Heathen Woman: Reclaiming Our Confidence

This week, I’d like to discuss how to reclaim our inner confidence as heathen women.

This begins by taking a look at ourselves honestly to see if we are living according to the values and ideas that we believe will lead towards happiness and health. That is far easier said than done. Frankly, how many of us really want to review our weaknesses and unhealthy habits? Change is not easy, and we often have our set of reasons for holding onto unhealthy patterns. But those reasons can distort our best intentions, and over time, place us in a position where do not wish to be. The gods themselves had trying times that required introspection in order to restore what was important to them. Odin’s long absence from Asgard and The Aesir / Vanir War are examples of times when personal negotiations and self-examination were indeed needed for continued growth to take place.

Heathen Woman

When we are faced with making changes to get to our place of joy, we also get the stark realization that making room for happiness and fulfillment will involve letting go. To resolve to let go of situations that we have clung to takes a bravery that requires our utmost inner strength. We may wonder, “Why are some of these things that are holding me back so hard to let go of?” — especially when we’re quite certain that we need to change. Over time, even what was right for us at one point can become toxic. We can develop a certain level of comfort, even among those who would rather see us fail. Habits are formed over time, and hence are very tough to simply release on a dime. We accumulate these unhealthy commitments, and quite often it seems that they are simply there to stay whether we like it or not. They build gradually, and our boundaries may become faint and our goals grow further away than we had initially intended. Sometimes, we compromise so much that we eventually become the compromise!

Whether we are people who are okay with movable lines, or we prefer a set standard, time has a way of affecting both. This is why keeping a physical, emotional, and spiritual inventory on a regular basis is a healthy way of keeping track of our progress. When we know where we are, it can help us move forward with confidence. If it’s necessary to close a chapter, it doesn’t mean the book isn’t still being written. It means that we have further writing to do, and we cannot write two chapters at once. Some chapters may need to be written alone, and that is okay, so long as we maintain the responsibilities that are precious to us – our children, the things that make our hearts sing, the friends that make us smile. Knowing we are taking care of the most important aspects of our lives helps us reclaim our confidence and sense of pride in a well-focused life.

So how do we regain and build confidence if it’s previously been lost? Like every journey, it begins with a single step. One decision to act differently can go a long way. Building a support network around us of groups, people, and hobbies that explore our passions can be things that encourage us to spread our wings and trust ourselves again. We can acknowledge that which is hampering, abusive, belittling, and scarring. With new positive support comes a sense of freedom and validation that lifts us, and sometimes all we need to fly is just a helping hand in getting off of the ground.

It is worth putting time and effort into mindfully building our social and emotional support systems. We regain clarity and begin to see a foundation from which we can add our goals for the future – needed changes in hand, with the bravery to face them head on. Sure, we’ll fall. Everyone does. We may take three steps forward and two steps back, but as long as we get up and keep moving, we’ve accomplished something that day. With small accomplishments comes a gradual confidence. It’s a process of time, mindfulness and dedication, but one that can free us from bonds we may not even know we have. It’s just important to stay honest with ourselves during this process.

As we come to know ourselves, we are left with two choices if we are unhappy in our present circumstances. We can have a healthy, developing, changing relationship with the beings that we are – products of the perseverance and hard work of our ancestors. Or, we can resolve that we are going to stay put. Either of those is a conscious decision. The first comes with an uncertainty about succeeding, and we may end up falling flat. With the second comes the risk that our growth potential may be tampered with and hindered by what, and who, surrounds us. Uncertainty and fear are natural, but every person has the right and ability to stand in the face of them. We’re all aiming at a final destination, but necessary lessons are learned in the journey. To learn them, though — to truly know what lies ahead — we must take a step.


Heathen Woman is published on alternate Fridays. Subscribe via RSS or e-mail!

About Heather O'Brien

Heather O’Brien is an interfaith clergy member and Founder of Women of Asatru. She writes and speaks on heathen related topics pertaining to heathen reconstruction, Norse mythology, and European folk lore.

Heather has been studying Germanic tribal reconstruction and Celto-Germanic mythology for over fifteen years, and is in the process of writing a book that focuses on supporting and encouraging heathen women. She has also written for columns pertaining to organic homesteading.

  • Norascats

    Beautiful. Too often, women allow themselves to be compromised in too many ways. We need to be able to acknowledge ourselves.

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