Updated: Jan 8, 2019
In the past few weeks, I have come across this statement a few times when I mentioned our Women's Network to other ladies.
Some women have reservations to join our network because they have not found other women to be kind or helpful in the corporate environment. I can relate to this. I have had my fair share of negative experiences in the corporate world. But not only there, also in general. I have seen women putting each other down, envying each other, and making each other feel unworthy or ugly.
I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways.
Let's be honest, we all experience feelings of jealousy and envy sometimes. Comparison is a natural human experience. "You know those people who have more than you —money, acclaim, looks, whatever? The spike of envy they trigger is natural, and social media is primed to amp it up" says Psychology Today.
What makes the difference is how we act on these feelings. The more aware we are that our negative reactions towards others originates in a feeling like jealousy or envy, the more likely we are to try harder to reach what we desire instead of getting stuck in the idea of unsurmountable differences.
I remember vividly how I was envious of my dance partner Gabriela because she never had any stage fright while I was almost unable to dance let alone enjoy the moment when I had an audience. When I realized that my envy got in the way of me progressing and enjoying my passion, I asked her openly how she is able to be so relaxed on stage and I told her that I wanted to learn from her. She then told me that she also wanted to learn from me and this was the beginning of our decade-long collaboration as dance teachers and performers. This kind of talk takes courage because it makes you vulnerable. It is important to understand though that you do not depend on the other person's reaction. Expressing a "weakness" so frankly to someone else sends an incredibly strong message to your sub-conscious or ego. It says loud and clear: "I see my limitations but I am ready to surmount them."
Psychology Today states that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel that they don't stack up. We all have the opportunity though to work on our self-esteem by becoming conscious of what we are feeling and why.
Nowadays, I use my feelings of envy and jealousy as an indicator of what I really want.
I sometimes have the hardest time figuring out what I really want so when I feel a little sting of envy in my heart, I am usually super excited about the clarity of the message.
And finally, here are some good news that you do not have to work hard for: a 2015 study from the Universities of Essex and Cambridge showed that the tendency to engage in comparison declines across the lifespan. Since, as we age, we're more likely to evaluate ourselves against our own past rather than the present state of others.
Let's be kinder to ourselves and others, or at least try :)