By Guest Blogger Rachel Haggerty, author of the blog Redemption Red: The Haggerty Life
As our daughters have gotten older, I’ve found myself in more conversations about jealousy than I can even count. Being only two years apart, they share a lot of friends. Often times only one is invited to play or have a sleepover, while the other pouts at home.
Honestly, I’ve tried to avoid this just for selfish reasons of having to deal with the sad girl left out, but I’m feeling like it is time to cut the cord here. To let them learn how to handle disappointment, and the feeling of being left out. Because let’s be honest here, as the years progress these two things will be a big part of their lives they cannot control, and it’s my job while they are in my care to prepare them.
Little girls are not born insecure, the insecurity creeps in as they grow and change. It only happens in places they are not stable in Christs love. It happens in places they are unaware of how amazing they really are. How loved they really are. How capable they are.
I’ve decided its time to change their thought process. The way we THINK about others is everything. The way we THINK about ourselves is vital to our happiness.
If I raise confident little girls who know who they are and WHOSE they are, they will turn into strong women who can take a good social hit or two every now and then. Their skin tough and able to bounce back out of the pit of self doubt and feeling wounded.
Many afternoons as they climb into the van after school, I am hit with girl drama stories:
“She was mean to me on the playground.” ” She got to have an extra snack and I didn’t. ”
“This isn’t fair that she gets to have a playdate. ” ” It’s not fair that she gets to go on a vacation.”
The root of most of these conversations is that the girls feel left out, or cheated out of an outing. Every woman that is breathing and reading this has felt left out, misunderstood and even bullied by other women. I know I have, and the experiences I’ve had as an adult are helping me raise my girls. The tears and heartache that turned into redemption and relationships mended are arrows in my hand.
I’ve began after listening to their stories, changing the way I speak about their problems, and showing them there is a healthy way to respond.
Daughter: “It’s not fair she got to go on vacation.”
In this particular case, one of my best friends is a travel agent. She’s worked extremely hard last year and her and her family took a Disney cruise last week. The girls eagerly looked at the pictures, and started talking about how unfair it was that they couldn’t do the same thing.
This is how I responded:
” I know they are having so much fun! Their Momma and Daddy work very hard to provide fun experiences like these. What you do not see in this picture is Amanda waking up at 5 am to help a client. Brian driving hours to buy a ATV, to fix it up and resell it. Working hard at his job. Amanda creating hundreds of travel books, making multiple drives to the Post Office three times a day. Answering phone calls during a family dinner. With fun things like trips and experiences that adults pay for, behind the scenes there are a lot of things to provide for the fun times that are NOT FUN. They are hard work. So now that you know what I’ve just told you, I want you to look at the picture again. How does it make you feel now?”
Daughter: “Good for them. I feel good for them.”
“Good. You should. So next time you feel jealous of a friend I want you to think about how they got there, and the work that was put into making it fun.”
It’s my prayer that these conversations shape them into confident women who can have healthy relationships with other women. Women who are wiser than they are in a certain season. Women they need to mentor. Women who treat them badly. Women who gossip about them. Women who compete with them. Women who love them.
The fact is that for a long time most of the people close to my heart were guy friends. I was deeply insecure in who I was as a woman, constantly comparing my looks to those of other women. Straying away, FAR away from confrontation, competition, and comparison.
Until you are mentally mature enough, it is hard to have a healthy relationship with another woman. Being a woman is a privilege, often squandered away by self hatred and walls we build around our hearts. Deep down we are all in heart protection mode, and this is a direct result of how our friendships will play out.
How you LOOK at a relationship, a confrontation or life experience is how you will react and feel. It starts as a young little girl. It starts on the playground at age 4, feeling left out of playing house. It starts at a middle school dance, the only girl still sitting down without a date.
Those experiences will either destroy your self esteem, OR… you can choose to use them to help you see the positive.
The girl at age 4 not letting you in the game doesn’t have a mother or father at home, she is in foster care, so playing house means everything to her. The girls at the middle school dance are pressured into having sex in 8th grade by boyfriends who are older. You’re on the bench where you are safe.
You do not see these things as you are processing, but later if you choose to, they will come to light.
It is ALL HOW YOU LOOK AT YOUR LIFE!
I want to say this as loud as these keys can say it:
Being a confident woman is very different from being an arrogant woman.
A confident women is not uncomfortable when a friend succeeds. A confident woman takes advice, and seeks wisdom. A confident woman pushes friends to success, and loves them in whatever season. A confident woman CELEBRATES others!
An arrogant woman only gives the advice, doesn’t need it. An arrogant woman is rooted in insecurity and cannot handle a friend being happier than themselves, or succeeding to the new level of life without them. An arrogant woman drags people down to their level.
So I want to ask you, which woman are you right now? Are you looking at the behind the scenes of others successes, or are you a jealous friend?
If that answer is the latter, you can change the way you think today. You can go back to your 4th grade self and see that bully in a different light, but only if you know who YOU are.
Reteach yourself. Retrace your hurt. There is healing in how we think.
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