We, as females, have an impeccable ability to leave someone in shambles using a well-timed glare and a few nasty words. We fight dirty, just like the boys, but the evidence of our fights usually isn’t displayed in bloody knuckles and black eyes. We use words that cut through self-esteem like a knife, leaving our victims with deep wounds. Causing hurts that can’t be healed with ice packs and band-aids.
Growing up, my mom always reminded me that “mean girls” were only mean because they were insecure. They only gossiped about girls they felt threatened by or inferior to. And while I simply accepted this principle as fact for years-because my mom told me it was so and I trusted her- eventually I started to question if that was really true.
Sometimes, there were girls I encountered that I just didn’t like. For whatever reason, we had major personality conflicts, and there would be a mutual distaste for one another. And when that happens in girl-world, the first thing you do is go talk to your friends about how much you don’t like “that girl.”
You point out of all the things you find unsatisfactory about her, and discuss all of the many reasons you are valid in your dislike of her. You say things you would be horrified to have repeated to her. All because you just don’t like her.
But when I realized I was doing the very thing my mom always told me girls only did because they were jealous or insecure, I was suddenly really confused.
“I’m not jealous of her, I just don’t like her! You can dislike someone without being jealous. The two things have nothing in common, Mom.”
Was I jealous? I didn’t think so. I never looked at her and had conscious thoughts of jealousy. Was I insecure? That didn’t seem right either. I didn’t feel insecure or unhappy with myself.
So what, then? Can the motivation to gossip, cut down, and act as a “mean girl” come from something besides jealousy or insecurity?
For a long time, I reasoned that it could. It had to. Because, I was tempted to gossip, cut down, and be a “mean girl” sometimes, but I was neither insecure nor jealous. I just did. Not. Like. Her. Geez, Mom!
But, once again, the wisdom of a mother rang true.
The time I’ve spent in Nashville over the past 3 years, has been some of the happiest days of my life so far. I’ve gotten to discover more about who I am and what makes me tick. I’ve experienced new life and new passions. I’ve learned to have the courage and independence to pursue what makes me happy and to walk away from the things that don’t. I’ve been taught how to love and accept myself, instead of looking for that acceptance in other people.
And slowly, the tendency to point out negative things about others or gossip about all of the things I don’t like about someone has dwindled.
I’ve found how true it is, that the more you love and accept yourself, the less you feel the need to worry about what everyone else is doing. When you’re busy loving your own life, you don’t have the desire to see what everyone else is doing with their’s. You’re too busy enjoying yours!
Coincidentally, the more you love yourself, the less you’re worried about what other people are saying about you as well.
If getting your nails done every week makes you feel more put-together, then make an appointment and treat yourself. But don’t talk about how disgraceful it is that “her” nails are never taken care of.
If spending hours in the gym gives you more confidence in yourself, then hit the weights and put in work proudly. But stop pointing out how so-and-so has gained weight or could use some toning-up.
If eating a candy bar is the only thing that calms your nerves after a long day, then indulge. But stop calling the girl who sticks to a strict way of healthy eating “crazy” or “too obsessive.”
If you would rather chase a career than choose to be a stay-at-home mom, then do what you feel is best for your family. But don’t call another mom lazy because she chose to stay home with her children.
If you hate when people dye their hair unnatural colors, then don’t dye your hair. But stop giving condescending looks to the girl who went with a flourescent orange.
What works for you, does just that- it works for YOU. And the beauty of life is that we can all make our own choices.
Do whatever it is you need to do for yourself, and let everyone else do what they need to do. Just because it’s your way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way.
If you’re working as hard as you can to get your grass green, you won’t notice how green anyone else’s is. And when you put in the work on your own grass, you’ll have a field of green you’re proud of. You don’t need anyone else to notice how green your grass is, you love it because it’s yours and you’ve worked for it.
Tend your own garden. Create your own happiness. Take care of your own affairs.
And as Kacey Musgraves says, “Mind your biscuits, and life will be gravy.”