She came up to me with tears in her eyes and said,
“Thank-you. I thought I was the only one.”
It was several years ago, right after I’d started To Be and had just given one of my first big, in person talks. I was nervous, anxious and not sure how my discussion had gone. It was the first time that I’d talked in front of a group, representing me and my brand, and not another company.
I wasn’t sure if my super-niched topic had been well-received; if women outside of my immediate circles thought my topic was relatable; if the risks I’d taken to start my own business were going to pay off. I simply, wasn’t sure. Which in any circumstance is never a good feeling. In that moment, my-inner-she-bully was out in full force with all of the self-doubts I was experiencing.
But as I was wrapping up to head home this courageous woman walked over and thanked me. Her eyes glistening with tears, held sadness but also a glimmer of relief. She showed vulnerability as she shared her grief. She was optimistic that this topic was being openly discussed when it felt so taboo and off limits. She was amiss that other women had also gone through it, but found solace that she wasn’t alone.
🥊 Right then, I kicked my-inner-she-bully to the curb and wholeheartedly embraced what this woman was sharing with me. Because in that moment I knew I was on the right path to help empower other women!
‘Female Rivalry’ and more importantly, how to overcome it, is my passion. My true ‘WHY.’ And to this day, I’m still so very excited to highlight awareness about this important topic.
You may be asking, what exactly IS female rivalry? Here are a few signs to look for, to know if this negative behavior is occurring:
Social exclusion: She likes to be in charge and plan events. She’ll openly talk about them in front of you, but you’re never invited.
Backhanded compliments: She gives compliments that aren’t compliments at all. They’re given on the pretense of being ‘nice’ but they really make you feel icky.
Passive aggressive comments: She’ll sulk and give back-handed compliments expressing negative feelings. But it’s actually non-direct communication or the silent treatment.
Negative, intangible behaviors: She’ll frequently treat you poorly behind closed doors, so others don’t see or witness what she’s doing.
‘One-up’ behaviors: She doesn’t like you being the focus of attention, so she’ll try to get the advantage over you, by always wanting to be or do better than you are.
My personal definition of female rivalry is,
“One woman minimizing another woman so they both feel small—smaller than they really are. Female rivalry hurts individuals, teams, and organizations.”
I often get asked the question, “I understand why the woman on the receiving end feels small, but why do you say that both women feel small?”
My take is, if you feel bad enough about yourself to initiate such a negativity towards someone, then you most likely don’t feel good about yourself to begin with, because it’s a small person who’s purposely unkind to another.
Rivalry is traditionally the act of competing for the same thing against another person. Female rivalry is MORE than competition. And, it’s happening everywhere. In your work space, your community groups... even on the soccer field with another mom. You name the place and you can be sure that it exists. This type of rivalry does not discriminate, because with rivalry between women, nothing is out of bounds. Most of the time, it’s the elephant in the room. The one we’re afraid to address because we’ll be called ‘over-sensitive,’ we’ll be the bitch.
I say it’s time to be different.
It’s time to talk about what female rivalry is, to know how to break it down one action at a time. It’s time to be more intentional with our words and our leadership. It’s time to build up our self-images, to love ourselves more. Because true power doesn’t come from rivalry. It comes from uplifting, empowering and supporting our sisters, our friends, our daughters and womankind.
The cards are already stacked against us. Why would we be the ones to stack them against ourselves? Let’s be the ones who change the game and the world.
You already are. It’s time TO BE.♥️ (Cover photo credit by Gianna Grace Photography)
P.S. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog out next week about ‘The Queen Bee Complex.’
I say that it’s time to be different. It’s time to talk about what female rivalry is, to know how to break it down one action at a time. _________
⁉️Interested in learning how ‘female rivalry’ impacts the workplace? 🎉DOWNLOAD my FREE .pdf guide, ‘5 Reasons WHY Good Women Walk’ to learn more!