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December 17, 2013

“Mean” Women Hurt All Women: We Can Do Better

IStock_000015790066_ExtraSmallHow is it that women can be one woman’s best friend one minute and another woman’s worst enemy the next? In my Junior High School years I felt that I had to prove my worth by the way I looked, how many boys liked me or how many friends I had. I have no interest in re-living those years—literally or figuratively. Nor do I want other women to have to relive them in their adult years, either. It’s time for women to stop feeling threatened by one another and instead start supporting one another. I’m all for healthy competition and striving to be your best, however doing so by stomping on others is the last thing we need in our world today. 

Too often inherent in competition is attacking (“She’s such a witch”), jealousy (“She thinks she’s little miss wonderful”) and mean spiritedness (“Can you believe that he actually likes her?!”). Some women find their sense of worth by squashing the women around them. They attack other women because they don’t have a strong sense of self and they see other women as a threat. If you’re one of these women then trust me, squashing every other woman in the world is not going to help you in the long run. There will always be another woman who is smarter, more talented, prettier or more (fill in the blank) than you. You can’t squash every woman. Besides, the truth is, the other women are not the problem. The problem is within you. 

Actually, the problem is within many of us. Everywhere you look there are messages that are damaging to women --  to look sexy, be nice, attract men, be thin, don’t be a bitch and on and on. Women end up competing with one another. Far too often, we end up proving our worth by what we wear, whom we hang out with, how many men are attracted to us and who hires us. We forget that our worth has nothing to do with any of those things. We end up getting into a crazy competition with other women—even if only in our heads—to prove that we’re better than “her.” The damage starts here. When we feel the need to prove ourselves, we often do so by trying to “disprove” someone else. We try to put her down in an effort to lift us up. And in this place, we sabotage all women. In this place, we hold all women down and we become our own worst enemies.

The truth is that “mean” women aren’t out to hurt other women; they’re really out to prove they are worthy themselves. Their meanness is about not feeling that they are enough. No matter how well they think they disguise it, their meanness has nothing to do with other people; it has only to do with themselves.

Know that acting mean toward other women is not about the other women; it’s about your own lack of esteem and self-hatred. Instead of dragging other women down because of it, work to lift yourself up and get help. 

If you happen to be on the receiving side of a mean woman, know that her mean-spiritedness is not about you. Stand up for yourself, using a Grounded Powerful Strength (GPS) and step in with a calm, confident, matter-of-fact presence and set limits. Don’t for a moment question your worth because of her insecurity. 

Challenge: Refuse to attack other women because of your own insecurity. Hold them accountable when necessary, cheer them on when able and be supportive more times than not. Help raise women up; don’t tear women down.

 

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