7 Simple ways to stop competing with other women and support them instead
We can't help but compare ourselves to those around us. Maybe it starts in high-school when you see that one friend of yours is getting way more attention from the boys than you. You notice how easily she can make them laugh, and you look at her petite frame and start thinking about how awkward and gangly you are compared to her.
Later in life, you might feel a similar kind of self-doubt when you see a woman walk into a bar, observing the obvious effort she's put into her makeup, her hair, the outfit. But now, you tell yourself "how sad, she obviously needs to feel validated by being told she's attractive. I wonder why she's so insecure."
You've gone from comparing to competing.
It's a sad thing to comprehend, especially given the fact that most women around the world are still facing a gender pay gap and unrealistic societal expectations, not to mention the continued discrimination and sexual abuse going on. Yet still, women continue to turn against one another.
Sometimes it's just to the point of "pitying" other women, while other times it can actually be very nasty, involving bitchy comments or catty behaviour behind their backs. Whether it's in regards to looks, social status, professional accomplishments or recognition for something else, it's just second nature to feel competitive.
Research says it's because we want the prime cut of genetic meat available around us. But really, these kinds of primal instincts have no place in our modern world, and female competitiveness stems from something different entirely. It comes down to insecurity, the need for acceptance from others and perhaps most importantly – from the self.
Many people suggest that we see a premium version of ourselves in other women – someone who's prettier, funnier, smarter or whatever – and so we're not challenging that woman, but rather challenging how we see ourselves. Some of us haven't yet accepted ourselves, our talents, qualities, and strengths, and we blame other women for having the qualities we believe we don't possess.
But it doesn't do anyone any good. Strong women are those who help build up other women, rather than hoping for their demise and trying to tear them down. We should be patting ourselves on the back more and patting each other's backs more too. And it's so simple.
Here are 7 small ways you can empower the women around you.
1. Be the change and lead by example
This is what I was going on about earlier – focus on becoming someone you'd be jealous of. Whether she's more positive, more hardworking, fitter or more adventurous, work on being and appreciating your best self.
2. Give more compliments
Nailed a headstand at yoga? Looking bangin' in a new dress? Yasss queen, tell her about it. Everyone's here for a genuine compliment for a confidence boost every now and then.
3. Stop gossiping
It comes from insecurity and jealousy, and nothing good is going to come from it. You're spreading bad vibes, and you'll probably regret backtalking that person later anyway.
4. Be happy for others rather than being jealous
It's so easy to look at someone who's better than you (in your opinion) and have the green-eyed monster come out. But be happy for them, applaud their success, and try and learn from it or be inspired to reach a similar achievement.
5. Don't stand for dodgy behaviour
If someone's being a total creep to a girl at a bar, step in and help a girl out. Let's watch out for each other and intervene if necessary because we shouldn't have to tolerate unpleasant behaviour.
6. Egg each other on
If your friend has an amazing business idea or is unsure about starting a blog, tell her to just go for it! Encouraging each other to take the leap and go for something daunting – but potentially very worthwhile – might be all it takes.
7. Support your female colleagues
The workplace is hard enough as it is – we still get paid less and face more difficulty when it comes to moving into higher positions than men. Let's encourage each other, advocate for our rights and help each other get successful.
Most, of all: stay positive. Especially with all the talented and outspoken women on social media in our faces all the time, it's easier than ever to compare ourselves and feel jealous of them. Aim to be a good example yourself, someone young girls can look up to, and ultimately – someone to walk among the other powerful women out there too.
Don't be so hard on yourself, work hard, and focus on supporting the amazing women around you in the small ways you can. Wouldn't you appreciate it too, after achieving something amazing?