Oh man. Last Friday’s discussion post was a doozy. Let’s talk about it for a second, shall we?
If you missed it, I posted a quote and asked readers to chime in with their thoughts.
“There are few things that give a woman greater joy than seeing that another woman has gained a few pounds.”
You guys hacked away at that quote – you picked it apart, you were disgusted by it, some agreed wholeheartedly, some didn’t WANT to agree but said that unfortunately it was true. I read all of your comments and I understood your hearts. I hope you’ll understand mine.
I told you I kinda agreed with the quote. But it wasn’t until about 5 of you left the same comment that I understood what I REALLY thought about it.
Those five commenters agreed on one thing: The words are wrong in the quote. That the quote SHOULD have read:
“There are few things that make a woman feel more insecure than seeing that another woman has LOST a few pounds.”
File this under, “Things that SHOULDN’T be, but ARE.”
I don’t want to agree with that statement. I don’t want to be THAT girl. And 99% of the time, this statement doesn’t hold true – especially in my line of work. I’m PAID to help people LOSE WEIGHT. It’s my job to help others reach their goals. And I LOVE seeing transformation!
But….and it pains me to say this out loud….I’d be a big fat liar if I said that I’ve never felt insecure or threatened when someone close to me lost weight. WHY is that?!?! I don’t even know where those feelings come from. Yes, they’re fleeting and rare, but they still surface from time to time. I love women. I want the BEST for them. I really do (please hear my heart on this). And I believe with everything in me that we have to stick together! So where does this jealously come from??
Sometimes I’m jealous of my sister. #truth
Reader Kristin said,
“I think it’s that whole “crabs in a barrel” thing. No need to put a lid on it ’cause if one starts to climb out the others will pull it back down. If one woman starts to lose weight, get fit, go back to school, start a business, rejoin the workforce instead of staying home, leave the workforce to stay home… whatever the choice is that makes us look at our own choices, then we get scared. Because if she can do (blank) then maybe, just maybe, I’m not trying hard enough. Then if she fails, it proves me right, it says “I’m doing just fine, see if you try you will fail.””
Interesting food for thought.
Is this true? When another woman has something that we don’t, whether it be losing weight, falling in love, having kids when we can’t, etc., we feel like we don’t measure up. Like HER life choices somehow effect OUR choices.
If she’s succeeding, then only conclusion is that….WE AREN’T.
I don’t want to think like that. Ever. Not even a whisper of that rotten thought pattern! And I certainly don’t want for my Clara to grow up with this “stinking thinking” toward other women.
So how do we fix it?
I’ve got a few ideas, but they’ll have to wait for tomorrow.
QUESTION: What do YOU think about the REVISED quote?
Wow! Excellent food for thought! And it takes guts to even bring this topic to the table for discussion – thank you for sharing and making me think :)
Great topic. Life is hard enough as is for women, with glass ceilings, difference in pay with regards to men, assuming many of the responsibilities of kids / home, that we need to be nice to each other, as nice as we can, encouraging, giving positive reinforcement and spontaneous compliments. I believe that women can do that. I believe in us !
I just found your blog and this post from the Friday Round-Up on Love, Live, Surf. Wow, this is an incredibly honest post. Thank you for bravely writing about something that many of us feel and think but are too scared to say out loud. When I was pregnant with my second child, I really struggled with jealousy. While I logically knew that it was silly to compare my body and fitness level to my non-pregnant friends, I couldn’t help it. I would get upset when they succeeded in reaching a race or weight goal. Instead of being happy for them, I was wishing I was out there racing too. Now that my beautiful daughter is almost 1, these feelings have subsided. But I’d be lying if I said I still don’t compare myself to other women. I think it’s part of human nature. At least by admitting these feelings, we can do our best to rise above them!
This is such a great post! So many sad but true points.
I just commented on the original, but I do think it all comes from a place of insecurity and developing our own value based on what others around us are doing. It’s horrible to say, but it is true.
