Let's Stop Tearing Each Other Down, Ok?
Okay, my sweet readers… can we have a little chat?
I think we can all agree that it’s hard as HELL to be a woman. #amiright?
I wish I could say that we live in a world where women aren’t mistreated, abused, assaulted, and much worse. Everywhere you turn it’s hard to not feel pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough.
The simple truth is really that we have to go through so many more things as women.
Things that men will never understand or grasp, no matter how hard they may try.
“Empowered Women Empower Others”.
Childbirth, menstrual cycles, menopause, and all the emotions that come along with all the things.
I think it’s fair to say that we have it tough. We face so many challenges as it is, so why should other women make it even more difficult for each other? There will always be other women that are taller, thinner, prettier, more fit, or have the things we don’t ourselves possess, but at the end of the day - we are ALL women.
Is it jealousy? Is it something else?
I wasn’t sure about sharing this, but I want to use my own experience as an opportunity to teach something and hopefully sharing my own story will help someone else along the way.
Recently, someone accidentally sent me a direct message on Instagram that was not intended for me.
It wasn’t crazy mean, it wasn’t long, but it was just enough to hurt my feelings. It was enough for my face to turn red and for my hands to start shaking as I was out to dinner with my Husband and daughter. It sounds dramatic but the truth it that it’s just been a really long time since I felt this way.
Immediately, my Husband looked at me and said, “Emma? Are you okay?”
I put my phone down and said, “Yes, I am. Well, no, I’m not - but yes, I am.” I told him what happened and showed him my phone.
In a nutshell, earlier that day I’d escaped the house for several hours to sit at the coffee shop to get some work done. I’d just gotten home from a little mini-vacation to my Husband’s family cabin with his Mom and Aunt and it was perfect. So I was feeling good, happy to be home, and before dropping off miss Riley to play at a family friend’s house, I swooped by the PO Box to grab the mail since I’d been gone all week.
I’d been anxiously awaiting a package that contained my brand new collateral items like my business cards, thank you cards, new laptop skin, luggage tag and custom washi tape -- yes, lots of goodies! I am a firm believer in printed goods for any business! More on that another day…
I want to rewind a little bit, too.
I work from home. I know I’m not alone in the fact that sometimes you just need a change of scenery so that’s why you’ll sometimes catch me at the public library, or one of the local coffee shops. And I might look ridiculous with my laptop and external monitor but I know how I work and in order for me to be productive when I’m currently in the midst of several web design builds, I need the extra eye space and you better believe if I have a few hours to myself without my daughter around, I’m going to do absolutely everything in my power to set myself up for success. So yes, I look silly with all my “shit”, but one thing I learned a long time ago is to not give a crap what other people think about me. I am so grateful to my parents for fostering my weirdness and always giving me the freedom and space to express myself, to be silly, and to simply be myself. So yeah, I get looks from onlookers and I love it. You do what you gotta do, right?!
Okay… back to my story…
I had set up shop at one of my favorite places to escape to, 7th Street Coffee, in Raymond, Washington! I decided to jump on my stories to show everyone my new collateral and here are just a handful of the DM’s I received that afternoon:
Omg! It’s all GORGEOUS!
Absolutely, LOVE Emma!
Shut up. These are gorgeous, Emma! I’ve been trying to find a great place to print but not having any luck, what do you recommend?!
Yay, all things ERC! So cute!
Love, love, love it all!
OMG. Stop. So cute.
Love everything, Emma!
Okay… Washi tape? Omg, where?!
So those were the messages that hit my messages, so you can imagine my surprise at dinner to find a relatively snarky/rude/mean one from a fellow photographer, mother, and woman.
Here’s what I do know… as women, we are all curious and jealous by nature - it is what it is. When we work hard to get more for ourselves, or reach specific goals, it becomes harder and harder to not look over our shoulder and peek at the other people (from our own perspective) who seem to be doing it better, who seem more successful, or have the things that we so badly want and desire for ourselves.
But here’s the deal, we all have different stories and not to mention different circumstances, that led us to where we are.
Things may look really beautiful on the surface, but trust and find comfort in the fact that it’s almost a guarantee, that the woman you’re jealous of went through her own tough stuff to get where she is today. Don’t judge her, because you have no clue.
In my short time in running my own business, I’ve witnessed first-hand the women who are desperately trying to get to the finish line (whatever that may look like), and pushing anyone to the ground who gets in their way. Then I’ve also had the incredible pleasure of seeing women who don’t take any bullshit, but do so with grace, without tearing others apart, and leaving behind the gossip and lying. They’re focused on their own journey in the mindset that there’s room for all of us but will also give credit to others where credit is due.
In grade school we learned the definition of Integrity. It means: do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
When this message came my way, I know for certain this person didn’t think anyone was looking, and that it was harmless because she was sending it to a friend. But unfortunately, it didn’t send to the right person and I was on the receiving end to see just how women can be, and once I got past the initial reaction of anger, I felt sad. I felt sad that this is exactly what we’re afraid of as women. We’re afraid of being judged and what others might be saying behind our backs. Like I said above, it wasn’t even the meanest thing someone has ever said to me, it was super simple but a clear jab to make fun of me for my coffee shop set up.
Then I felt sad for her.
As I’ve gone through my own relationship highs and lows, I’ve learned that I simply don’t have time for negativity in my life. Your priorities really do shift when you enter the world of motherhood and you start to look at everything in a new light. I’m proud of the fact that I don’t have a million friends, but that I have a tribe of women in my corner who love me, cheer me on, call me out when necessary (lovingly), and who I can trust. I don’t have room for women shaming one another.
I truly believe that you can forgive and release a person without continuing to allow them into your space. In any hard situation, it’s always my goal to remain kind, without investing too much more time and energy with someone who may never grow out of their jealousy or mean spiritedness towards me.
What I want to say to anyone who might be sending these kinds of messages in privacy to their friends… just stop. What do you have to gain by bringing down someone else? Even if it’s so small, so minute, it really isn’t in the grand scheme of things when you think about how often it happens. Every action you take in this life has the power to either lift someone or tear them down. Do you really want to be the person who tears others down, to be the bully? These behaviors need to stop. There is a seat for all of us at the table, and even more importantly, we need to set a better example to the little ones who are watching our every move.
When we tear one woman down, we tear all women down.
When we are able to support and stand up for one another, we break the mold and give ourselves the freedom and space to lean into bigger issues within our society.
It would be a true nightmare for me, personally, to have my daughter ever witness me tearing down another woman simply because I was jealous or feeling insecure about my own life. I read an article the other day about raising our kids to not be assholes. And when other women try to bring someone else down so that they can feel better about themselves in some way? That just makes them look like an asshole, and we’re all just doing our best to not raise those kinds of people, amiright? Let’s set a good example and always keep The Golden Rule at the front of our thoughts and existence at all times, which is the principle of treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated.
So I’m signing off with that and as you read this post, I challenge you to reach out to someone you’ve noticed doing great things, and tell them that they’re doing a good job and you’re cheering for them.
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