Why is it that women seem to feel threatened by other women, whether it be in the work force, social life, or even in the circle of family? In a world marked by fierce competition and relentless comparisons, the dynamics between women can be complex. Society often pits women against each other, emphasizing rivalry and jealousy over unity and support. However, as mature women with high personal objectives, we are called to a different standard—one that fosters sisterhood and celebrates the excellence and success of every woman.
How can I quit comparing myself with other women who are smart, have a stunning personality and are beautiful in every way? We must begin to recognize the reasons women feel intimidated by other women. Are we jealous of other women? We may accept the idea that another woman a) appears so self-confident; b) or makes more money, c) has more friends, d) has children, e) whatever we conjure up in our head. All of these thoughts deplete our own sense of security.
There will always be someone prettier, smarter, more confident, more (you name it.) Actually, you may not feel badly because other women seem to have more or be more – you feel badly because you accept the idea that you are more deserving than they. It’s all relative. We must learn to focus on what value we can bring to the group, or what value we can contribute as an individual. We have all been witness to seeing a woman caught up feeling not “as good as” other women. How do we respond? Have you been that one woman?
Other Women’s Excellence Should Inspire Us – Not Threaten Us
Rather than justifying why we don’t have or can’t have, do we acknowledge our strong points? Do we then tend to focus on what we have that’s better than another, rather than focusing on the power and gifts we bring to the table that will be the catalyst needed to bring joint success as well as unify the participants?
Strong Working Relationships
As women, we need to learn how to benefit from working with other women and how to form strong working relationships. Not by being excessively complimentary nor by being self-deprecating, but by contributing carefully prepared and thought-out possibilities. Invest in your own intrinsic value as a woman rather than being stuck in a constant struggle of one-upping another woman or, conversely, sinking into a self-defeating habit of feeling like a loser.
In 2nd Timothy 1:7 of the Bible, we are reminded that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” Instead of shrinking back in the face of another woman’s achievements, we should tap into the spirit of power within us and boldly pursue our own goals and dreams.
Ideally, in working with other women we need to strive to promote in a manner that lifts everyone to a higher production level, as well as enhancing personal growth. Some goals for making an ally with another woman may include: Celebrate her, Affirm her, Learn from her; Uphold her, Support her, Encourage her. Be kind and encouraging. Spend time with her. Let other women’s excellence inspire you – not threaten you.
That is not to say that we are to be reticent, nor should we appear weak – but rather that we are to be wise, stable, and goal-oriented, leading in a purposeful, well-thought-out manner. By overcoming these challenges and cultivating a supportive, empowering environment where women may invest in their intrinsic value, we all benefit.
The Jealousy Conundrum
Jealousy among women in the workplace is a common but often unspoken issue. The jealousy conundrum can manifest in various ways, from subtle remarks to overt attempts to undermine one another’s success. This jealousy often arises from a scarcity mindset, where women feel that opportunities are limited and that another woman’s success means less for themselves.
- Recognizing the Scarcity Mindset
- Understand that the scarcity mindset is a learned behavior influenced by societal norms and expectations.
- Reflect on your own thoughts and actions to identify any jealousy or negative feelings towards other women’s accomplishments.
- Promoting Abundance Mentality
- Shift your perspective to an abundance mentality, believing that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.
- Celebrate the successes of other women genuinely, recognizing that their achievements do not diminish your own potential.
Competitiveness: Healthy vs. Harmful
Competitiveness can be a double-edged sword. Healthy competition can drive personal growth and inspire women to achieve their goals. However, when it turns harmful, it can damage relationships and hinder progress. Is your competitiveness healthy or harmful?
- Nurturing Healthy Competition
- Embrace competition as a means to challenge and improve yourself.
- Seek mentorship and support from successful women who can help guide your competitive spirit in a positive direction.
- Avoiding Destructive Competitiveness
- Recognize when competitiveness is harming your relationships and self-esteem.
- Collaborate with your female colleagues rather than viewing them as adversaries, fostering a sense of unity.
Investing in Intrinsic Value
Women often grapple with feelings of worthlessness due to external pressures and unrealistic societal standards. However, it is crucial to shift the focus from external validation to nurturing one’s intrinsic value. Are you investing in intrinsic value that many philosophers take to be crucial to a variety of moral judgments?
- Defining Your Own Success
- Establish personal goals and metrics of success that align with your values and aspirations.
- Avoid measuring your worth solely based on societal expectations or external accolades.
- Building a Supportive Network
- Seek out mentors, role models, and peer groups that prioritize personal growth and self-empowerment.
- Surround yourself with individuals who encourage you to be your authentic self.
Mentorship and Sponsorship
One of the most effective ways to overcome the challenges of women versus women in the workplace is through mentorship and sponsorship. These relationships can provide guidance, support, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.
- Finding a Mentor
- Identify women who have achieved success in your field and approach them for mentorship.
- Be open to learning from their experiences and seeking their advice.
- Becoming a Sponsor
- As you progress in your career, consider becoming a sponsor for other women.
- Use your influence to advocate for their advancement and provide them with opportunities to excel.
In the Bible we read instructions to older women to teach and mentor younger women: “Likewise teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be kind, —” Titus 2:3-5.
Beware – someone is watching – what an opportunity
The power of a woman who is a leader, a counselor, a teacher (formal or coincidental), an example, a mentor – is beyond measure. The women who poured into me with concern and love, desiring that I bloom and be a contributor down the road, continue to live in my mind and I “hear” their words.
We cannot undo the standards, the truths, the morals that we have taught to others. Nor can we remove any vitriol or undermining that may have been dumped on or in the area of a young mentee. Such an opportunity for leadership is a gift. Lead by example and with the highest of standards. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14. Yes, beware, someone is watching! What an opportunity!
Conclusion – In a world that often pits women against each other, Christian women are called to a higher standard of sisterhood and support.
Rather than viewing other women as rivals, we should celebrate their excellence and find inspiration in their achievements. By following the teachings of the Bible, we can foster a culture of collaboration, mentorship, and prayer that empowers women to reach their full potential in Christ.
As we strive to live out the Christian principle of women empowering women, we can build strong and meaningful relationships that not only benefit us individually but also strengthen the Body of Christ as a whole. Letting another woman’s excellence inspire us, rather than threaten us, is not only a godly way to live but also a powerful way to make a positive impact in the world.
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