Throughout my life I have said some crumby things about other women and I feel embarrassed just thinking about it. There have been times when I have been jealous, angry, insecure, frustrated, spiteful and petty and said things that aren’t nice. Worst of all, 99% of these things have been said behind their backs. Put-downs, criticisms, all kinds of things that aren’t okay.
Let me just say upfront, I’ve learned a lot since then and now conduct myself a heck of a lot better than I used to. I think working in an industry where most of my peers are women really forced me to make a decision; am I going to be catty and jealous and trash talk people or am I going to grow up, be respectful and treat my peers how they should be treated.
In my last personal post I spoke about my fears and insecurities around being body-positive. When you look at another woman who is sharing bikini photos, it’s easy to lash out at her. It’s easy to call her mean names, letting your frustrations get the better of you, and demean her. But, if you take the time to stop and think about it, her photos are most likely mirroring your own frustration back at you.
For me, that could be wishing I had her beautiful long legs, toned bum and great abs. Seeing this bronzed goddess sprawled out on the beach in her size 8 bikini is making me have bad feelings toward her because, really, I have these bad feelings toward myself. Rather than accepting that and committing to working on myself mentally, it can be easy to lash out at the lovely woman and her beautiful photo and say mean things, either out loud or just in your mind.
The second those thoughts pop into your mind or come out of your mouth, it feels vile. Really, truly vile. It is like poison and it’s heavy and it’s gross and it does not feel nice at all. It brings a lot of bad feelings to the forefront of your mind and that’s not a good way to feel.
From time to time, I’ve let these frustrations get the better of me with women who are my friends and acquaintances. I’ve said things that are a reflection of something within me, something that has been annoying me, or I’ve been immature and handled things the wrong way. This is especially true when I was younger and didn’t understand the impact my actions and words had on other people and, stupidly, I didn’t really care. Idiot.
The past few years I’ve really learned A LOT about the power of women, the importance of not talking shit about other women and learning to deal with my own issues and not take them out on others.
Now, when someone or something really annoys me I internalise it and analyse it, rather than acting on a first surge of frustration and saying something nasty I know I will regret. What is it about this person that is annoying me? Why is it annoying me? What can I do to change that part of my life and find peace with it?
You don’t have to be best friends with everyone you meet. It’s totally fine if you don’t click with someone, there’s no need for you to spend time with them and be annoyed by them. But it isn’t okay to say something bad about them.
I’ve also learned the absolute importance of being honest and open with people. There’s a lot of strength in vulnerability. Rather than sitting around being jealous on Instagram or feeling intimated by other women, open yourself up to these amazing people who inspire you and allow yourself to become their friend.
It’s so easy to feel like other women have something that should be yours…. they have the perfect body you’ve always wanted, they have the success you’ve always wanted, the gorgeous partner you’ve dreamed of or your dream career. The truth is, nobody can ever have something that is meant to be yours. Not ever. Everything in this world comes to you at exactly the right moment and you may have anything your heart desires at any time. There’s no point where someone else is stealing your happiness or success. Those things are infinite and we each have our own endless supply of both. Remember that word; ENDLESS.
When women support each other and work together, wonderful, amazing, powerful things happen. There’s nothing quite like that innate understanding you get from your very best girlfriends. Women who just know how damn good it feels to take your bra off at the end of the day. Women who know how long it takes to do a full face of ‘natural-looking’ make-up and the commitment involved with wearing a really tight, fitted pencil skirt all day. Women who know what it feels like to be scared walking along a street alone at night…. Women who know what it means to be referred to as, ‘The admin girl.’
There are enough people in this world putting women down, many without even realising it, that we don’t need to be doing it to each other too.
I get really angry when I see stories in the media about ‘cat fights’ and television programs using women to create falsified drama for ratings. It’s disgusting and it’s setting women back decades. Each person on this planet is unique and different and wonderful, they have their own ideas, opinions, beliefs and values and each person deserves to have those respected. Exploiting people’s relationships to sell magazines or boost viewer ratings is just awful.
Why aren’t there TV shows about women working together positively, collaborating and supporting each other emotionally? Why aren’t we showing young girls that other women aren’t our adversaries, they are our biggest support network? From the very moment I opened myself up to relationships with strong, intelligent, talented women and allowed them to influence me, rather than frustrate me, I grew significantly as a person. The moment I started accepting my frustrations as areas within myself I need to look at and work on, I stopped being jealous of other girls. Mostly because I realised I was in control of my feelings and my life!
The women I’m close to are incredibly inspiring. Some are amazing mothers, who teach me how to be patient. Some are wild and fearless, they teach me how strong I am. Some are quiet and contemplative, showing me the power I have over my emotions. Others are spiritual and worldly, opening my eyes to different aspects of life and culture.
I can’t take back awful things I have said about other women and I can’t change the jealousies and insecurities I let control me in the past. But I can be a better person now and every day for the rest of my life. Other women aren’t the enemy or the competition. Bitching, gossiping, talking shit or putting down other women isn’t okay and it needs to stop.
I honestly, truly believe that the more you act with love, the better your life will be. Treat other women with love, kindness, respect, admiration, humility and appreciation and you will feel five thousand times better than you ever could by putting them down. Don’t put up walls built of frustration, jealousy and anger. Open up your heart and let yourself be inspired by women you admire and be taught valuable life lessons by the women who challenge you.
Phoebe Lee is a writer, award-winning blogger and travel lover sharing helpful travel tips, insight and reviews for regular people. Follow her adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.