This year, I've been a bit more reflective than usual. Actually, I've been reflective to the usual degree but a lot more prone to sharing. In keeping with that theme, I would like to share some observations I've made about myself and things I believe to be true about women in general...
No matter how beautiful or how successful you believe a woman to be, you think higher of her than she thinks of herself. Inside, she feels she hasn't done enough and isn't as beautiful or as successful as she wants or feels she needs to be.
Every woman you see, beautiful or not, young or old, overweight or not, unpopular or unfriendly, was once a little girl and was once filled with dreams of being swept up into a great adventure, of being the beautiful princess.
We really, really want a girlfriend we can trust. It is a sad thing that finding a true friend can be so rare. Each of us has been hurt by men and we all know how painful that is. But, I believe it is more cruel and stinging when we are hurt by another woman. We have all felt the betrayal by someone we considered a true friend. Most of us felt this in adolescence and never forgot. Many of us have also been the betrayer, the one who gossiped or put down another to inflate ourselves or maybe just for the sake of conversation. Girls can be nasty creatures. Take it from a girl who went to 3 different high schools (not including home school), had her cars keyed, tires slashed and was propositioned to "fight" on two separate occasions (both by girls with whom she had never before interacted).
It's when a trusted friend betrays you though, that makes you lose faith in all women as friends. Does it exist? A relationship with a girl that is not self-serving, that is honest and secure, free of envy, free of deceit, and full of love? Of course it does, although rare indeed. Maybe we have not yet found that woman in our lives but we can surely be that woman to others. Regardless of how you have been treated, continue to be the friend you want to have. Eventually, life will bring you the friend you need, when you need her.
We have each struggled with our relationship with food at one time or another. I'm not sure why I am always surprised when I discover that someone I know used to have (or still has) a disordered relationship with food. When a friend, coworker or acquaintance relays to me her experience (either past or on a daily basis), I still think, "You? Really?" I don't know if there are any of us totally impervious to the pressures of body shape and the easily-out-of-balance necessity of eating. I do know, however, that we can take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in sometimes equating food with guilt. No one is better than you when they abstain from partaking in the pastry tray at work and you don't. Life is all about balance, we are constantly moving in and out of it. Food is one of those things we just have to balance more frequently so balance is sometimes hard to maintain. All things flow from your thoughts and only you control those. This is your life, make decisions with your own best interest in mind and take care of your miraculous body.
Another observation, somewhat similar to the foregoing, is that we are continuously engaged in self-talk. Women have a running commentary about everything they do and never let anything go by without some comment, remark or evaluation. This self-talk could be a very positive thing but in my experience, it usually isn’t. We have high standards for ourselves, normally much higher than we have for the others in our lives. We tend to reinforce these standards by constant comparisons and negative self-assessments.
Regardless of what we have all been told about perfection being futile, we judge ourselves in accordance with it and believe achieving it will bring contentment. Or, some of us being the extreme perfectionists that we are, we head in the opposite direction believing that if we can’t possibly be perfect we might as well make a point that we aren’t trying to be anyway (overeating, messy & disarrayed home, indiscriminate relationships). Taking control of our self talk and creating a more positive environment for our bodies and souls to live seems to be a better way to reach contentment. It’s something I have been personally trying to implement, giving as much leeway and showing myself as much compassion as I do others. A new golden rule of sorts, “Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.”
Regardless of how beautiful we are, we are insecure about something. Sometimes, many things.
Feeling as if we are in competition with one other... This has caused me so much anxiety I cannot even tell you. It is common, maybe even instinctual, for women to "size-up the competition" when encountering another woman. We make judgments as if the way another woman looks bears directly upon our own level of attractiveness/self-worth. All I know is that it is extremely refreshing when I encounter a confident woman who does not engage in this superficial discernment. She is a true joy and a bastion of security in a room of full-body scanners.
A woman who is threatened by the mere appearance of another woman only does herself a disservice. It is a very obvious thing to see. I feel like the whole purpose of this post is to reinforce the fact that all women have similar insecurities and fears; seeing each other as threats, enemies or competitors only perpetuates them.
- Caveat: There will always be women who want to be seen as a threat and also your competition. Those who are judgmental, demeaning, critical, selfish, mean, catty, jealous, insecure, etc. These women are not truly self-aware. They live by the demands of ego preservation and ego is the enemy of true power-of-self. They live in constant fear of "the prettier girl.” And that is a scary place to live because there will always be one.
We still seek a great adventure.
We still want to be swept off our feet and passionately loved. Always will.
Compliments make our day, much more so when they come from another woman than from a man. There is nothing more disarming and reassuring than a woman who is kind and genuinely complimentary. When a woman gives a compliment--and does so in a way not forced or jealous-- there is a kinship established and the me-against-you feeling disappears. Be generous with your compliments, it will make you feel just as good to give them as it does when you receive them.
FINAL THOUGHT: (not to quote Jerry Springer)
Women are dichotomous creatures. We cannot be summed up in a sentence or boxed into a type. We are multifaceted to a degree that we may not be aware of. Generally, we don't fully understand ourselves because we are progressively developing the emotional equipment necessary to excavate ourselves. I think this is why we sometimes feel like we're going crazy... that something is wrong with us. Or is that just me???
You know when you look back at photos of yourself and say, "What was I thinking? Did I really think I looked good?" It's like that all the time. A future version of yourself is going to look back at you sitting there right now and say, "I really thought I knew what was up." As my Dad says, if you're not changing then you're dead. Regardless of how old you are, you always know less now than you will in the future. The key is being aware of that fact. Be teachable and forgiving of yourself. Every day is a past photo, so take more time to consider what your wiser future self would say.
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