The Silent Self Destruction of: Comparison and Competition
*Does anyone else's mind race at night? I always feel I am most inspired to write either extremely late (like I am now; and if I am awake) or extremely early in the morning around 3 am....anyways! Tonight I wanted to touch on a viciously unhealthy habit often made between women. Cozy up with your best girl friends, your daughters, nieces, call over a good neighbor, etc. and let's get into it!*
Now, for those of you who know me personally, you know I am a girls girl. For those of you who don't know me, Hi my name's Rahdyah and I'm a girl's girl. I love everything about being a young woman and I am always thinking of ways to better encourage and uplift other women to seeing the power and beauty we possess. I actually have so many blueprints to what I would like to do on a more broad scale of things but all of that will come into fruition later on in life Lord willing. For now, I wanted to talk about, in my opinion, probably the most ugliest thing that has affected and is still affecting our young girls, teens and women in today's world. This is the self destruction of comparison and competition specifically between other women. When I think about all of the time and energy wasted envying one another over clothes, fighting one another over guys, finding hurtful things to say just to make themselves feel better etc. it makes my skin crawl. Seriously.
Compare- to examine (two or more objects, ideas, people, etc.) in order to note similarities and differences.
Compete- to strive to outdo another for acknowledgment, a prize, supremacy, profit.
Who's to blame?
While it is important to point out that people ultimately make their own life decisions, I do believe the power of influence is heavily involved here. Let's be real, I don't know how many more reality shows we have to see of this kind of behavior between women but one of my prayers is that the television we watch today is shifted and geared more towards unity rather than toxicity. Their are a few shows that celebrate unity between women in positive light but not nearly enough! I believe television plays a huge part in how we as women treat one another along with social media of course and believe it or not, the old school fairy tales a lot of us grew up on. (Hear me out Disney lovers)
***Disclaimer: Disney film storylines have gotten better over the years. All of them are not showcasing distressed women or pinning women against one another over a man. (i.e Frozen, The Princess and the Frog, Moana etc.) ***
I may be one of the BIGGEST Disney fans in the world when it comes to the old princess movies and I can say from experience, THIS MENTALITY IS EMBEDDED within these Disney films that we all grew up to love so much. I will be fair and say that while most of the old ones have incredible underlying messages about being kind, having patience and never giving up on your dreams... the messages you don't catch right off the bat (but your subconscious does) are the toxic ones like the ones we are talking about tonight.
For instance, let's take the most iconic Disney Princess film of all time, Cinderella. She's a beautiful young woman with a giving heart placed in an awful living situation where she was treated pretty much like nothing by her step mother and step sisters for reasons "unknown". For all of my Disney girls out there, remember the scene in the movie where the invite to the Prince's ball was announced and Cinderella was told she could attend only IF she has something suitable to wear? Remember as the step sisters were looking for something to wear for themselves, they seemingly couldn't find anything in their closets? Items were being thrown left and right and the girls even said they didn't want half of the things in their closet because they were ugly and no good. Well, when the mice took some of the pieces the step sisters didn't want and created a ball gown for Cinderella so she could go to the ball too, what happened? ...exactly, you know the rest of that scene. And that's the thing. So many unhealthy emotions fall under the umbrella when you begin to allow the insecurity in you to compare and see one another as competitors (i.e jealousy, anger, envy, hatred etc.)
Now of course a story line had to be told and certain things had to play out in order for the audience to be entertained...I'm not suggesting we create movies that only have chains of positive events throughout it. That would make for a lot of boring movies. What I am suggesting is that conversations begin to happen between our young women and in our families about what was watched. I think it's a great teaching moment when a family can dialog after a movie night. Even if it's a princess film.
Let's Get Personal..
I thank God for my upbringing and my childhood wasn't a bad one at all; however in my later years when I began to get interested in boys and began wanting to find my happily ever after, I had many conversations with my mother and found out that my perception of relationships was all jacked up. I lived in my very own fairy tale for years lol let me tell ya!
