We deserve so much more for and from ourselves than to bring harm to another woman.
"I never trusted women who liked other women."
This was said to me casually by a very honest and candid female colleague, and it struck me so profoundly that I literally gasped at the remark. I knew she wasn't being malicious, but it was a heartbreaking sentiment.
Though we have all heard about and seen plenty of indications that women can be catty, jealous and flat-out mean, the truth is that I only see that on the outskirts of my world.
The women in my circle are wildly supportive, collaborative, inspiring and deeply loyal. In my world, there is no room for backstabbing and belittling, and those who try to bring it in are given the boot faster than you can say girls-girl.
This is not only because of the respect the women I know have for one another, but also for themselves. After all, what does it say about the character of someone who comes onto another woman's husband or belittles a colleague because they happen to have the genetics the person judging deems attractive? How can we truly feel good about ourselves when we are using so much of our precious energy tearing another woman down?
The truth is that we deserve so much more for and from ourselves than to bring harm to another woman, whether it be emotional, her reputation, or her right to live her life by her own value system, with freedom from condemnation by others who only have an idea of what her life is truly about
With this in mind, here are five things all women deserve from other women.
1. The understanding that no woman is more real than any other woman
Whether tall, short, au natural or botoxed within an inch of her life, we are all women and we all have a right to live our lives as women without being told that we are less than others who make different choices than we do. Just because there is a majority doesn't make the minority any less valuable or important.
2. The generosity of time and attention to what matters most to them
Here's a fact so many of us forget: there is no hierarchy when it comes to support or pain. We need to understand that what matters in our friend's lives may not matter to us, but if they matter to us, we should show the same love, support and affection we like to feel.
If you are a mother of three who likes to show off your children and appreciate it when your single friends take an active interest in the growth of your newborn, it's safe to assume they will appreciate your asking about the new business venture that they have been nurturing for the past year and a half. If you have a friend who has struggled more than the one who sits in front of you crying over something you deem trivial, it's unkind to devalue her feelings.
3. The sharing of wisdom
There are some women who hold onto every lesson they learn and every piece of helpful "inside information" they come across as a way to get ahead of "the competition." In reality, we are far stronger than a community, and the world is so big and connected that there is absolutely room for all of us to succeed.
When we mentor, empower, support, cheer and guide one another, we also inspire. How exciting to build a legacy of leadership as well as a showcase of your skill set.
4. The true freedom to live her life without your unsolicited comments and rude questions
Yes, I am, of course, talking about your invasive pregnancy questions, your opinions about her not wanting children, your suggestions that she is "too picky" and should "settle," your questions about her marriage, divorce or lack of desire to ever get married. Just STOP!
You never know what someone is going through or why they are in the position they are in, and your peanut gallery comments are not only offensive, but they can be deeply damaging. Better to be led by grace than a need to gab.
5. The acknowledgement of a job well done
There are two kinds of women in this world: those who hold back applause for reasons that stem from jealousy or judgement, and those who lunge to their feet when they see another women succeed. Which one are you?
We live in a world that loves to build people up and tear them down, and when you're around a woman who is confident enough in her skin to allow herself to be inspired by those around her, it's magical. There is a true power that comes with allowing yourself to be open to being happy for other people, and showing it truly makes you stand out.