Ladies: we need to start holding each other up and celebrating each of our strengths.
I have been on both the giving and receiving end of judgments toward women, by women.
What I’ve found is that the insecurities we face internally can sometimes act as a lens in which we see the accomplishments of our fellow sisters.
I personally have struggled with complimenting another female I admire for three main reasons:
1. I have too much pride.
I figure they probably receive compliments on whatever I am admiring all the time and I don’t need to be another person hopping on their bandwagon.
2. I am jealous.
I can’t allow myself to be truly happy for them when I am secretly wishing I was the one in their shoes.
3. I am scared.
I don’t want to be vulnerable and open myself up by admitting they have a trait, accomplishment, or skill I admire.
For me, that is the real and authentic truth. It has taken me awhile to admit those to myself and accept them as my roadblocks in truly empowering another female.
I encourage you to identify yours. Because noticing what is holding you back is the first step to figuring out how to get the heck over it.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
How authentically can you feel happiness and pride for other females when they have accomplished something awesome?
How often do you whole-heartedly congratulate them for simply rocking out?
For me, it is nowhere near as often as I would like, or as often as I should.
So how do we overcome this? I am still figuring it out.
I’m slowly learning how to move from a place of viewing strong and talented women as a threat or as competition to a state of seeking inspiration from them as a goal to strive toward.
Because that’s exactly what strong women should do: inspire us.
When I refocus my thoughts in that way, those three roadblocks I mentioned before transform into totally different internal conversations:
1. I have too much pride becomes…
I hope my compliment inspires her to keep going. Because no matter how many times people tell us we are on the right path, our own internal voice can come back and remind us we aren’t quite good enough.
By continuously complimenting the women we admire (even if we think the receiver has heard it 1,000 times), we motivate them to keep it up.
If I am inspiring the person I admire to keep doing what she’s doing, I am also inspiring myself by having someone to continuously look up to.
2. I am jealous becomes…
If I really can’t allow myself to lift up another human being because I secretly wish I was in her shoes, maybe I just need to ask her how she found the shoes that fit.
Instead of seeing this person as a flawless embodiment of everything I can’t or won’t ever be, I should ask her how she found her niche. I should gain insight into what her journey to success has looked like.
This is definitely a way to pull a source of inspiration from someone who we admire. It is also an opportunity to remind ourselves that no one is perfect and that the road to success (for anyone) comes with quite a few stumbles and pitfalls.
3. I am scared becomes…
Fear of vulnerability is and always will be my biggest roadblock. By putting myself out there to compliment someone else’s success, I am admitting that I don’t have it all together. I am openly stating that every goal I ever had for myself hasn’t been reached and this person is accomplishing something I haven’t yet been able to do.
But you know what, big deal. We aren’t all going to reach every single goal we set for ourselves. I am starting to see that complimenting someone doesn’t automatically place me below them.
If anything, it lifts me up.
I go from being a person who is too busy pretending that I am too stoic for a role model to someone who can openly admit that I seek inspiration from others.
While that does require vulnerability, it also requires strength. And, nothing is more inspiring than finding our own inner strength.
So, let’s be honest with ourselves about why we choose to put each other down or remain silent. Then, let’s reframe those reasons and choose to lift each other up instead.
International Women’s Day celebrates women, but we should celebrate one another every other day of the year.
Author: Alissa Lastres
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: AK Rockefeller/Flickr