I recently started swimming again. For two reasons; 1. to get back into shape and 2. because I hate cardio more than most things in my life and I would rather gouge my eyes out with a dull pencil than do any kind of cardio other than swimming.
It was in preparation for one swimming session when I texted a friend something like this…
S: “I don’t want to go to the pool because there are going to be so many people I know there and I’m not ready to be in a bathing suit in front of people!”
R E L A T A B L E????
Friend: “the reality is that no one will be looking at you because they will all be too busy feeling insecure about themselves to notice you.”
Her response rolled around in my mind for days, everywhere I looked I saw the comparison, the insecurities, the heads down. It was all around and penetrating into every crack available to be filled.
I asked a question on my instagram for those women that were willing to tell me what they struggled with. There were varied answers but 90% of the response had to do with self image and/or friendships. Responses like; connecting with people, self love, body image, being okay with where I’m at, negative self talk, perfectionism, comparison, letting go of control, feeling like an imposter, how to be a friend, feeling like the conversations are one sided, do my friends actually love me, am I actually enough, etc. The responses brought me to tears. To think of the women who sent them, in all their bravery and courage to admit the struggles. Their responses have haunted me since I asked the question. And not because they were horrible responses but because we have all been (or are still) there.
I know that I’ve written about this before, and honestly I will write it again until we all (including myself) can understand it and get it past our beautifully curled, hairspray filled hair, into our brains.
I began thinking about what would happen in the world if women stopped comparing. What if we cheered on instead of tore down? What if we complimented instead of compared? What if, for once, we didn’t rely on the opinions of others? If we didn’t wait for others to approve or disapprove, but just stepped out in boldness and gracefully said to the world “this is me!” no longer holding ourselves back for fear of others. There is so much power in women and so much of it goes unutilized. Sometimes all it takes is looking past what we are wading through to see the one in front of us. We don’t know her story, her darkness, her demons but chances are that we’ve been there or in the least we can lend a hand. We were never meant to be in competition with one another. It was never supposed to be a game with one winner. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all REJOICE together.” That word rejoice is to give joy to, to congratulate, to take part in another’s joy. I know that it can be hard to celebrate something in someone else’s life that you’ve wanted for so long. I know what it’s like to have dreams and see them come true through someone else. To watch time and time again as exciting things happen in others lives and you feel forgotten left on the sidelines. But what if we changed the narrative a little? What if we flipped our frustrations, disappointments, sadness, brokenness and we found joy in it? When we celebrate those around us, we get to partake in their joy with them. Joy is not something to be kept in, to be bottled up and saved for later. There is always enough to go around, if you’re willing to partake in it! It brims over from every side and can sometimes be so contagious that you can’t help but partake in it.
The reality is, that just because she got what you wanted doesn’t mean there isn’t enough for you. I heard Lisa Bevere once say, “just because she got blessed, doesn’t mean the bank is now empty for you.” Their success and their triumphs will not take away from what you desire. But you cannot be jealous of what others have if you are not willing to do what they did to get there. Dreams take work, a lot of work. Ambition should not just be something that rich and famous people have. Within each one of us is the ability to make things happen, to work hard, pursue those we need to and even when we hear no to realize that it doesn’t mean never. With this realization in mind, let us stand together and even in the face of disappointment partake in the joy. Realizing that it doesn’t affect your blessing or destiny is a risk free way to celebrate your friends, your leaders, coworkers, women you’ve never met. Make a point to be bold in compliments, not expecting any in return but because you thought a kind thought about someone.
Let’s change the world T O G E T H E R.