This is 31 Conversations From the Front Porch Day 7… you can find the rest of the series here.
This summer I discovered the writings of researcher Brenè Brown. Her words are meeting me right where I am in my life. She researches and writes about shame, vulnerability, and living wholeheartedly. In her book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” she writes about how hard women are on other women,
“…Women can…be very hard on other women. We are hard on others because we’re hard on ourselves. That’s exactly how judgment works. Finding someone to put down, judge, or criticize becomes a way to get out of the web or call attention away from our box. If you’re doing worse than I am at something, I think, my chances of surviving are better…. We are so desperate to get out and stay out of shame that we’re constantly serving up the people around us as more deserving prey.” (Brene Brown, Daring Greatly)
Women can be so judgmental and downright bitchy towards each other. There are whole relationships and lives that have been built around this need to throw others under the bus – one woman is always out – just so that the rest of the group can walk around feeling better about themselves.
Secure women do not need to do this stuff:
- Women who are secure with their bodies…
- Women who are secure in their marriages…
- Women who are secure in their relationships with their kids…
- Women who are secure in the choices they have made or who have at least come to terms with their regrets…
- Women who are content in their work.
- Women with a healthy, wholehearted view of themselves have no need or desire to nitpick, judge, or BE BETTER than other women.
Secure women simply do not care and have no need to nitpick at the details of the women around them.
Grateful people who have dealt with their own shame have no desire or need to deal up shame into other people’s lives.
They are quite content minding their own bowls (that bowl conversation is coming).
That is what I have witnessed in the mature women I know – women secure in their lives and who they are do not need to smear other women.
Healthy women actually have a stronger desire to help other women up out of their shame… not smearing her face further into her muck and mess.
So I wonder how we can recognize these patterns in ourselves and then work to be different so that we are choosing genuine health over counterfeit contentment built upon the women we have trampled and judged and stripped raw trying to make ourselves feel better.
How can I do better so that my daughters witness me helping other women up instead of trampling them down & standing on their bloody carcasses?
Questions & Thoughts to Consider From the Front Porch
“What’s ironic (or perhaps natural) is that research tells us that we judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing. If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived shaming deficiency. It’s hurtful and ineffective and if you look at the mean-girl culture in middle schools and high schools, it’s also contagious. We’ve handed this counterfeit survival mechanism down to our children.” (Brene Brown)
Thoughts: The porch is not immune to these types of behaviors. It can be the perfect breeding ground for judgment and contempt. We can walk away from the porch feeling better about ourselves…. while a whole pile of women’s hearts and lives lay piled bloody and judged at our feet.
These are the conversations that can happen on the porch.
It is easy, but a completely fraudulent way to feel better about yourself – throwing a woman’s hair, weight, children, marriage, life, and walk under the bus.
It takes intentionally choosing to bring the conversation back around to what is “true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Phil 4:8)
It isn’t easy especially when past patterns have been otherwise. And if you are the one to start choosing differently – be prepared to be trampled and bloodied by the women who are now resenting your security.
- Do you notice any of these patterns in your own life?
- Name three women/people you find yourself picking at the most.
- What about them bothers you?
- How does their hair, weight, clothes, home, marriage or children – make you feel about yours?
- Do you feel secure in your body? In your house? In your marriage? In your parenting or relationship with your kids/grandkids?
- What are some steps you can take to be OK with yourself?
- What are some truths you can begin to tell yourself about your story?
- How can you start owning where you have been, where you are, and where you are going?
- Do you need to apologize to women you have harmed with your judging? What should that conversation include?
- How can you begin to stop the toxic cycles of throwing other people under the bus simply so that you feel better about you?
- How can you begin to stop the toxicity that forms when you are with the women who help you to judge and nitpick other women? How can your circle of women be healthier towards those outside the group/family?
My prayers are with you as you dive deep into the muck today… ♥
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