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“I prefer to work with men”, “Men are easier to be friends with, less drama’ or even worse, “I would rather have a male boss’. Women have been avoiding, or even worse, sabotaging each for years. Although we all have female friends and relatives, there is some type of societal norm that has been created to force us to compare ourselves to each other and create this unspoken sense of competition. It is time we stop comparing ourselves to one another (read more about that here) and begin to support and promote other women. We need to realize that her success is not our failure.
Far too many times something wonderful happens to a woman we know. Maybe she gets a promotion, gets engaged, finds out that she is pregnant, or has some other personal or professional success. We greet the news with the proper and expected enthusiasm; but when we privately think about whatever the wonderful accomplishment was, we compare the news to our own lives. We compare their accomplishments to our own, we begin to measure our success against theirs. It often becomes difficult to be happy for another woman when we feel her success may outweigh our own.
Life is not a game. We are not here to win or lose, we are all traveling down our own paths. These paths are different, and often contain many obstacles. We love and we lose. Life is hard, but beautiful. Why stand in someone’s way or withhold the support they so desperately need? Others may meet with success, but they are on a path different than our own. If we support one another rather than competing, we can make each other’s paths smoother. And it is always important to remember the old adage, what goes around comes around.
When we participate in this woman versus woman competition, we sabotage each other. This sabotage may be obvious, like refusing to help, or more private, like hoping for failure. We may believe that our thoughts have no real impact on the outcome, but this mentality is destructive. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. We may have a small network of support, but what if we expanded that circle? What if we knew the support we needed could come from any of the women we know? This encouragement could be all we need to succeed.
Imagine if we supported one another, celebrated our successes and truly wished the best for all the women in our lives. Imagine if we checked our jealousy at the door, stopped comparing ourselves to the women around us and became a cheerleader for other women. We all need this, but to have a cheerleader, we must become a one. What does this mean? We must honestly support other women. Take an interest in someone else without any other agenda. Encourage them, support them and celebrate them. This support will turn into relationships we could count on and trust. We can build each other up and take pride in our accomplishments. When we do this we will all win.
We MUST realize that her success IS our success. We are powerful, but we allow ourselves to be divided, we compete and withhold support. As women, we must change our mindset, look to other women as support, not as competition. If we band together and grow in strength, we will be unstoppable.