This is part 2 of an article on the “5 Sisterhood Wounds and their Antidotes.” You can find part 1 here.
I was left out.
All we want is to belong. To fit in. To know that we are not alone. So it becomes devastating when we feel left out, excluded or ostracized.
We don’t get invited to a party and we wonder if we did something wrong. We see friends getting together for dinner on Facebook and we feel jealous and left out. It’s hard to not take it personally.
It can feel like a popularity contest, or like high school. Trying to get in with the cool crowd. Trying to keep up with the social engagements.
We either try harder to make sure we are included in everything. Or we disconnect and sit in judgment.
At the root of this problem is the primal instinct we all have to be part of the tribe for our safety. It brings up in us this primal fear of being tossed out to the wolves, unprotected by the tribe in the wilderness. We could starve to death without the tribe’s support.
Understanding that, there is a part of us that feels like we need others’ approval and we need to be liked in order to feel safe and secure within ourselves. But the truth is, we need to find that sense of self-worth and safety within ourselves first.
On the other hand, sisterhood is not a clique or a sorority where you have to prove yourself to get in. The real and authentic sisterhood is inclusive of all women. While not everyone has to be invited to all things all the time, we can open the doors to one another and not be in a popularity contest with one another.
The Antidote: acceptance. It starts from within: accepting yourself as enough without needing approval or to be liked. Then that acceptance starts to grow outward to accepting others.
Over a man.
Over a friend.
Over a position.
Competition with one another has caused the biggest wound that is hardest to heal. Trying to get the same man, competing for attention amongst friends, or fighting for the same client or job. The competition is endless. It’s been ingrained in us that resources are limited, you don’t want to miss out and you don’t want to be left behind so fight for what you want before someone else takes it.
This wound is prevalent amongst women, even those who are creating circles and sisterhood. The ego has you want to make sure that you get the credit because no one else can do it as good as you can and it’s simply not going to get done if you don’t do it.
Because we didn’t want to be in competition with our friends when we were little girls, we would dim our light, afraid of outshining each other because that might have us lose a friend or be cast out from the group. Either way, we would lose.
The Antidote: collaboration and partnership. Recently, two women came on board the Sistership Circle team because neither one of them wanted to do it alone or be in competition. We saw that we are stronger working together, focusing on each of our strengths. When we get that we each have something to contribute, we can boost each other up to make a bigger impact collectively. Partnership happens when we focus on each woman shining so that together we shine brighter.
We all know the story of the popular clique in high school girls that all the other girls envy and hate at the same time. Those girls will backstab each other at any given moment and will do anything to stay in the club, even though they may not even like each other. At any moment, they will show their teeth and claws against one another like cats.
That’s what cattiness is: cat fights, being spiteful or intentionally mean. Like that movie Mean Girls with Lindsay Lohan.
This is what keeps most women terrified of being part of a group of women. The fear of what seems like real authentic connection being a downright lie as you find out that these women were talking behind your back or casting you out because you wore the wrong thing. The superficial, artificial sisterhood where women pretend to like each other, but secretly put each other down when someone isn’t around.
You simply can’t be yourself when you are afraid of being judged or put down. And you sure aren’t confident in sharing anything good about your life in fear of making the other women jealous.
The Antidote: celebrating one another. The only way we can celebrate one another and truly be happy for one another’s success is when we don’t see each other as a threat or compare ourselves and feel insecure. When we can see that one woman’s success in our circle is actually our success too, we can transform and gain confidence that “if she can do it, I can too.”
Deep down this is what we want: to be celebrated, loved and accepted as ourselves. To be real, authentic and vulnerable and still be safe in sisterhood. What it takes is to be willing to open our hearts to one another. With that willingness, we can heal. We can transform. We can create true sisterhood on the planet.