Do You Sometimes Feel Like You Are Not Enough?
Every day, do you feel the pressure that you should exercise more, should find a husband, should spend more time with your friends, should spend more time with your not-so-dying grandmother, should save money, should be more, should eat less, should sleep more and party less? And every time you don’t exercise, or don’t eat-almost-nothing, or don’t find a mate for life, or have children, or earn more, or have a bigger title or travel more or own more and do more, be a better or more supportive friend – do you beat yourself up over it? Over and over and over… Do other women make fun of you for all those insecurities; making them seem like truths? Do you make fun of other women for being single, broke, fat, in a terrible relationship/marriage, chronically-ill, depressed, childless, uneducated, a drunkard, a snob, too-ghetto, skanky etc.?
If you close your eyes and think back to when you were little – who or what did you dream to be? Whatever the answer – princess, actress, doctor, lawyer, married to your father/brothers (eeeow you didn’t know), a mother, a wife, famous etc. – bet you never dreamed to be insecure, riddled with guilt, nasty to others, the villain. And yet here we stand as women, beating up ourselves and battering others.
But this post isn’t about the “you” or the “me” – it’s about the “us” and the “we” as women. It’s women’s month – so what better time to start protecting “ourselves-from-ourselves” and be kinder to other ladies, than NOW.
So let’s start with at least seven things we need to stop doing…
#1 Need To Stop Making Fun Of Each Other
Look everyone should have a sense of humour – life is too hectic not to laugh when we throw the ground coffee in the toaster, our cereal in a wine glass or put our keys in the fridge. And laughing with ladies is awesome but we know very well when it crosses the line, and this ugly line-crossing needs to stop.
Making fun of someone’s accent, word choice, hobby, education or even their obsession with cats/gym/their children/ tiaras or movie/book choices etc. is just plain mean and something women should stop doing. Statements that insult the way a person dresses, acts or chooses to portray themselves on Facebook or social media should never be spoken of in a judgemental way (hopefully not even thought about). We must just stop it, and if we find ourselves in a situation where this “dissing-session” thing happens, we should change the subject or walk away; or if it is a real issue, we should address it with the lady (not as a pack and not in a public way).
This “dissing-session” may be especially difficult to stop doing if the person we are making fun of is a “mean” person, or selfish or “deurmekaar”. But at the end of the day “hurting people, hurt people”, selfish people are super sensitive and “deurmekaar” people, well are already by default alienated. Although these may not be excuses – we should choose to spread light and life no matter the situation or if the person deserves it or not.
“Never laugh at or judge someone because you never know, someday you might find yourself in the same situation.”
#2 Need To Stop Attaching Identity To The Physical
Women (and men too) need to stop attaching their mood, confidence or happiness to the physical. And this is hell of a difficult. But we need to stop attaching our happiness to our scales or pants sizes, our incomes, our relationship statuses, our ability to travel, our expendable cash, and/or the way our lives are portrayed on social media.
We need to stop eagle eyeing whether other ladies got fat, have more money than we do, have failed in some way, have been dumped, have lost their best friend, are still single or childless.
Yes, being healthy and responsible with money and all of the above jazz (etc.) are important for women but it must never come in-between the Who, and the what, that are really important, and never steal our joy.
“Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”
#3 Need To Stop Feeding Into Stereotypes
Women have been stereotyped as being gossips, promiscuous, irrational, overly emotional, the sex that chatter endlessly without having much to say, poor judges of character, incapable of delivering valuable contributions, only interested in bagging a (rich) husband, only after money, shallow, only fixated on appearances, massive nags, only good for cooking and cleaning. Ladies, let’s not reinforce these stereotypes by actually doing these things.
Which means let’s make sure we make valuable contributions because we have it in us (whether people are wise enough to listen or not), speak up, consider our words carefully, offer wisdom and insight, show that we are more than tears and emotions, be strategic, be unique and show we don’t need other people to complete us. And let’s not pursue a man’s pocket – we are better than that.
“The question isn’t who is going to make me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
#4 Need To Stop Being Critical
Way too often ladies are extremely critical of each other and even more so, themselves. This really needs to stop. There is a reason that there is the adage “divide and conquer”. The more we attack each other and ourselves, even if it is just critical thoughts, the more we are remaining in bondage.
Grace is the word of the moment and the century. Instead of criticising someone for being negative, loud, taking too many selfies, being too bubbly, quiet, incompetent or whatever – we need to think whether our words, assessments or thoughts are helpful in changing the situation. Perhaps the right thing to do is to rather keep quiet and extend grace; in the hopes that other people extend us the same courtesy.
Meditating critically on how much we ate, weigh, gained, did wrong or do wrong also needs to stop.
There is that awesome phrase “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” – the more critical or negative our hearts and thoughts about ourselves and others, the more it flows out and the world can really do with less negativity. Women need to learn to protect themselves and other women. What better place to start than with our thoughts and mouth.
“When you look down on yourself, you set an example on how others should treat you.”
“The more you look down on others, the less anybody will look up to you…”
#5 Need To Stop Hierarchy Nonsense
This is just plain nonsense and exhausting. Mothers shouldn’t act superior to women without kids (neither the other way around), married women shouldn’t disregard or look down on single people, well-educated ladies shouldn’t smirk at women without matric and/or women in positions of power shouldn’t snub the rest of the “mere mortal ladies”. Whichever place we find ourselves in, we should stop making other ladies feel inferior in some way.
This is annoying, immature and simply put crappy style.
“Your job is not to judge. Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.”
#6 Need To Stop Thinking Other’s Bloom Affects Our Flower
This is so difficult because we want to be accepted and feel special and be awesome and have people look up to us. But by another lady achieving greatness, succeeding, getting that job we wanted, getting married, having that baby, retiring early, being able to stay at home with the kids, winning that award, getting that dream job, being promoted, travelling the world, marrying our ex, starting that blog, getting that degree, having that expendable cash, buying that home, having all those grand-babies, or whatever else we desire, hope for, pray for or dream of – it’s not stealing our shine…unless we let it. We are all unique, with exceptional giftings, with great plans and superb futures. We need to learn to celebrate other women’s victories and have those ladies in return celebrate ours.
“Supporting another’s success won’t ever dampen yours.”
#7 Need To Stop Being So Unforgiving
Women can do some horrible things to each other but it is time we realise that forgiveness isn’t saying that what was done to us, is okay; it’s setting us free from bondage. We forgive others not because they deserve it, but because we deserve peace. And while we are on the topic – the most mature person is always the one that forgives and apologises first (regardless of the situation).
“The first to apologise is the bravest. The first to forgive the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”
These seven things may not be easy to do but they are worth it. “No matter where you are in life, inspire and empower the women around you, Success is never reached alone. And, wisdom and wealth are sweeter shared.” We need to be the change, we want to see in the world.
A Little Bit About Sparkle Ellie and Oh, My Sparkle:
It isn’t easy being a woman in society. It isn’t easy to choose forgiveness with all the pain life offers on a platter. And it is isn’t easy when you don’t fit in with what society deems as “normal” for women of a certain age. Neither is it easy not to receive your breakthrough after patiently waiting for it, year-after-year, or choosing happiness, positivity and joy over misery in the world we live in. But what is important is that life isn’t just about “the me” – it’s about the difference we make, the love we demonstrate and kindness we show to people, animals and the environment. This is the Sparkle Ellie dream. To make a difference in the South African people and animals’ lives and to truly champion South Africa. Imagine being a nation known for its love? Today a blog, tomorrow who knows? Thank you for reading the blog and helping one South African’s dreams come true.