. In my relationship with myself I am all of those things. In turn I observe that I am no longer caught in the fight to be anything, rather that I have more energy to just be me without the need to fight to prove my worth to anyone: this continues to bring long lasting changes in my life.

I know in the core of my being what it is like to wake up in the morning feeling fresh, rested, and not bogged down by the millions of issues that prevail in our day-to-day lives. I go to work with a smile on my face and leave exactly the same – there’s no dread of the day ahead, like I used to feel so often before coming across Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

It disturbs me that Serge Benhayon and his teachings are being attacked in the way they are, for in my personal experience what is being purported to be his teachings are the complete opposite of what he in fact teaches or presents. What is clear to me is the concerted effort to ill-inform people of what Serge teaches, rather than actually fairly and truthfully present his work and his teachings and allow people the opportunity to come to their own view for themselves. I understand anybody who may have their doubts about Serge and Universal Medicine based on what’s written online – I know I did – but what I also did is question and discern for myself. I engaged with Serge Benhayon and asked (and continue to ask) questions that arose within from a respectful and open enquiry or challenge, which have always been met with a respectful and gracious response.

To this day I am deeply appreciative for meeting this man Serge Benhayon, for coming across Universal Medicine and for the enrichment the work has had in my life.

Filed under

Body AwarenessGenderWomen's HealthSelf worth

  • By Viktoria Stoykova, BSc Psychology and Business; Assoc. CIPD

    A young woman living in the heart of London. I love singing, writing, talking to friends, family and strangers on the tube.

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