I’m suddenly feeling all blushy that my comment was included in this post. I feel like, as women, we’re enculturated into a world of gossip and comparisons from such an early age. Not bashing my mom (a Godly woman I love) but I have early memories of her and other ladies at our church gossiping during coffee hour. It’s like the best way to make a friend with 1 woman is to bash another woman together. I try so hard not to be like this and to demonstrate to my daughter that you can make friends by bringing others up, not putting them down. She’s in the world of playground BFF’s and drama over who plays with whom at recess. It starts so early!
Now you’ve changed the quote- I’d say that I feel insecure when someone has lost weight because sometimes I feel like being fit is all I have and I’m still not good enough because I’ve become so use to it. Someone losing weight makes them look better or as good as me and then I have nothing. Nothing is good about me. I know that’s harsh and it’s not how I feel ALL the time. But I do have body image issues and that definitely factors in. However, when I train people I don’t feel the same way- it’s like my perspective has changed because I’m in a different position and I want to help them get there. That competition is gone when I’m the trainer.
Great thoughts to ponder! I am riddled with this, especially the revised quote. I have found that the better shape I get in, the worse I get too. The threat for me comes from worrying that other people are comparing me to someone else as much as I am comparing myself to someone else. It becomes this constant cycle of thought of “if only…, then…” and suddenly i’ll start looking back on these years and wondering why I couldn’t just appreciate what I had instead of focusing on what I didn’t.
Wow. I don’t even know where to start with this but I completely agree. I think that the revised quote is so much more accurate and it is an insecurity/feeling threatened thing. I hate to admit it but yes, those yucky uncomfortable feelings do bubble up when I see someone succeed. Don’t get me wrong – I’m super happy that they are pursuing their dreams or blowing their goals out of the water but yes, it makes me feel less than and makes me question my own choices and abilities. It’s crazy. I think that it’s also a lot of fear behind those feelings too – fear of what if I also did it and fear of what if I didn’t. I’m trying to be better about recognizing those feelings of fear and insecurity and calling them out but it’s still a constant struggle. Love this post LIndsay and the conversation here.
Wow. I can’t even wrap my head around this entire string — but bottom line, you’re right, it’s totally an insecurity thing. It reminds each of us that we’re suddenly not adequate. Which is silly — why are we comparing ourselves to others and only considering ourselves successful if we are succeeding in areas where our friends are ‘failing’ (and vice versa)? Why compare at all. Why do we automatically play that game? It’s scary how innate it is. And I WISH I had the answer but I don’t. I just know that it’s something I also struggle with but try try TRY so hard to push down, the insecurity, the comparison trap, that darn rat hole!! THANK YOU for posting this discussion, it’s gotten my wheels SPNNING like crazy here, wow.
Yikes. I’d have to say both quotes are true. Not that I want to admit it of course, but I guess, how else do we compare ourselves?
We do sort of have to know what is expected of us in society (or by God) and look around to see what others are doing with their lives, though. If you look at it very basically we have to compare a little to know what is “normal.”
For example, would women be going to college, getting degrees and careers now if a few women back in the day didn’t think, “hey I want to learn more and make some money?” If no one else saw that and thought, well I want that too, then the world would be a little different now. Does that ramble make sense? Basically we do need to compare a little. That whole quote “iron sharpens iron” applies here (aka surrounding yourself with awesome people will give you motivation to be awesome).
If doing better than others didn’t matter…then why do we run races with other people? Why do we care about grades or GPA or class standing? We do want to know that we can do better than others and this motivates us to work hard.
I think where it goes bad is if we feel AWFUL about ourselves and get sent into a shame spiral when someone else succeeds or OVERJOYED and mean when someone else fails.
I think the key is to feel good about ourselves when we win and to feel good for the other person when they win. :)
The revised quote makes me sick to my stomach, because YES! I think we all, whether it’s once in a great while or often, think those thoughts of jealousy/comparison/negativity/low self-worth. And I wonder the same thing–why? Why do we do that when, just like you said Lindsay, we should be only building each other up…Ultimately, I think that we have to remember that we (women, now) need to work to change this way of thinking. We can lead the “movement” to only support other women so that we all help each other continually grow and become stronger!
