I’ve seen hundreds of posts lately about building up other women, and I could not agree more. It’s especially important at this moment in time with the array of sexual predators and the fact that in 2018 we’re still fighting for our basic rights. We NEED each other. We’re all we’ve got.
I’m reminded of the scene in The Handmaid’s Tale when the handmaids refuse to attack one of their own. They KNOW what she’s been through and they risk their own lives to spare her. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a little more of that sisterhood in us?
We all say it, right? “Let’s build each other up and stop the shaming!” But. Do we actually mean it?
Here’s the thing: of all the nasty things said to me (and about me) in my life, 99% of it has come from fellow women. We’re aware that a lot of men are garbage, but, the most hurt I’ve felt came from the female sex. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes. Or that my hair is too thin. Asked to not share a picture of me in my bathing suit (that came from a “friend”). I’ve been left out. Not included. Shamed. All.by.women.
I had an interaction with a fellow blogger a couple of weeks ago that left me feeling about thisbig. It was over the silliest thing (Instagram) and I let it derail my evening. I felt like I wasn’t worthy. I’m a 32-year-old, strong, independent woman: and a comment over Instagram hurt my feelings. And this interaction involved someone who preaches equality and inclusion and empowerment. Why can’t we truly practice what we preach?
Truthfully I am just as guilty, if not more so, of this as anyone. If I’m slighted in any way, my first instinct is to retaliate with words or actions. Usually when someone upsets me or disrespects me, I’m done with them forever. And I don’t always handle that in the best way (spoiler: I never handle it well). Do you remember how Lily would give people the “you’re dead to me look” in How I Met Your Mother? That’s me. I’m currently dealing with a situation in which I feel taken advantage of, and I’ve handled it poorly. Instead of dealing with it like an adult, I’ve shut off and shut down. I reach my bullshit quota with a person and then I’m done. I struggle to extend grace to others because I can’t do the same to myself.
This post isn’t intended to bash women: it’s that I think we can do better.
- Unfollow bloggers/influencers/people in your life who bring out these bad feelings in you. Feelings of jealousy or anger or resentment or annoyance (I can’t be the only one who feels this way sometimes. Or maybe I am. Particularly of the last emotion.).
- Cut everyone a little slack. We’re all struggling with something and trying like hell to keep it together. Life is hard for us all. Show some compassion.
- Remember that you do not have to be friends with everyone – but there’s no reason to treat them poorly. There are certain types of people I don’t need in my life: negative. Manipulative. It is okay to cut those people out for your own well-being. It’s not okay to continuously bash them.
- Be supportive. I’ve seen lots of women go on to become more successful than me – and that’s okay! Tell them you’re proud. Continue to build them up. And on the other side of the coin, I’ve seen lots of women suffer. Tell them you’re proud. Continue to build them up. We all need to know that someone out there is rooting for us.
- Think before you react. If I find myself feeling snarky or mean-spirited, I’ve started asking myself why… and it’s usually because I’m feeling insecure or shitty about myself. There are occasions when I’ll scroll social media channels and say stuff like: “she’s thirsty” or “she’s not cute” or “I don’t understand how she got so many followers” or “her writing is garbage” and the list goes on and on. I’m ashamed of this habit, but I realized those feelings come from within. It’s not always them
This list is as much for me as it is for anyone. Empowering is a daily struggle. I want so badly to encourage and love and support and lift up – but I often fail at following through, and come off instead as judgmental and unpleasant. Being an asshole is an unpleasant look.