Why are we still competing with other women?
From the office to the gym, women often fall in the unconscious, unhealthy habit of comparing themselves with other women. And often, instead of supporting each other's success, they compete or even sabotage one another. I have experienced this first hand with other women trying to undermine me at work, blocking me from projects or keeping me in the dark. And I have myself to blame too, as I'd admit been catty at times. And where I have worked alongside amazing supportive women, there is still very much so a culture of envy, competition and comparison amongst women.
So why do we feel the need to compete with other women? And how can we consciously move away from this?
It starts with our insecurities
Our insecurities play the biggest role in that internal fight. So we go on and tirelessly try to find out why and how did these other 'more successful', 'prettier' women made it. We forget that we are unique. That we were put in a time and at a place that is specifically ours. And as we forget that very truth, we look at other women as the reflection that we are not enough. And that we have to fight back. I truly believe that it isn't really with other women that we compete - but with our insecure selves. It is about the difference between the ideal vision we had for our life and the reality of it. Between the standards we hold ourselves to, and our authenticity. For many of us, we look at another woman and don't see that other women at all. What we see is a stronger, smarter, richer, prettier version of ourselves. If you look at who you might feel competitive with, who do you see? I personally feel most envious or competitive when I can see a clear ground for comparison with the other person. Allow me. Michelle Obama? No competition. There are million of obvious reasons why I could never even compete with such a legend - but in the more primal side of my brain, the information that I receive is: she and I are not of the same nationality, not of the same age, nor of the same path. Suddenly she gets stored in the icon category versus the envy category. There is nothing I could do or change to be her. There is no comparison possible. She doesn't create jealousy within me, but admiration. Now, if you put a girl of similar education, of similar age and in a similar job; I will look at her and feel the need to compare myself either in the positive or in the negative. What is it that I missed to not be like her? How much more should I train to access as quickly and as well to her level of success?
We believe that life isn’t abundant
I have found that when I feel the most competitive is when I operate from a place of fear. From a place of lack. It is the fear that the spotlight cannot be shared, the fear that the success of one is at the detriment of another. That a more successful, more beautiful, more disciplined woman is the mirror of my inaptitudes. It is the anxiety that life isn't abundant, that it is her or I. When we haven't yet accepted ourselves with all our strengths and gifts, but also with our weird quirks and shortcomings, we come to believe that everything good and everything successful reside outside of ourselves. That they cannot be found inwards.
Where I feel I certainly have matured in this area, by learning to accept who I was and by adopting an attitude of self-love towards myself, I still feel I have miles to go. I would love to get to the point where I can admire a woman for her strengths, not just when I feel I can safely compare myself to her, but purely to celebrate her achievements. I admire women who have developed a sense of self-worth, who have learned so much about themselves that they know their individuality is their asset, and is theirs solely. So let's try to love ourselves more. Start to consciously assess how you are treating and judging other women. And the more you can start to check yourself against that, the more you can kick this out of your system. Let's realise that we have been given a unique personal journey, and that your purpose isn't anyone else's. Isn't like anyone else. That the success of others are to be celebrated and not feared. That our empowerment shouldn't come at the cost of others.
I would truly love to hear your thoughts about this topic. I find that it takes courage to realize this behaviour and to call it out and would love to hear about your journey.