So what am I talking about? Something has been rolling around in my head for several weeks now, and when I recently read this post, it made me realize I need to get it out.
We women are often not supportive of other women. I'm guilty at times, and I know you are, too. We should be tuning into each other, listening to each other and helping each other to get through life. We are all fighting to make our marks in life, marks that are often ignored by others. And by "others" I mean men, yes, who already have a step up on the ladder, but I also mean other women whose remarks and actions are perhaps even more stinging. Why? Because we understand more about another woman's struggles than men can possibly perceive. We get it because we live it. And yet I hear ....
"Well, if you can wear that and get away with it, so can I."Do any of those sound familiar? I've heard all of these said to myself or to other women, with a few adjustments to make sense without giving details of the circumstances. Every one was said at a time that detracted from an accomplishment of the person to whom it was directed, or a time in her life that was particularly happy. And every one took away from the joy of the moment. Every one withheld encouragement for the woman who needed and deserved it.
"Those jeans you are wearing are size 14? They must be mismarked."
"You're going to do what? You can't be serious."
"Can't you talk about anything but him? Nobody can be that happy."
"She's not that smart. She must have had that promotion because she in 'in' with her boss."
"She's a know it all, and I'm tired of her running everything." (from a person who declined to be part of a committee to "run it.")"She seems so perfect you know it has to be a front."
"You can't do that."
I'm not saying that we should let our sisters go out in public with her skirt tucked in her pantyhose without telling her or walk into a situation that is a sure disaster without a loving caution about some fact(s) that she may not know. No, that is as bad as the uncalled for put downs. But I think we need to be better at supporting each other as we try to get ahead. It should be possible for us to express concerns without being critical and to be supportive without jealousy.
We've lived a long, long time in a world that had decided that women couldn't keep up with men and thus were a rung down on that ladder. The thing is that women have a different measure for our successes. We shouldn't be compared to men. There IS a difference, thank goodness. The world is gradually learning to rate each person for his/her accomplishments and successes in various categories. Stay-at-home-dads have given us a tremendous boost, showing that the stereotypical roles are over emphasized, as have the successful rise of women in public positions in business, politics, etc. But sadly, it seems to me, we chicas haven't learned to support each other in a loving spirit. Unfortunately, it seems we still feel a competitiveness among ourselves that is terribly destructive. And it trickles down to the most basic and simple .... kicking each other in the knees over daily successes and happiness, and jumping on the negatives with gleeful hunger. Can we stand for other women to be happy? Happier than ourselves? More successful? I don't know.
We women are jealous of each other. I think we often are jealous because we have to try so hard to succeed (especially in a world traditionally led by men), and giving anyone else recognition for a job well done, a talent, a skill, seems to mean we take ourselves down. Why is that? That is faulty thinking! I learned something while serving as a department head .... The group is only as strong as the leader, and the leader is only as strong as the weakest in the group. A good leader builds a group that is strong enough to stand on their own and function well in her absence. To lead otherwise is to keep others beneath us, as we so often do. Yet, to be honest, every time we lift one of our sisters, we also lift ourselves. So why, why, why do we beat each other down???
I'm reminding you, me, all of us .... When you have an urge to snipe at another woman, stop for a moment and ask why? Even if she is less than honorable about her life, her behaviors, do you want to be on her level or would you rather elevate yourself by elevating .... or at least not denigrating .... another woman? I'm trying to chose the latter. I'm not perfect, by a long shot, but I'm working on being a better sister.