original photo credit: Insulinde – text by RWB
Let me start by saying not all women are mean to other women. At least not all the time. And therein lies the rub. It can be a little insidious because we never know exactly when some meanness or judging is going to come our way. And also, if we are honest with ourselves, we’re probably a little blind to how much we do it ourselves.
But, I bring a message of hope. I have a couple ideas on where the meanness stems from and what each of us can do to combat that tendency in ourselves and on the flip-side how to not let it get to us when we are the target.
Reason #1: Women and Competition
I think the biggest reason we women have a tendency to be mean to one another is a primal one. We still have all our survival instincts inside of us. Back when we were all cave women, securing a man/mate meant survival. It meant that we had a partner in finding food. It meant that our primal desire for sex would be met. It meant that our desire to be have and be part of a clan/family would be met.
And so as cave women, we were in competition with other women to secure a man for our survival and to meet all our primal needs. And we still have that competitive drive inside of us today. We don’t think of it in those terms any more than we think of eating a hamburger in terms of keeping us alive. It’s just there, like the desire to breathe.
And the funny thing is, even if we are in a relationship and we have our clan, this competitiveness doesn’t go away. I guess there’s the primal instinct to defend what we have.
So what to do?
Rise Above It
The good news is we are no longer cave women. We still have our needs for survival and a big one is maintaining our social supports (aka, our partner, our children, friends, and family/clan), but we have awareness now. When we are aware of our primal drives, we have the opportunity to simply observe the ones that don’t serve us well and not react to them.
The pretty woman in the magazine is not a threat to us, so let’s not hate her. When we hate, we take on ugliness. It makes us feel ugly. This is a choice we can say no to.
When we see a good looking woman in real life, notice your instincts. Do you want to start cutting her apart, judging her?
Being supportive rather than judgmental is good for you. It actually makes you look better because you are not anxious. You are in a state of goodness, not fear. Your body will also recognize this as a sign of confidence. All this will improve your looks on a subtle but noticeable level. Most noticeable will be how you feel inside. If you feel good, you have the space to feel pretty. If you feel hatred, that space is closed down.
Realistically, that pretty woman is not going to “take your man.” (or your woman as the case may be.) And if your partner can be so easily “taken” then he/she wasn’t yours to begin with. And of course our partners don’t ever really “belong” to us. They should be with us because they want to be. Be confident not fearful. This is the best way to keep your partner by your side. (Think about it when how you feel if your partner is fearful and insecure…..)
Reason #2: They Are Unhappy in Life
Sometimes we are in a place in our life where things are not the way we want them. We feel stuck in a job, in a bad relationship, in our bodies, in our environment. We want to change some of these things and for whatever reason we are not making progress. We experience a fairly constant state of frustration. Ever been there? I know I have!
When anyone is in this state, it becomes harder to celebrate the successes and good in others. And often there is a tendency to reinforce our own unhappiness and swim all the faster down that toilet drain.
This place is ripe for hating and judging others.
What to Do?
Make a Start and Focus on the Good
If you are feeling this way, the best thing to do is to make a start on fixing the things in your life that you can change and find ways to cope with the things you can’t change. Make a plan, start small, stick with it daily, and you will make progress-even when it seems impossible!
Make a commitment to focus on the good in your life on a daily basis. Mantras are a powerful way to do this. Every moment that you are focusing on the good in your life is a moment that there is no room to wallow in the difficult. Over time, the world starts to look different. You change how your automatic mind works from “problem finding” to “possibility thinking!” It really makes a difference.
So whether you are the sender or the receiver of meanness from other women, see what you can change and make a choice to focus on the good.
Reason #3: Jealousy
This is often in combination with #2, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes we have it all. Even when things are generally good for us, because we are human, we want more.
“I want what SHE has.”
You didn’t “know” you wanted it until you saw it. You didn’t know you were missing it until it was right before your eyes. And now you want it. But you can’t have it. You are not Her. You can’t have her skin, her shape, her partner, or what seems to be her perfect life (don’t worry her life is not perfect- no one’s life is).
Why can’t you have those things?
Because you’re you! And that is the solution right there!
If you feel that green demon nudging you, the only solution I know is to say “No” to that jealous voice. Appreciate what She has. Be happy for Her. But also remember the good You have in your life. If you happen to be in a rut in your life, then skip back to the solution under #2.
Acceptance frees you from jealousy. So release your desire to have what you can’t have. Make plans to change what you can. And focus all the way along the journey on the good in your life.
And don’t let the little things escape your attention, all the things we take for granted. In fact that’s a great place to start. Ask yourself what you take for granted. Now imagine your life without those things or abilities or people in your life.
If other women are jealous of you and being mean to you, first see their vulnerability, their challenges, and then meet that jealousy with compassion not anger. And then let it be. Don’t hold on. Only send goodness. And carry on with your life.
If you know of someone who might like this article, I thank you for sharing!
I’d love to hear what you think about this topic! Comments, Tweets, Facebook – let’s discuss!photo credits: Left, Middle, Right