I thought it was normal to fight over a guy. I thought it was normal to see other girls as enemies and as my competition. I thought it was normal to want to be "better than her". I actually thought that was normal. I thought that was the game. The crazy thing is, it is a game. A game with no winner and only one loser, me. I'd say it wasn't until about 5-6 years ago that my eyes were truly open to the truth. Isn't that insane? I don't charge it completely to fairy tales growing up but when it came to dating, it had an affect on me pretty badly.
With that being said, I want to break that stigma for younger women and girls out there that feel like their sisters are their competition. I want to break that comparison game. The old saying goes "You can't take someone somewhere you've never been." Well I've been there ladies. I've been that kind of girl and can I tell you something? Being that kind of girl was the reason for my depression at that time, my anxiety and my anger. Being the girl who had to always look like she was put together just so the other girls would be threatened was what made me ugly. It's what made me lose friends because when you're in that head space, all you think about is yourself.
How Do I Fix It?
When I was finally able to identify why I was depressed and why I walked around so angry and on edge, that's when I began to pray about it. At first, I couldn't confess it out loud, I didn't wanna hear the words coming out of my mouth. I chose to write out my prayers first. Things like "Lord I get angry because.... and I don't want to feel that way about her. Take this anger from me..." and "God my insecurities make me feel small in a room full of people because....I don't wanna compare myself , You made me perfect in your image, help me see that for myself." The most transparent prayers with God are and will be your most powerful ones. When you can get real with yourself and with God, you know you've reached a new level of authenticity and trust with Him because you are most comfortable in how real God actually is to you.
After my prayers, I began challenging myself and it's gonna sound silly but I promise it's helped in my deliverance of that toxic mindset. Not only did I begin to magnify and celebrate the beauty in what God gave me (my own body type, my laugh, my facial features etc.) I also took every opportunity to give a compliment to another woman. Whenever I felt that old mindset creep back up again, I'd counter act that old behavior with physically doing the opposite. If a lady walked in the same store as me and had beautiful eyes, if given the opportunity I'd tell her "Omg girl, your eyes are gorgeous." If I was at an event and another woman had on shoes I'd die to have, instead of being hateful that she had them and I didn't, if given the opportunity, I'd compliment her on them and tell her how amazing her outfit was. It was minor things that got me out of the toxic cycle and changed my perception on how I looked at other women. Being able to see the beauty in someone else, revealed the beauty I never saw inside of me. Now, I can't stop complimenting and uplifting other women lol. It's my new normal now because it genuine and you never know what someone is going through. That one compliment can change someone's entire day. That is what gives me joy.
Carry This In Your Heart...
*Just try to imagine for a second being so proud of what you created only to hear that it hates itself. All the time you spent in crafting it, getting the little details just right, molding it's individuality aside from your other creations....only to then hear it say "I'm not special." How would you feel? That is how God feels multiplied by a zillion.*
You may not need to do what I did specifically but if you are in that head space and you don't know what to do to get out of it, I'd encourage you to try it. Be transparent with how you feel, talk to God about it. Ask for His help, then begin doing the necessary work. Understand that God did not create us to fight and hate one another. He created us in His image (reference Genesis 1:27) . He is loving, caring, kind, fair, powerful, mighty, peace etc. Although it may be hard for some, nothing is impossible when you are with God. As stated in our previous blog post, God wants to help us and wants us to bring these things to Him in prayer. He not only has the answer, He IS the answer.
To every little girl, teenager and young adult/adult... you are perfect just the way you are because God is perfect and He is who created YOU. What you find are flaws, are what He sees as the most intricate and endearing parts about you. When you look at yourself and think "I'll never be good enough." or "I can't be beautiful because I don't have that." Christ hurts... because what He sees is completely different than what you see (reference Isaiah 55:8-9) . The girl next to you is not your enemy. She is your sister. Hurt people hurt people, yes...but let's begin to take account for our own actions so that this the work can be completed in us first so that we are able to help the next sister dealing with the same. (reference Matthew 7:3-5)