Sadly, I know that we have all been there... a moment where another woman has made us feel "less than" about a particular choice we have made in our life.
So often women feel like there is a first place ribbon to be awarded, and the only way for them to win it is to keep others down. We tear each other down based on upon our own insecurities.
I recently had the privilege of being interviewed for an article about relational aggression in women and its effects on creativity. The interview really made me think about what aggression looks like in women, how do they exhibit this, and what can be done to change that?
Aggression in women is a topic that isn't largely talked about. Often times we associate aggression with men or with a physical altercation. Boys fight and move on. But most women experience aggression on a daily basis. Whether its's through a bitchy remark like, "Well I breastfed until he was 3, but I am sure you had a good reason to stop so early." or "Oh you are on a diet? Good for you. I lost 5 pounds last week without even trying!". You know the comments. The little jabs meant to make you feel inferior or the thinly veiled compliments. We have all been there, whether on the receiving or the giving end.
I know that I myself have been guilty of giving these types of remarks. A few years ago I found myself in a rut. I didn't feel good in my body, didn't know how to dress for motherhood, and I thought that I needed to "look like a mom" (what does that even mean?!). I was unhappy and insecure. I silently compared myself to every other woman as though it was a game, and I felt like I was always losing. To put it simply, I was a bitch. I talked about other people, sadly made all kinds of snippy remarks to others, and was generally an unpleasant person. I looked at other women and thought they had it all together, and if I could just find a crack in their facade and bring them down, I thought doing so would make me feel better.
It was a miserable way to live. It was a vicious cycle of unhappiness. I certainly wasn't living my best life, and it showed in my aggression and treatment of others. I was projecting my own insecurities onto others. I was tired, physically hurting, and often ended my evenings with a glass of wine and headache.
This pattern repeated itself until one day my daughter Taylor repeated a bitchy comment that I had said. I knew right then and there it had to stop! I did not want my girls to grow up in constant competition with other women, or even worse, each other. I knew the only way to fix this was to work on myself and improve my confidence.
So I started the only way I knew how. I woke up each morning determined to get dressed, look good, and find something positive to say about each person I encountered throughout the day. Nothing was ever going to change without me gaining the confidence to go out and take on the world.
I started small. I found a great pair of jeans that made me feel good. Then I learned how to style my hair, played around with makeup, and slowly my mindset started to change. My physical appearance was changing, and it was helping me begin to feel better about myself.
Confidence isn't just about how we look though. It is an energy that we project out into the world. It goes so much deeper than our physical appearance, but when we start to feel better about how we look, we start to feel better about ourselves. When we strive to be the best versions of ourselves we will start to realize that we aren't in competition with other women. We don't need to tear others down. Instead, we want to be helping others around us. You start to look for other women who are on the same path as you, and you will connect and support each other. Long gone are the days of bitchy comments and talking behind each others backs.
Suddenly you realize that without the burden of negativity you are free to chase your dreams and live the life you have always wanted. You don't see life as a race that requires you to hold others back to win. Instead, you start to see life as a tropical island... somewhere so amazing that you can't wait to share it with others! You surround yourself with other women that you can celebrate with instead of compete with, and sit together by the ocean admiring how beautiful this life is.