Have you ever seen that movie “Mean Girls”? You know the one where there is this popular clique at school, who loved torturing anyone who didn’t fit into their group.
Well, I have come to realize that it goes on way past high school. Not that we deliberately set out to ridicule or hurt each other. It’s that as people, especially as women, we judge each other based on our versions of perfection.
We tend to “should” on each other a lot.
Working moms think that stay at home moms should do more to help their family’s finances.
Stay at home moms think that working moms should be with their families instead of promoting their own careers.
Women with no children or one child think that women with multiple children should stop making babies.
Women with multiple children think that women with one child or no children should have more.
Married women think single women are out to get their husband. (Single women think married women should take a better look at their husband… joking… sort of.)
Married women think single women have it good.
Single women think married women have it good.
Or… the opposite.
We judge each other based on weight, age, religion, financial status, marital status, political leanings, whether or not we have tattoos, how we drive, how clean we keep our house, the list goes on and on.
Why do we spend so much time criticizing each other for just doing our best? Why do we feel so intimidated by someone who is different than we are? Didn’t we all come to this earth from the same source? Don’t we all want the best for our families?
Sometimes as families we are the hardest on each other. We “expect” a certain behavior from our family. We expect that if someone loves us they should understand us, do things the way we do, forgive us, love us unconditionally, be there when we need them.
Sometimes those things just don’t happen. So how do we remain loving and non-judgmental when the other party doesn’t meet our expectations?
I read a book many years ago when my children were just babies. It was written by a couple with quite a few children. The father talked about being absolutely exhausted one night. The baby just kept crying. His weary wife was already asleep. He had this moment of just wanting to shake that little one. Then clarity hit him. What if this little child had been born first? What if instead of being the father he was the child. Wouldn’t he hope that, though frustrated and weary, that his father would stop instead of shaking his little body? He looked into his son’s eyes, took a cleansing breath and cuddled him into his arms.
It taught me something about perspective.
We all see things through our eyes, through our filters. We only see what we see because of who we are.
A situation may not be anything like what we assume, but because of our own limitations we come to conclusions. Those conclusions may not have anything to do with the other person. In fact they really have much more to say about who we are than who the other person is.
I think a little more tolerance, a little more acceptance and kindness would go so far in healing things. None of us is perfect. None of us will be at any time our lives. We all have our own demons. We all have our own struggles.
I hope to never deal with your heartaches. I hope you never have to deal with mine. Maybe we could buoy each other up instead of tearing each other down.
Cheering each other’s successes, helping each other when we trip and fall sounds so much more productive, and a lot more fun.