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Friday, February 4, 2011

Stand Up for Her — and Yourself

Have you ever noticed that sometimes women can’t be happy for another woman’s success? Sometimes when a supposed rival succeeds we might come up with an excuse for why it was easy for her. “Sarah got lucky,” or “Vicki just knows the right people,” we might say.

I’ve observed that sometimes we women have a hard time when another woman we don’t approve of — or think prettier/uglier, smarter/dumber, and more/less successful than we — receives attention, accolades or press. The opposite should be true. However, we’re not all altruistic, are we? We should celebrate our sisters in their successes, rather than tear them down with jealousy and judgment. Jealousy and judgment will only lead to more frustration, bitterness and contempt. Three feelings we’d be better off without.

But, so often, we can’t see past our own insecurities. Maybe we feel the best way to protect our fragile egos is to tear others down. However, if we really dig deep, we will see that supporting and learning from others’ achievements makes us feel good.

In my work as an editor of a womens publication, I've had the opportunity to meet, interview and feature hundreds of women. These women have been mothers, grandmothers, entrepreneurs, artists, trend setters, community activists, story tellers, business leaders, athletes, creators, and nurturers. Their achievements, in some cases, are those an every-day woman could achieve. However, they all have one trait in common: a feminine strength and determination. They have inspired me to live up to my own potential, to be more, not less, of my own true self.

Marianne Williamson, one of my favorite authors, wrote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I believe this to my core. The women in your life have a light to share. Take it in and let it liberate your own light to shine – without fear of judgment or jealousy from others.

3 comments:

  1. Oh, Pam! This is a great article--so pertinent! LOVE that quote from Marianne Williamson too! Thanks!

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  2. Thanks Tara. Marianne Williamson's book Return to Love is an amazing read.

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  3. Wonderful post and that's one of my favorite quotes. I have no idea why we women can't celebrate each other's successes but we definitely need to do it more often.

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