(by Norka Blackman-Richards / Circle Sister)
It's become the silent emotional killer among women. Women who are downright mean, malicious and disrespectful with each other. This trend is creating havoc in our relationships with each other, for it strikes the core of sisterhood. Real sisterhood can only exist when respect and trust stand unshakeable. In this particular, most men are quite opposite to us.
For a man, a brother is a brother. However, what is most disturbing about our malicious ways is that we are passing on a legacy of a broken sisterhood to our daughters. Girls that are mean and catty are usually this way because their understanding is that this is a normal part of femaleness. They grow up to become mean and catty women who perpetuate a diseased sisterhood. To break this cycle we each need to make a conscious effort to validate all women. Be they our friends or not. Otherwise, we will continue to find ourselves moving within circles of female hostility, suspicion, and pain. Here is my list of the most detestable practices that we need to discontinue in order to heal our sisterhood:
1. Talking about each other - You are really not her friend if what you have to say about her is so bad you can't say it in front of her. If you are a real friend you should be able to tell her your concerns for her life to her face. If you have the need to tell others, but you haven't found the time to tell her - red lights should be flashing. Believe it or not, gossiping is not an intrinsic part of being female. Women who gossip do it not because it's a woman-thing, but because they want to elevate themselves and put other women in a place of inferiority. Gossiping is just another symptom of deeper insecurities.
2. Fighting for men - One of the most undignified things that any wo man can do is to fight, argue, or curse another woman over a man. It's a disgusting trend that used to be a school girl thing, but today adult women are doing it too. If both of you are in conflict - because his choice is not clear - then that means that he's really not into any of you. He's probably playing both of you. That man really does not deserve love or attention from either one of you. Let him go.
3. Joining female gangs - Women who make you feel unwelcome and unwanted within their circle of friends are not to be trusted. Women cliques have become common in the workplace, at church, in the neighborhood. Cliques are the dwelling place of insecure women. Women who join cliques are seeking refuge from their own lack of confidence by cocooning themselves within this circle of supposed exclusivity. Again, the need to belong to, or be part of a clique is also a sign of deeper insecurities. Beware, cliques are usually encouraged and thrive on a type of gang mentality.
4. Undermining each other - Beware of any woman who can never celebrate your accomplishments with you. It could be a new boyfriend, a promotion, an award, a new job, a new acquisition, weight loss. If she has nothing positive to say to you about it, does not show emotional support, or chooses to remain silent she is not a true friend. Real friends know how to recognize and genuinely rejoice for our successes with pride.
5. Competing against each other - You need to get this straight. There will always be another woman with nicer hair, a more caring husband or boyfriend, better behaved children, a better paying job, a bigger house, a more fashionable wardrobe - there will always be some woman with more of what you don't have. Consequently, the only person that you need to compete against is yourself. Strive to be the best that you can be - for you. Competing against other women to prove yourself superior is a financial and emotional drainer. Because of this mindless competition we become mean, envious and hypocritical. It is pointless.
6. Disrespecting boundaries - To survive peacefully every relationship and every friendship must have clear boundaries. Good relationships operate within margins of respect. Within this level of respect, privacy and intimacy are keywords. Yes, you are my friend, but that doesn't give me the right to walk into your bedroom or your kitchen, unbeknownst to you, and help myself to your stuff. I don't do this not because you won't allow me to, but because I respect your privacy and your things. Consequently, we both need to know and respect each other's levels of privacy and intimacy.
7. Crossing boundaries - This is similar to the above; the only difference is that my respect of your boundaries should never depend on my friendship with you. We need to respect women for the simple fact that they are women. If she is a woman she is a sister. Period. Therefore , from that understanding I will have the utmost respect for her children, her man, her opinions, her choices, and for her as a person. It amazes me how women are quick to disrespect another sister's boundaries, but feel offended if another woman does to them the same exact thing. Honestly, that type of inconsistent behavior can only be credited to some form of mental illness.
8. Exploiting our friendships - This is a major one. Why are you friends? Do you only remember her being around whenever she could get something from you? It doesn't even have to be material. It could just be your time or your positive energy. Does she happen to be always on the receiving side, with you dishing out ton loads of yourself or your stuff? Or is she your friend because of what you represent? It could be that your husband's position or yours, your possessions, your talent, whatever, represents some form of achievement. Is she a friend because that link to you places her on a higher platform? In a real friendship appreciat ion, support, and loyalty must be reciprocal.
I want to thank all of the contestants in the Miss Pelahatchie Pageant who had their portraits taken with me Saturday night. You all looked beautiful and should have your pictures in about two weeks.