I believe healthy female friendships are the best relationships for self-development, building self esteem and confidence — and a great practice field for improving our communication skills for all relationships in love and life. However, when the relationship is toxic, all of those benefits can quickly reverse, leaving us questioning everything we thought we were making progress with, including mental, emotional, physical and career health.
A true gal pal is someone you feel comfortable confiding in and who appreciates you for who you are, not just for the things you do for her. She has your back and you have hers. You share core values, like honesty, integrity and gratitude; these are things you truly want and expect in a friend, and what you provide to her as well. Your relationship is healthy and drama-free. Neither takes advantage of the other and you both feel appreciated and valued in the friendship. Although your core values are similar, some of your opinions may differ dramatically and this makes for great conversation and new perspectives.
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You can feel comfortable telling her your raw feelings about what's going on in your life and listening to her, providing support and helpful suggestions. Good female friends grow to be better people and live their lives with higher self esteem and greater confidence, strengthening their romantic relationships and family ties as well. The benefits of a healthy women friendship are numerous.
Frenemies, on the other hand, are toxic and detrimental friendships that usually develop over time, usually after the toxic person becomes a trusted friend. They are enemies masquerading as friends, and can wear down your self esteem and leave you doubting yourself in areas where you previously exuded confidence. This toxicity can stall or put your self-development in reverse, instilling doubt and fear that you have any value, or are appreciated at all. In fact, this is a frenemy's purpose; her low self esteem is bolstered by her perception of control over you.
We see and judge people based on a reflection. In other words, they reflect back to us what we think of ourselves and how we feel about ourselves compared to them. We all judge; it is human nature and comes from our need to protect ourselves at a primal level. Our first and most basic judgment about others is, "Is this person a danger to my existence?" We can learn to be less judgmental so that our second thought is polite, but the first one is always judgment and dates back to the beginning of man.
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When we see another woman, we judge and compare automatically. She is a reflection of us. Is she thinner, more successful, happier or wearing better clothes? When we're not where we think we should be in life, love, health or career, and we see a woman who looks like she has it together (whether she does or not isn't the issue), we feel a tinge of discomfort because of our insecurity or low self esteem in that area. All women have some degree of low self esteem (how we see, think about and feel about ourselves) and raising it can be a lifetime journey. Keep reading...
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