Women, can we talk for a minute? It’s March 8 and it seems like a good day to chat about breaking a habit that does harm to so many of us… it’s found in the simple phrase:
“I’m not like other women, I don’t do that.”
Whatever that is, I’ve found myself being guilty of saying this too often. Of that, I’m ashamed. It’s a common phrase among a lot of women and honestly, it needs to die. It’s International Women’s Day today and it’s a day in which the world lifts women up and declares “they are worthy. They are strong. They matter.” and yet, in too many of our everyday interactions we do the exact opposite to one another.
We need to stop.
We spend so much time comparing ourselves to one another with the result at the end being that we hate ourselves or we hate other women, but what if… what if we could change our focus from what we’re not, to what we are? What if we could celebrate what it is we are – as women, as people, as sisters and friends and wives and mothers and whatever else we call ourselves? Think about it.
Think about the new mother who is struggling with breastfeeding and posts in a mother’s Facebook group about it. She finds herself being sent a million messages about who she is because she’s struggling, and she already thinks she’s failing… but think about the freedom she would feel when someone tells her that she needs to do what is right for her, and for her child, and that she has no need to feel ashamed for struggling. It’s okay. She’s still a good mum. She’s a great mum for nurturing her little one.
Think about the woman who has chosen to stay single to focus on her career, sitting at a family dinner, being asked when she’ll find a man. She loves her career and it gives her a sense of purpose. She loves her friends that she meets up with week by week and has deep relationships with them. She wonders sometimes, though, if she’ll ever be accepted by those women in her family if she doesn’t find a partner. Maybe, she thinks, she is broken for not having that desire to find ‘the one’.
Think about the woman who makes and sells beautiful candles on Etsy because her mental health benefits so much from having a creative outlet, and space to take care of her self between tasks. She feels like she has to make an excuse when she tells people what she does. Really, she’s just doing what is best for herself and her wellbeing – and her husband adores her passion for her craft. Still, she’s not sure if her job is even ‘real’ or worthy.
Imagine if we all spoke up against those voices that declare that we’re different, and that’s bad – or that’s good and other women are less than us. Let’s silence those voices and instead praise those unique parts of other women. Let’s praise what each single person brings, what each voice says, and that every single person matters. As women, let’s not compare… let’s praise. Let’s encourage.
Then perhaps, that nasty phrase “I’m not like other women” will be silenced and instead, we’ll remember the value in each and every woman and draw that out in conversation.