I agree with the re-write of the thought. I tend to be pretty good about not being jealous of other’s success. I get frustrated with myself when it’s not as easy, but we don’t know what goes on outside the hour we spend at the gym with that person or how long they have been working on losing weight. As for the rest of life “issues”, I find it extremely frustrating when women are jealous of things that happen in other people’s lives. One of my husbands and I’s closest friends (they’ve been friends since they were born) said to me at our son’s Baptism that this where she should be (married with kids) and it’s not fair that my husband and I “beat her to it”, what hurt me the most was not that she felt she was more deserving but that in a moment that should have been about our son and what a blessing it is to have him, it was all about woe is her. Ever since I have found it really hard for me to have compassion for her situations.
I think it is important for women to support each other through the good and the bad, I love my new gym, because even though everyone is in a different place (men and women) are supportive and encouraging to each other, and when there are competitive parts no one is a sore loser. Whew sorry for the novel comment.
I agree with a lot of people commenting that it’s not really a weight specific thing. It’s more of a “why can’t I have what they have” thing. When it does involve weight/looks…it’s a slippery slope and can lead to very dangerous habits. For me personally, I don’t feel those jealousies anymore. At a certain point you have to realize that this is the body God gave you, this is the face He gave you..etc etc. Stop comparing yourself to others and be happy with what you have.
I think whenever someone feels jealousy at a close friend getting a new job or promotion, or buying a house, or getting married..those feelings are natural. Especially if those are things that person wants and doesn’t yet have. Rather than being cruel or acting jealous/bitchy towards those friends, it’s sooo much smarter to understand that the emotion is coming from you and your desires. Instead of tearing them down, take steps to bring yourself up to where you want to be.
I am supposed to be on sabbatical but .. UGH! I think it is all from the beginning & what is expected & the the media & advertising fuel that we are never enough & then we have the fact that a large % of the time if ti attractive people that get ahead more – NOT ALWAYS – but is has been proven & media shows it – IT ALL SUCKS! Sorry for the rant. I don’t know how to change it from the outside – mags & media talk a good game but do not show it in their actions. As a home – we can only hope to help the daughters & sons grow up with good values & thoughts… Thx for these posts!!
You bring up some really good points in all of these quotes you’ve shared!
In the past, I would say that I def had issues when friends/those close to me lost weight. It’s because I HAD ISSUES with wanting to lose weight & had disordered views of myself, and was obsessed with it all.
Now though? I am super happy for anyone who (healthily) loses weight!! <–esp if they worked hard at it! And can say, I am not the least bit jealous of them. And I think it's because I am finally comfortable with who I am. And feel strong–plus, I don't really focus on weight anymore, so to me, I am happy for others, but it's not a main focus point for me, so I don't feel challenged at all. (which is why I think, some would feel threatened or a bit upset if someone close to them lost weight)
In other areas, though, I am of course working on this whole judgement/envy thing. It's gotten SO much better since finding more peace within myself, but I can ALWAYS do better.
I love the quote : "We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those." -Jeffrey Holland (from here: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-laborers-in-the-vineyard?lang=eng)
What a great quote!
I think the revised quote basically says the same thing, and is equally as true. Can’t wait to see what you have to say tomorrow.
The revised quote blew my mind. It’s totally true. The little envious devil inside me can’t stand it when I try my hardest and see others do the things so easily that I cannot.
i think there are a lot of things that leave women feeling insecure and having women close to them lose weight can definitely be one of them… i’ve definitely fallen prey to that.. unfortunately. and like you, when i have kids, i NEVER want them to think/feel that!!!!
