I read this quote recently and it really got me thinking about the impact women have on each other. Especially in those fragile adolescent years. As teenagers, girls are so focused on their own self-esteem that they feel too insecure to discuss what they like about themselves; and the idea of complimenting other girls or boosting someone else’s confidence seems to them like they would be strengthening the competition. But why is it a competition?
I have been lucky enough in my life to find women who aren’t interested in tearing me down. In fact, it’s the opposite. They are who I turn to in my weakest moments because I know that they will give me the motivation I need to move on. Similarly, when I sense my female friends are feeling down or not themselves, I take it as an opportunity to support them and help build them back up to the positive, confident women I know that they are. I have found a lot of happiness in noticing potential in others and helping them as much as I can.
For some reason, teenage girls often misinterpret the phrase ‘safety in numbers’ to the point where they desperately just want to fit in to any sort of social circle. Then no one wants to risk independent thinking for the fear of becoming the groups’ target. This creates pressures in all areas of their lives because they feel like they need to look, act and think the same as one another in order to stay within that safety blanket of a social circle. Girls, you’ve got it wrong. Because the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd could one day be your Unique Selling Point!
Having discussed this issue with my friend she reflected on her experiences with other girls during school. “This really resonates with me. It took me until I hit uni to really find that group of girl friends that were willing to look past seeing me as ‘competition’ and to support me rather than tear me down. (There are a few exceptions to this of course). I never really thought about it much but maybe their own lack of self-esteem might have been the reason girls turned on me at school. I didn’t understand it because actually I had good self-esteem internally. My issue was more concerned with the girls who likely didn’t have much confidence in themselves and that’s what brought me down”. This is a perfect example of girls feeling insecure within themselves and therefore poisoning the confidence of their peers in order to feel better about themselves.
Clearly, what we need is a system in schools where we can coach girls on what it means to have a healthy relationship. If they were to learn about their own needs/boundaries and the needs of others in a positive way in an environment they’re familiar with, then they might have more of a chance of managing their friendships in a healthy way.
If we want girls to develop into the strong women of our future then they need to first learn that they are not in competition with each other. Once girls learn this, it will be easier to support one another in a real way and find true happiness in their friendships. And then we can all club together and save the world!