“You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building each other up instead of tearing each other down.”
This is a favorite quote of mine. It reminds me that even when things are busy or someone causes me to feel frustrated, I still need to think about the bigger picture. How can I be intentional about this in my own day-to-day life?
When I think about my relationships with other women, I have a mixed bag of experiences (I’m sure you do, too). I can think of wonderful women who cared for me, taught me, guided me, had patience with me, and helped me become who I am. Sadly, I can also think of women who were unkind, snippy, passive aggressive, and just mean to me and who made me feel about 2 inches tall. Each of us have memories on both sides – some of amazing women in our lives, and some memories of hurt and pain caused by other women.
Negative Relationships With Women
There are some common negative behaviors we’ve all experienced with other women (or that we ourselves have engaged in):
Feeling a sense of competition with other women.
Being passive aggressive – it can come so naturally, and it’s so easy to do when we’re frustrated with someone else!
Judging others - women can be very judgmental of other women: about clothing choices, dating patterns, social media posts, and the list goes on!
Misunderstanding and miscommunication can lead to a lot of conflict.
Easily taking offense
Comparing ourselves to others and feeling bad if we don’t have what they have.
Gossiping – something about it feels satisfying, and yet, it can also feel uncomfortable to wonder if others might talk about us in those ways.
Reading this list over – would you want to spend time with women who do these kinds of things? Of course not, and yet, we put up with it and we might even engage in it!
It’s awful to think we can do this to each other. It is hard to understand why, when so many of us have experienced being wounded by other women, we could continue to hurt others ourselves. I don’t have a great answer for that other than a common saying, “hurt people hurt people.” It doesn’t make it okay, but to know this can give us some perspective.
People who have experienced a lot of pain and haven’t healed from it often will take it out on others. Additionally, many people don’t want to think about the fact that they’ve been hurt and often are actively ignoring pain in their life – and therefore have stifled the process of healing.
What Does This Have To Do With Women Supporting Women?
Well, we can’t do anything to make someone choose healing. We can’t make them see that they need to grow or change their behavior, or that their actions are actually hurting themselves and others. What we can do is choose how we grow and heal, and how we treat others. And, when we choose this, we can pour kindness and compassion out to others. We can offer them empathy and care.
When women are in a healthy place, they are able to treat each other well. If someone feels more secure in themselves and in their own purpose, they are more able to be generous to others. By this, I mean, generous in kindness and care. Women like this have grown in wisdom and (hopefully) found healing from any hurt in their lives. They’ve made mistakes and learned from them. They are open about things they’re working on and the fact that they are not perfect.
Faith Equals Growth And Healing In Women
Faith can also be integral to growth and healing. It can add to a sense of security and contentment. I’m reassured daily by God’s promise of His love and care for me and others. And I can remember many times when he had provided in incredible ways (both big and small). I feel known and valued. With this reassurance I feel more able to deal with anything negative that comes my way. I don’t mean to say that I always deal with things perfectly (I wish!), but that sense of assurance is right there when I need it. God promises he is with us, always.
In order to be a woman who builds up other women, we each must focus on our own healing and growth. By doing that we will also be more able to encourage others in their development. As we grow, we (hopefully) learn more about caring for ourselves, having standards and boundaries, communicating better, and we will be able to acknowledge and feel value in ourselves.
All of the negative behaviors I listed above can be changed and lessened by our personal growth.
If more women choose to find ways to become healthier in themselves and in their relationships, we will be more able to be supportive of others. It will feel better to cheer people on. We will have better communication and less frustration. We will be able to believe the best of others rather than thinking they’re out to get us. We will have standards and boundaries and by not allowing people to cross them we will have more energy and flexibility, and less stress! When we are focusing on building up our own lives, we won’t be so concerned about others and what they have, because we’re focused on finding our contentment.
Behaviors Of Healthy Women
Here is a hopeful and inspiring list of things that healthy women do for and with other women:
Genuinely wanting to know other women, asking good questions.
Being willing to be open and vulnerable about our own messed up “stuff”
Holding boundaries well – knowing what you want/don’t want, and communicating them effectively, and then being consistent with our boundaries.
Willing to forgive and also to ask for forgiveness.
Teaching AND learning from others.
Resolving conflict well - Not avoiding it!
Not being in a rush – giving time for understanding and growth.
I hope this has inspired you as you consider how to support other women. I also encourage you to take time to invest in yourself and your healing and growth! You are someone with incredible value and gifts. With those gifts you can not only build yourself up but others, too.
“…walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” Ephesians 5:2
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Begin Working With A Therapist in Marietta, GA
If you are going through a hard time and are in need of counseling, please consider reaching out to a qualified therapist. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to offer support with in-person and online services from our Marietta, GA-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
Reach out to talk to a Marietta therapist
Have your first appointment at Remain Connected.
Learn how to care for other women in your life.
Other Services Offered at Remain Connected Counseling
Our team knows you may experience more relationship issues. This is why we are happy to offer a variety of services including teen therapy, anxiety treatment, and EMDR therapy. In addition, we also offer life transitions therapy and depression counseling, and more all under a Christian counseling lens. By using online therapy, these services are available to anyone in Georgia. Learn more about our team of dedicated therapists and contact us for more information.