Friday, January 14, 2011

This One's for the Girls

I've been trying to practice the concept of saying good things that I usually don't, especially to other women.

In my experience, women seem to have a hard time complementing one another. There's typically an air of competition; women size each other up, determine who has the advantage, then find reasons to dislike each other.

In college, I experienced this the most, which was sad because I was among fellow believers. Girls I didn't even know found reasons to dislike me and spread false rumors. There's nothing quite like knowing you have a reputation that is primarily fueled by people you hardly know.

It's like the concept Tina Fey's character tries to impart in the movie "Mean Girls." There's lots of girl-on-girl crime, which doesn't help girls' relationships with guys or each other.

And really, what good does it do to cut down other people? It doesn't make you prettier or smarter or stronger. Rather, it proves a weakness, a need for affirmation and a lack of self-esteem.

One of the first steps in getting over this, is getting a big dose of self confidence, which as believers, is imparted by the Holy Spirit (and, I feel, a knowledge of yourself). When you know that you are loved completely, and that you are capable and competent, you will find a new self awareness. This will leave you feeling confident, knowing that you can do anything and be yourself while doing it.

It's taken me 24 years, dozens of life lessons with failures and victories, and an understanding of what makes me do the things I do, to come to the realm of self assurance. But I can say with complete confidence, it was well worth it.

However, it doesn't end there. Or rather, it shouldn't, though it often does. It seems that by the time women get to this place, they keep their confidence to themselves and don't use it to enrich others. But a self assured, confident woman can impart much good to others.

This is the place that I've come to, the knowledge that I can do much more good by speaking up than keeping silent. And that, has become my goal--to say what I normally wouldn't, not out of spite but almost out of ignorance. People don't really think about what they should say to others to build them up, they mostly just think it and then let it go.

I have about a million examples of this, because I tend to keep quiet in this area. I feel like every day I pass up an opportunity to encourage, complement or thank someone. I'm trying to pay attention to this, to look for moments to say things that will enrich and build up other women.

It can start as simply as complementing another girl on her hair, her outfit, her appearance. We as women know that we like to get complements. After that, it can include noticing someone's efforts and thanking them.

I noticed "Gina" was making herself available to meet and talk with another woman, even when it might not have been convenient. She was making herself available to help someone else who desperately needed it. I noticed, so I made a point to send her a message about it, encouraging and thanking her, which is not something I would typically have done.

I don't share all this to make myself sound perfect, because I'm not. I'm a work in progress like everyone else. I share it to encourage other women to the same action. Rather than using our successes to divide each other, we should be using them to unite and build each other up. This is the only way to ensure that we don't fall prey to the dividing nature of "angry woman syndrome."

So my challenge to you is this: in the next week, see how many positive things you notice about the women in your life (even the ones you don't like). It may go against your nature, so work on thinking positive thoughts the moment you see each woman. When you notice something, make it a point to then say something. You can write a message on Facebook, or better yet, tell her to her face. See how many women you can encourage, and then you'll see how it enriches your life in return.

We girls have to join together, love on and support each other. Only then can all of us succeed.


camille nicole said...

I love you.
And you are wonderful, especially when you're pushing people to become better.
Miss you, miss you.

eliseloyola said...

Aw, thank you! I love you too. And miss you a ton.

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