Following up from my last article ‘Key to thriving: Find your Sisterhood’, we should bring up a roadblock that most women face everyday… Sizing ourselves up to other women.
Yes, the women’s internalized version of a dick measuring contest. AKA a self-defeating strategy in making new friends.
This is a major block and we need to learn how to overcome it. It’s the habit to instantly feel defensive, insecure or jealous when there’s a new woman on the scene and it happens so regularly that we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
The problem here is that this reaction keeps us isolated and totally cock blocks meaningful connections with other women.
A lot of this comes down to a futile relationship with our own inner Judge which has gone on our whole lives.
Who the hell is our Judge you might ask?
You know that uninvited voice that asks what will people think if I were that statement red dress to the party? Or the one that calls you an idiot when you make a mistake?
Basically, the source of every woman’s insecurity… That’s your Judge, and you don’t need to listen to her. Learn to see past her opinions.
While she has a role… You need to tell her to BACK OFF when she oversteps her mark and starts to affect your happiness and wellbeing.
Our Judge can get in the way of reaching out to other women that we admire and overwhelm us with insecurity and jealousy. Not very helpful!
What is the Judge’s role?
Think about your Judge as the survival part of your brain and realize that she is incorrect MOST of the time.
Our ancestors used to be in life and death situations frequently, running away from predators, not having stable houses to protect themselves from extreme weather and practicing basically non-existent safety precautions compared to the OH&S Standards of today. Their survival brain or “Judge” kept them alive frequently, keeping them on the look-out for danger all the time.
In 2017, there are no giant jungle beasts chasing us and so that part of our brain is not useful MOST of the time. And definitely, NOT when we are getting ready for work in the morning or preparing for a meeting or presentation.
Recognize that this Judge in your brain thinks she is keeping you alive.
Basically, she doesn’t have an updated version of her job description and it’s time to pull her in line.
So, how do we overcome the Judge?
When you hear that voice in your head that’s telling you people are going to judge you if you wear the sexy as hell outfit you’ve been dying to try out. Or people will notice you’ve gained a few extra pounds at the family reunion next week and you feel that tension in your body rising. Pause.
Take a second, recognize that your Judge came up because she thinks you’re in danger… Try to look at the funny side, she’s a fanatic old lady that’s scared of the world outside of her house. SOMETIMES she’s right about the dangers in the world and MOST OF THE TIME… She’s wrong and creates her own insanity.
If you allow yourself to be driven by fear, you will never be happy.
When you’ve recognized your Judge, look at what she’s saying and if this fear or concern has no valid basis (e.g. people will judge me if I _________). Then recognize in yourself that she is incorrect, eventually, you will find a pattern and stop relying on your Judge for information.
When you first start auditing your Judge, you might find yourself needing to pause every 10 minutes. You’ll find that you’ve really underestimated just how much control you’ve let your misdirected judge have. And that is totally OK! Remember this is a positive experience, you want to be happy and you’ve uncovered a blind spot.
Observe and keep moving forward.
So why does the Judge impact your interactions with other women?
Everything comes from the inside out. What we judge within ourselves, we judge in other people.
We’ve just spoken about how our Judge is rarely correct and is a massive source of our unhappiness and insecurity. So be honest here, how often do you judge other women? For their outfits, their hair, walk, voice, body…
My guess is more than you’d like to admit.
Remember that this process is about healing. Don’t judge yourself for judging others. Be gentle and honest with yourself.
Let’s move onto Part 2.. The mirror.
Let me give you an analogy.
You like to think of yourself as polite, gentle, friendly and sincere. You’re at work and a colleague from a different department who you’ve never met before comes in.
She’s very different to you. Maybe she’s taller, slimmer, wearing clothes that you deem a bit too casual for an office environment.
As soon as she walks into the room, she has a presence that draws all eyes to her. Her voice is loud, she laughs like a hyena, cherry red lipstick that commands attention.
She’s turned into the centre of attention, she’s completely unrefined. Cracking jokes with your team mates and they’re loving it.
You take an instant disliking to her for no justifiable reason. You can’t pinpoint exactly what it is you don’t like about her however, there’s this feeling of resistance towards her. This is the Mirror theory.
How would the mirror theory explain this?
You’re someone who prides yourself on being close to the opposite, controlled in your expression and towards the quiet, gentle side. Perhaps you’ve been trying to mold yourself into a woman with these traits without first taking the time to understand your true nature.
Maybe, on a deeper level if you took off all the masks and rules you put on yourself… You’d find that you like to have fun, be more carefree and loud.
So really, these feelings of dislike towards this woman has nothing to do with her and everything to do with what you are suppressing in yourself.
Think of her as a trigger.
She’s showing you something about yourself without even realizing it. This gift puts you in a position to be honest with yourself, to be accountable and to grow.
We are triggered on a day to day, hour to hour basis. Unless of course you live under a rock or you’ve done so much spiritual development work you’re close to being enlightened and the next step is Buddhahood, it is completely unavoidable.
We are jealous, we resent others and feel inferior when we see aspects in of ourselves that we’ve suppressed in other people, more commonly… OTHER WOMEN.
It’s okay to admit that someone triggers you to feel like an unaccomplished kindergarten child. When you start to unpack yourself, it is opening up the can of worms you’ve been avoiding for years, maybe even you’re entire life. And it is messy.
No one is big and bad enough to run away from basic human feelings and basic human reactions.
Be self-aware, be accountable and be compassionate to yourself.
It’s a HUGE process to stop suppressing ourselves, and it can take a lifetime to learn about who we truly are. We, as women are conditioned to suppress ourselves from a very young age, forced into the kind, gentle, elegant, nurturer before we get to choose who we want to be.
Understand your contradictions.
A lot of us were raised with the black and white philosophy. AKA dogma. The Baby Boomers and earlier generations were hot for dogma. They ate dogma for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Religious dogma, ethical dogma, family dogma, woman archetype dogma…
Either something is wrong or it’s right. There’s no middle ground, there’s no grey area, there’s no confusion. When we transfer this model to thinking about ourselves or others it is simply inaccurate.
We are complex. I can be angry and sad at the same time. I can be scared and brave, I can act sexy and feel sexually inadequate.
We are so multifaceted it’s ridiculous. And it’s time to accept that.
I can be a diehard feminist, who is at the front of protests and ready to hit a Motherfucker who disagrees with women’s rights and also feel intimidated by men.
We’re complicated, we contradict ourselves daily and we don’t make sense. That is the beauty of the human experience and most importantly, the woman experience.
Don’t get caught up in the right and wrong way of thinking, don’t try to draw meaning from things outside yourself.
Be kind to yourself, be kind to other women. We are all here facing the same battles every day so let’s accept each other in all of our glory and complexities instead.