Women: Are we friends or foes?

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So this amazing young woman will always be a cheerleader to other women and to herself

I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time, but have been struggling to put this into words.  Today I finally sat down and let my fingers do the talking.  I come from a long line of women, strong women, amazing women.  I am one of six children, five which are daughters.  I have almost all female cousins on my mom’s side and many on my dad’s side as well.  Lots of girls.  I suppose that for the most part my upbringing was pretty traditional.  My mom stayed at home and my dad worked.  She was the “doer” of all things for us. 

Growing up in a nuclear family has both it’s benefits and it’s shortfalls.  The greatest benefit for me was having my mom there all of the time.  She was present when we needed her, and having her there to take such great care of us really was a gift.  Now the down side.  I’m not sure that I developed an ability to trust myself and be confident in myself in the way that I needed.  Now this is NOT the fault of my mom, or of a traditional family, but more in the fact that from the time I was young,  other than my mom and grandmothers,  I didn’t have great examples of women that cheered each other on.   I always relied on someone else to tell me how I should feel about myself.  It’s not a great way to develop any “chiefly” qualities and it’s certainly not great for developing any sense of self-reliance.

 Self-reliance is so crucial to develop in ourselves,  as well as in our young girls.  But part of that self -reliance comes from the ability to embrace our own choices without the approval of others and also support another woman in her choices whether we agree or disagree with her.  You have to believe in yourself no matter what others think, and you shouldn’t be out there trying to justify anything that you do, let alone playing the comparison game. 

Sometimes in our quest to make hard decisions we seek answers from many different sources and when we examine what others are doing or how they are succeeding or failing, we tend to draw parallels.   Spending our time sitting in judgement or envy does so much harm.  In fact, in my opinion, it stifles the woman we are meant to become.  I want to be able to look around at all of the women in my life and not see judgement in each other.  More importantly, I want us to be there for each other and as a collective group say, you’ve got this, you are a rock-star! 

So I wonder and I ask, why as women must we constantly judge what everyone else is doing?  Why can’t we be cheerleaders for one another?  We judge moms if they stay at home.  We judge moms if they  work and their kids are in day care.  We judge those who choose not to become moms. We aren’t supportive of friends trying to lose weight, if we aren’t trying ourselves.  We aren’t supportive of each other when someone is doing something that maybe we wish we were doing ourselves.  Is this jealousy?  Is this insecurity?  Probably a little of both and then some.   I had to look inside myself and examine that as much as I think that I am a good sister, friend, and supporter of the women in my life,  I am guilty of this as well.  Then I had to look at why I think this happens. 

My answer is, I don’t have an answer!  What I do know is that there is silent judgement that we as women seem to constantly do to one another.  As the mom of a daughter I can’t tell you how many times my poor daughter is looked up and down by other women and it happens more often than not in our own family.  What does she look like?  Is she thin, is she fit?  Is she prettier than me?  What is she doing in school?  I’m afraid to even share a highlight or excited moment in her life without the response being a competitive statement about what the other mom’s children have accomplished.  Oh and I’m excited for what your children have accomplished, I’m not tying to “one-up” anyone!!  It’s as if the acknowledgement of a good thing in one woman means that there is failure in another, and must be immediately contended.  Social media has contributed to this greatly.  We see what others are doing and the competition is on!  What can I share to make sure that I look amazing?  Now don’t get me wrong, I share news about what I am doing and what my family is doing to keep up with family and friends far away, and most of it is the positive moments in their lives, but I try not to sugar-coat anything.  My life is one of many flaws and faults.  No one has it all together, no one! This is NOT a competition!!

I feel like most of the time I am hanging on by a thread.  Ladies, we are all likely hanging on by a thread a lot of the time, so can’t we call a truce and do everything in our power to give each other some props!?  Let that friend know you’re happy she’s lost weight when she’s worked so hard.  Let that sweet mama know that although she’s exhausted and crazed, you’ve been there too and you’re there for her. You too have gone to the carpool line unshowered and wearing pajama pants!  Let your friend know that you are so excited that she’s trying out a new job or hobby.  Let the other women in your life know that you are proud of them.  Stop looking at social media pages and believing false truths.

You will for the rest of your life encounter women that are smarter, thinner, prettier, more ambitious, more talented, richer, poorer, kinder, better servants of others, and the list goes on for days!  Just be accepting that you are part of this amazing sisterhood, you are beautiful, and you have so many gifts.  Together we are a power house. We have babies. We run corporations. We juggle countless tasks a day. We are unstoppable. Be competitive, but supportive.  Be strong.  Accept your flaws and the flaws of others!  Acknowledge the success of the women in your life.  Someone else’s success does not mean that you are failing!   Life is far too short to worry about all of that nonsense.  Constant judgement and negative competition is exhausting, don’t you think?? 

We are the mothers, the daughters, the sisters, the teachers, the friends, and the ones to teach an entire generation of  women that come behind us.  Be that cheerleader to those you don’t even know and be a positive cheerleader for yourself and the women in your life.   I know many of you already do this, so those of you that are already there, keep leading the pack!  If you’re not quite there yet, let whatever you’re holding onto go!  It would be amazing to see a shift in our culture of women where we all openly support one other.  I’m not giving up hope that we can get there.  And that, to you my sweet amazing women, is my dish!

Peace- xoxo Deb

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