Pavitra Gurumurthi coaches highly sensitive women who are tired of being overwhelmed by their emotional ups and downs. Being in the same business mastermind for authentic solopreneurs, I felt very connected to her business and the way she radiates gentleness. We had a lovely thirty-minute chat via Zoom sometime in Jan 2021. It was lunchtime for her over in Melbourne, Australia, while I was enjoying my kids-free morning in Singapore. Here are the key highlights of our inspiring and soothing chat.
How Can We Bring Our Tenderness Into Our Authority?
When we think of the word “authority”, it reminds us of a powerful masculine trait. Walking the path of Tenderized Authority, the way Pavitra describes, is about bringing in our deep feminine emotional sensitivity in our everyday roles as mothers, wives, business women, managers, and executives.
There are often times when we can become overly critical, not only of ourselves but towards others as well as, as we look to fulfill our external roles as leaders at home and in society. How can we develop our own inner authority with tender love and care so that it can positively impact our external environment? How can we continue to honour our emotions and feelings as we courageously forge a path of leadership for ourselves, other people, and our organizations?
I had goosebumps when Pavitra described this! This concept feels so profound and so needed in our world right now.
We Need To Gently Nurture Ourselves and Others As Highly Sensitive Women
The first quality that Pavitra connected with Gentleness is Gentle Nurturing — the way a mother puts in her time, effort, and gentle care towards her baby, to help raise her child into a healthy and independent adult.
As adults, most of us have lost touch with this gentle nurture in our endless pursuit of perfection. We have shifted our focus to heavily rely on external sources to provide us with power, recognition, comfort, safety, and security, Because of this, we’re paying for the consequences of lack of understanding in how we feel, with extra emphasis placed on how we think. Ignoring our emotions, choosing to push them and hide them away, negatively impacts us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
You Don’t Have To Withdraw From Your Emotions
Through coaching work with her clients, Pavitra has observed that there are two types of sensitivity:
External Sensitivity: going into emotional overdrive when you absorb external information and emotions from others easily
Internal Sensitivity: being overwhelmed with your own emotions in your internal world, through various life situations i.e. childhood trauma, death of loved ones, etc.
I agree with Pavitra that as highly sensitive women, we tend to withdraw and isolate ourselves more often than others because we need space to process as we don’t know how else to deal with the emotional overwhelm. She feels that it’s okay, in fact necessary to let the people in your life know that you are naturally in need of more time and space due to your sensitivity. We also need to learn how to feel safe with our emotions and set clear inner boundaries so that we can avoid unintentionally controlling others who may not be aware of our needs.
Her clients tend to struggle with caring too much, feeling guilty for taking time out, not confident with making decisions, feel overwhelmed with being sensitive, and find themselves in a constant state of physical fatigue. When they recognise that their emotions are a gateway to healing and that when they feel, embrace, and release their emotions, they begin to feel safe in their body and with their emotions.
Most women who are deeply sensitive are incredibly intelligent, highly motivated, driven, and have a deep need to lead but are too afraid that their sensitivity might get in the way. This is where it is time for those of us who are sensitive to realise that in order to lead with grace, the most important aspect is to have empathy, love, and care towards their community. This gift is natural in sensitive people, when we can bring our gentle way of being, our tenderised authority, into both our personal and professional lives.
How Do We Transform Ourselves When We Are Not Ready To Change?
It’s such a relief hearing from Pavitra that changing ourselves or our loved ones is not the first step towards transformation. The first step is to start feeling safe to feel our emotions, just as they are. It is important to first accept and acknowledge the emotions that are present and be extra loving to ourselves as we feel any challenging emotions arise within.
This first step may not be easy, especially if you have been disconnected from your emotional state for a long time. Feeling your emotions can be a very shocking and damaging experience, in this case. It would be much safer and more effective to have a coach or therapist you trust to help you get in touch with your body and the emotions held within, slowly and gently. This process is about learning how to nurture yourself again, with someone who you feel embodies their sensitive qualities with ease.
One of Pavitra’s most memorable success stories is of her client in India who was struggling to stay in an abusive marriage to simply meet the expectations placed on her as per the tradition and culture of India. The client found the courage to stand up for herself against strong objections from her family, utilise her sensitivity to communicate in an empathetic way, her reasons for filing for divorce, and gently invite them to understand her perspective. Today, after two years, this client is happily separated and an inspiration to her friends and family. The client also feels confident with her emotional state of being and is not afraid when she is faced with a challenging emotion.
Grief as a Catalyst to Embracing Her Emotions
Grief is Pavitra’s greatest teacher on her path to embracing her emotional self. Her father passed away when she was 15 years old. As grief is generally not openly acknowledged, she found herself struggling to cope with her loss. Her family kept her distracted with various activities so she did not have the time to feel the pain of losing her father.
When she turned 22, she left India on her own to travel to New Zealand, to build a better life for herself. As an only child and a girl, this was not welcome in her culture and she faced a lot of criticism from her family and friends. Feeling alone and stuck with all her painful emotions including her unresolved grief, she first stepped into seeking spiritual counselling and started to learn how to feel and release her feelings through various unconventional modalities. Her mother passed away a few years ago too, so she constantly feels humbled by the lessons Grief and Loss have taught her over the years. Getting in touch with her emotions has helped her recognise the gift of being a sensitive being, which gave birth to Walking the Path of Tenderised Authority.
Without Gentleness, We Wouldn’t Be Here
“None of us would be present here without the gentle care of our mothers and caregivers.” ~Pavitra Gurumurthi
How we relate to Gentleness shows how authentic, nurturing, and vulnerable we can be with ourselves, with our loved ones, the people we lead and guide, and with Mother Earth. I love that Pavitra shared how when we recognize and continue to use Gentleness as the foundation to improve every aspect of our lives, our lives will improve tenfold.
Women have the highest potential to embody Gentleness and in doing so, we inevitably inspire men and women to embody a more gentle way of being in life as well.