Why I'm Not Competing with Any Other Blogger, Girl, or Woman

Monday, July 21, 2014

I hate being competitive.

I think I secretly am. I see someone who's doing a great job or who looks cute that day and think, "Man, she has it so together - I wish I could look like that/have pictures that amazing on my blog/get an internship like that, etc."

But I actually don't like purposefully doing it. I'm a journalism major and the students in my department are extremely competitive. And, I understand that. You have to be cutting edge in today's society, always be on top of things, know the newest and best things about your field, push your abilities and your skills in a highly marketable way.

But I don't like it. I don't like the mental process behind it - the one that says I have to do what it takes to be the absolute best, to stand out so much that I'm okay pushing others aside in order to get the opportunities I want. 

Now, I'm not saying everyone in college - much less my department is like that. But sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes I feel myself getting overwhelmed and thinking I need to be just as amazing as this blogger or that, that I need to have my life together like this girl or nab an amazing internship like this one. Or end up with the amazing, high paying job in a great city like this woman. I need to do what I need to do to be just as good, if not better.

But you know what? I'm tired of it. That is not - and never has been - who I am.

Because Life is not a competition. And I'll be darned if I go through it acting like it is. If I do that, not only will I only exhaust and discourage myself.... but I will become resentful towards other women + girls who are successful and wonderful.

Because guess what?

via // inspiration board 

I once read this great quote by Jennifer Laurence about female scrutiny + body image. It was so powerful, I was struck at once by the truth in what she said: 

"I think girls are just so mean to each other. 
We're just so unsupportive...and judging them. 
Why are we doing this to each other?"

And it's so true - what she said. We go around constantly comparing ourselves...we've all had that moment where we eye a girl in line in front of us or frown while reading a blog post.

That girl in line might be wearing a cute dress that skims perfectly over her flat abdomen, or look adorable in the high quality, almost-magazine shots on her fashion blog post. Or maybe she has over thirty comments on a recent post. Maybe your friend is studying abroad and living the dream you've always had. Maybe a co-worker is confident and capable and got promoted. Maybe this girl is athletic and has no problem staying fit or talking easily with boys. Maybe this girl has amazing cheekbones and can pull off a pixie hair cut that you know would only make you look bad. Maybe this girl has been accepted to a great college or maybe she got her license before you did. Maybe this girl seems to be receiving endless opportunities. 

SO WHAT?

Comparison is such an ugly game...we've heard it said a thousand times before how unhealthy it is and how we're each amazing in our own way. 

But how often do we hear that we need to root for each other? Women still, unfortunately, have it harder than men. We still battle prejudice and sexism: we're statistically paid less in the workforce, still seen as the weaker + softer gender, still put up with insults directed towards males like "you hit like a girl" and so on. 

My point is that the world can be harsh and critical, so why aren't we sticking up for our own? Why are some of the harshest celebrity gossip columns and "Worse Dressed" lists and derogatory Buzzfeed articles and nasty blog comments written by women? 

Instead of dragging each other down because our insecurities and self-doubt, we should support each other as sisters, as women, as friends. Because we're all in the same boat. We're all just trying to figure out life, find happiness, and become a great woman. So why don't we help each other? 

Because some of the most uplifting support and encouragement I have ever received has been from other girls and women. Because they understand. Because deep down, we all have the same desires and dreams and goals - they're only manifested in different ways for each of us. 

I've certainly been more than guilty of hating on my own sex. Of thinking judgmental thoughts of girls who are prettier, more successful, etc. Of thinking, "Why can't I be like that?"

Well, guess what? I can't be like that. Like them. I can only be the best me. 

So I'm not going to compete with anyone else. I can't walk anyone else's path to success and happiness. I can only walk mine, which looks completely different from everyone's. That doesn't mean it's a given that I'll never compare myself though - I am human and will have those thoughts no matter what. But it does mean I will try my hardest to fight again the subconscious message our society sends us about ourselves and remind myself that life is not a competition. 

So when I say I don't like to compete, I really, truthfully, sincerely mean it. 

I want us all to make it. Not just me. 

_________________________

I normally don't make this request but I feel so strongly about the message of women + girls SUPPORTING each other, I would love and be so grateful if you shared this with others on social media. Let's stop being competitive and start rooting for each other as a community, as a sisterhood!

16 comments:

  1. I like this. As in, really, really like. ♥

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  2. This is great, Grace- so important and so well-put. <3
    Just food for thought, though: women are paid less on the whole, but women are also less likely to undertake more dangerous jobs, and I've also heard- and kind of seen in real life- that we're far, far more likely to work from home/give up career in favour of family, which is great and noble. :) Not to say, of course, that we can't pursue a career if He calls us to it as an avocation! Goodness knows that we do need to see more authentic womanhood in the workplace. :P
    Also, about 'like a girl' (sorry for the long and drawn-out nature of this comment), but I really liked this video on the subject:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs

    It's true- why can't running 'like a girl' also mean winning the race?
    God bless you, my dear, and again, it was a very inspiring and truthful post.

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Grace.

      I really appreciate your opinion...in response to your very valid point, I don't think I articulately the workforce part in my post properly. What I actually meant is that women can sometimes not be supportive of each other REGARDLESS of whether there's a career involved. It can be anything from "Wow, she's already married" or "Oh, she's expecting and I've been married two years but haven't gotten pregnant yet" or even wishing to be as good a home-maker/wife/mom/entrepreneur as this or that woman.

      I wasn't so much talking about the idea of "Oh, I should have an amazing career" but more along the lines of that whatever each woman does, we should try to support and encourage individual choices and realize we're all called to different paths, professions, and vocations.

      Hope that makes it clearer - and yes, I've seen the "Like a Girl" video. It's so good! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  3. Grace this is so true! When we try to be a cookie cutter image of another woman we miss out on the greatest opportunity that we have, and that is becoming that person that we are called to be. What a great lose it would be if instead of us making our mark on the world we were trying to make someone else mark!? Just think if Mother Teresa instead of serving the poorest of the poor she was trying to do some grand thing that someone else was suppose to do? What a great void there would be in our world today if it wasn't for her understanding her OWN calling!

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    1. Love your comment and what you said about Mother Teresa! So very true that we all need to understand our own calling. :)

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  4. You are so right. Let's be the support for each other, as Christians and as women. Keep up the lovely work.

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    1. Yes! Support all the way! Thanks, Samantha. :)

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  5. Amen my dear friend, amen. Thank you for sharing and for reminding us that everything is not competition. I know how easy it is to get caught up in it. Comparison really is the thief of joy.

    All the best,

    Caitlin.

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    1. Thank you, my beautiful Caitlin. Love + support you! ♥

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  6. Great post, I agree that it is better to support each other than to compete :) I love your blog and I have followed you with Bloglovin and GFC, if you ever get a chance to check out my blog I would be delighted thanks!

    Camille xo.

    www.cococami.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much, Camille! I'd love to check out your blog!

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  7. This is such a lovely post! It is very well said. <3
    Joined your blog and followed you on bloglovin! Hope you can check out mine and do the same. :)

    Sammie
    sammiethestargirl.blogspot.com

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