I go through the same struggles as everybody else; personal battles of love, life, loss, and lessons… Heartbreaks and disappointments that the average female faces at least once or twice (or 122,039,482 times). During these difficult times, I realize I’m not alone. We, as women, tend to flock together when our moods are down. We are magnets to each other’s suffering; like vultures, we smell the bleeding heart, and our female instincts kick in to do what we do best. We talk.
We also judge, predict, strongly encourage, gossip, criticize, build up, tear down, do the hokey pokey, and turn each other about…all in the name of care and concern. I’m guilty of it myself.
If you are blessed enough to have sweet, kind, and encouraging girlfriends who support you unconditionally, that is a priceless gift. There may be some days when we just need to hear how great and wonderful we are from our friends and family. However, there are times when this could be the worst thing for us.
If you are blessed enough to have sweet, kind, and encouraging girlfriends who support you unconditionally, that is a priceless gift.
Consider this example with me: if I am heartbroken over a man, (I know, not exactly the most original plotline, but please, follow along for a moment) and my girlfriends flock to give me support, advice, encouragement, and a million pounds of chocolate.
In the midst of their beautiful intentions, I hear things such as:
- There’s nothing wrong with you.
- He is a jerk.
- You deserve someone better.
- He needs to change.
- You need to put your foot down.
- You are totally in the right.
- You have every right to feel/act that way.
- He needs to be doing more.
On and on the list could go of phrases that are not always bad advice, but could be dangerous for a healthy relationship. If all I ever hear from those I that I love, trust, and keep closest in my life are words and sentiments that ignore the truth and heart of the struggles I face, then how can I ever expect to grow and develop as a person?
Are my friends enabling me to avoid my own character flaws by only pointing out those in my partner?
We don’t keep a baby breastfeeding on milk forever; we don’t let them sit in their dirty diapers. We raise them. We help them change; we teach them to mature, to adapt, and to face challenges—hopefully with integrity, passion, compassion, and discipline.
But similar to parenting, sometimes we resist the opportunity to receive personal training. We know better, but just “don’t wanna.” Maybe because we’re scared, maybe because we’re insecure, maybe because we’re stubborn, maybe because we don’t want to hear constructive criticism from other women.
Wouldn’t we all be better off speaking to each to each other in ways that encouraged better behavior without assuming it was an attack? We, as women, can get awfully snippy and defensive when we feel like we’re not being pampered, given enough attention, or receiving enough praise. We justify our (probably poor) attitude because we are so accustomed to protecting ourselves in front of other people. We’re terrified of looking weak. We defend our actions and thought process, and we become too obstinate to admit we have some work to do too.
Sometimes we resist the opportunity to receive personal training. We know better, but just “don’t wanna.” Maybe because we’re scared, we’re insecure, we’re stubborn, or we don’t want to hear constructive criticism from other women.
Truthfully, how can I expect any relationship to be strong if I hope for better behavior from my partner, and yet, deny my own imperfections and avoid responsibility?
“Sorry dude, my friend said I was good enough. I guess it must be entirely your fault.”
Magic 8-Ball moment: we don’t get to keep shaking until we get the answer we want to read. It may be time to chin it up, buckle up, and get to work on ourselves.
Real friends are the ones who can empathize with the pain and frustration we feel, but inspire and ignite a passion within us to become a better version of ourselves. Real friends are the ones who tell us to quit our complaining, pull on our big girl panties, and realize that a lot of people out there have it a lot worse than we do. Real friends remind us that our growth and our journey are important and that any challenge can be conquered with a little faith, a little love, a little grit, a lot of grace, and a million pounds of chocolate.
If all I ever hear from those I that I love, trust, and keep closest in my life are words and sentiments that ignore the truth and heart of the struggles I face, then how can I ever expect to grow and develop as a person?
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