I was listening to Emily P Freeman's episode with Shauna Niequist and one of Shauna's quotes struck me right in the sternum. Ouch!
Immediate shame washed over me and so I had to check myself.
Shame and I have been working ourselves out this past year or so, and so when She (shame) comes around, all my bells and whistles go off.
Hold up, wait a minute - why did those words sting me like a fresh slap on the cheek?
I think it is because they are TRUE.
As women, we can connect or we can compare, but we cannot do both.
A little louder for the people in the back. WE CAN CONNECT OR WE CAN COMPARE BUT WE CANNOT DO BOTH. These are Shauna's words reiterated and repeated by Emily. I am going to break this down on a practical level, because this is one lesson I hope I never forget.
How do we connect and/or compare ourselves as women? Let me count the ways!
Think of all the women you may encounter on a daily basis and check yourself on whether you have sized them up or stood with them in their journey.
Now consider if you've ever had these thoughts or even verbalized them with another woman ABOUT another woman... (gut punch)
I recently finished the book "What Happened to You?" by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey.
The concept inside the book includes a HUGE mindset shift from thinking "what's wrong with you?" to "what happened to you?". If someone you know or love is acting in ways that are not the norm- displaying anger, depression, anxiety, mood swings, childishness, avoidance, bitterness, negativity, or any emotion we don't "like" - take a deep breath. That person is CLEARLY struggling.
Instead of taking another person's toxic behavior personally, acknowledge that something is going on within that person. They are acting out because something at some time happened to them or is happening now to them.
Now, apply this concept of what happened to you AND the concept of connection instead of comparison and apply it to all those women we listed above:
Ladies, can we see the difference here?
Connection versus comparison???
Shauna is right! We can connect or we can compare but we CANNOT do both.
Giving TOO MUCH grace, not holding boundaries, and "letting people off the hook" are worthy of their own post, but the simple art of connection is still a fantastic place to START. Let us begin with common ground and try to excise the comparison. Comparison really is the thief of joy my friends (thanks Teddy Roosevelt). Let us come together as ONE body of women and humans and recognize what joins us. We all face similar adversities as women, and tearing each other down is killing us as a sisterhood and internally at a soul level.
To all the women in my life, I see you. I know you. I could be you.
Let me recognize YOU and acknowledge YOU before my mind plays games.
Ask any healer anywhere (nurse, therapist, doctor, anyone in the healing arts) and they will agree that at the most basic level, on our most vulnerable days, in our weakest moments, we are ALL the same. At our first breath and our last, we are completely and entirely the same. Comparison be gone.