Ladies, it’s time to have a serious chat. For generations we’ve been trained to consider each other as competition. To judge one another for our individual shortcomings as equally and harshly as our individual successes. To see each other as threats instead of opportunities; enemies instead of friends. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I realized that my instinct to judge wasn’t a decision I was knowingly making, but one that had been imprinted on me year after year ever since I was just a kid on the playground. It was then I told myself I was going to change the way I think, react and judge others (especially fabulous women) because in the grand scheme of things: Ladies, we’re all on the same team. Let me explain.
Do you remember the first time you looked at someone and judged them before you even met them?
Probably not. But do you remember the last time you did it? Was it yesterday at the grocery store or this morning at the office? Chances are, if you’re honest with yourself, you can remember. I ask this question because it’s important to reflect and realize the negativity we unintentionally fuel into our everyday lives. These instincts to judge, criticize and avoid are what hold us back from so many opportunities for friendship, professional growth and most importantly, self-awareness. When we’re aware of our behaviors, even the ones we don’t necessarily like about ourselves, that’s when we can really start to work towards change.
When I had my “ah ha!” moment I think what surprised me the most is I was judging other women for things they had that I didn’t. Whether it was a promotion at work (“Oh, like she actually deserves that.”), a new car (“Must be nice to still be on daddy’s credit card.”) or something as superficial as a designer bag (“It’s probably fake.”) – Why was it my instinct to assume these women didn’t actually earn their accomplishments but rather must have schemed their way to success? If it was a man in these situations my reactions probably would have been, “Oh, he works so hard” or “I love when a man invests in his style.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? All this time I’ve been complaining about a sexist world where it’s impossible to get ahead and all the while I was part of the problem! Ladies, we’re all on the same team.
This epiphany within myself was like a grand awakening. My blurred vision was suddenly clear, my priorities in order. I was judging these women not because of what they had accomplished, but because I was identifying their success as a personal lack thereof. Which is just ludicrous. How can I possibly be on the same level of every other woman out there and better yet, why was I judging women for their accomplishments rather than seeing them as aspirational bad asses I should be learning from?
A wise meme once said, “We’re all doing big things, just taking different size steps.”
I’ll admit that it wasn’t too long ago that I considered shutting things down here at Happily Audrey. The blogging community is a tricky one and the constant pressure to be “on” wasn’t what I set out to do with this side hustle of mine. I love writing, photography, connecting and creating – this is supposed to be my happy place. But I’d converted back to some old habits. I would spend time scrolling Instagram, loathing the new algorithm and how it’s completely changed my relationship with the app (Remember when Instagram used to be fun?); seeing all of the amazing women I follow doing amazing things, looking fabulous and living it up. While I wasn’t necessarily judging them, I was comparing myself to them. Only seeing what they have as what I didn’t, forgetting what I’d spent the last few years training myself not to do. I needed to wake up and I did.
I, like you, am awesome. Like, so so awesome. And because we’re both awesome, don’t you think we could be even better if we worked together?
I may not have reached my goals yet but if I’m honest, I don’t know if I ever will; they’re constantly changing. I do know one thing though, I’m more inspired to work towards my goals when I include other women into my journey. Last week I went to my second NYFW, a place that is stereotypically catty and judgmental. I’m still a newbie in this scene but instead of going in doubtful or shy, I went in confident and friendly. I made some really amazing new friends who are all working towards their own ambitious ideas of success and guess what? We’re all so unique and so equally awesome. We all have different goals, different ideas and different ways of getting where we’re going but somehow, we all got along beautifully. We shared, we collaborated, we shined.
(Vanessa, Hollyn, Liza, Amanda, Allison, Sevyn, Olivia, Jordan, Joy, Lexi, Meghan, and Leah: You are all beautiful and inspirational women. Thanks to you, this was one of my most memorable trips to the city. Attending NYFW was just a bonus for all of the time we spent together and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for each and every one of you.)
If you find yourself judging women instead of embracing them, I challenge you to challenge yourself to think differently. Acknowledge it when it happens and ask yourself why your instinct was to judge and what you can do to change. The relationships and opportunities that have opened up to me since I became self aware of this destructive instinct are irreplaceable. I’m more centered, open to others and excited for every chance to try something new. I only wish I had this realization sooner because in the grand scheme of things:
Ladies, we’re all on the same team.