the revised quote is VERY, VERY, true in my experience. When I lost 120lbs, people were excited at first ,but then, some of my acquaintances became less and less enthustiastic. They no longer had the buffer of the “fat friend,” they no longer got all the attention from guys when we went out, and sadly, I lost a few “friends” during that journey. They were the ones were sneered at me when I came to a group hangout straight from the gym and told me to “eat a burger” or “you’re too skinny, eat some chocolate.” After my depression/binge eating struggles, when I gained back some of that weight, those “friends” started creeping back in, feeling more comfortable with the Maureen who was slowly reverting back to her fat personality aka no longer as confident/happy so letting people walk all over me, ect. As I’m trying to regain my health now, I’ve cut out those people. I’m refusing to let them bring me down anymore. But on the other hand, I’ve noticed ,that as I’m struggling with re-losing weight, I do feel pangs of jealously when I see those around me who are losing weight, but then I quickly give myself a reality check,having been on the other side. It’ really hard though, and more than that, it’s truly sad that it seems to be the way our brain is almost hard wired to respond!!! I def want to bring this up on my blog as well.
As a single 25 year old that has actually GAINED weight recently (previous eating disorder) and is changing careers completely, I TOTALLY get where the jealousy of other women comes in. I feel jealous of my best friends and peers that love their jobs, are married, are getting super fit…just seem to have it all “right”. And it’s tough to realize there IS NO RIGHT. And that so many are actually jealous of my freedom and confidence to change careers!
There is ALWAYS a “grass is greener” syndrome. But I’m curious as to what you asked…how do we change it!?
Clare, I recently heard this quote from Jillian Michaels and just loved it…your comment reminded me of it:
The grass isn’t greener on the other side, The grass is greener wherever it’s watered.
This is such a great discussion, and I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head. It’s all about our own fears and insecurities. Friday’s post even sparked a discussion between my husband and I about it, and he was aghast at how we as women react to each other. And it is shocking and terrible! We need to be the ones encouraging each other not pulling each other down.
Sadly, I totally agree with that quote. As someone who has gained some unnecessary weight in the past two years or so, I feel judged when I see the women in my life losing weight. This is crazy, because most of the women in my life are loving, kind, and supportive! But still…
I hate that this is true, but I’m totally loving the discussion!
I have to agree with Kristin. In my experience this is a massive problem in the UK where I come from.
People here are so negative by nature.
I realize that is quite a sweeping statement that some wont agree with, and clearly this doesn’t apply to everyone, however for the most part in my experiences it’s true.
No one thinks that anything is possible here. We don’t have the American Dream like you guys. People tend to scoff and snigger at other peoples failures, which keeps people from trying.
I’ve seen it so so many times in the working world, especially in business…
The amount of examples I’ve seen of people who had the courage to start a business etc only to fail, and hear people relish in their demise behind their backs.
It’s a really sad reflection on society, but I think this kind of thinking continues in the types of examples you mention.
If you see a women looking thinner than you, due to some kind of lifestyle change, then some women automatically hope she’ll fail and fall off the wagon, just wait and see.
This also includes men by the way, as men are becoming more and more aware of there bodies due to the media etc.
It’s like a protection mechanism that makes us feel better about ourselves. I see it all the time. When you turn up at a Party and someone asks ” what you do for a living ” it’s the same thing.
If you turn around and tell that person you’re a multi millionaire business owner, they wouldn’t know where to put themselves.
On the other hand, if you say you’re unemployed, they feel comfortable. It’s like a form of hierarchy which seems to be burned in out DNA.
Who knows, I’m just speculating, but either way it aint pretty but it’s most certainly there.
Thanks for sharing.
I often wonder to myself what I’m doing wrong. I’m single, mid-thirties, and I compre myself to them, wondering what they did that I’m not. I’m the same way with weight gain (I’ve recently gained much more than I’dlike, making me even more sensitve than usual), what does she do, that I don’t. It’s natural to feel it, I think. Acting on it is something different. I can support someone (male or female) verbally, even if I’m comparing myself. If I use their success to motivate myself, then that becomes a good thing. If I use their success as an excuse to tear them down, then it becomes a bad thing. It’s what you do with you feelings that’s important.
I hate admit it, but I’m one of those who get jealous. But my jealousy (if it is that) is more aimed at those who loose it unfairly- by that I mean not in the healthy eating way but through fad diets, shakes & pills. Maybe it’s because they shouldn’t work but have as I’m a true believer in eating real food for nutrition. I also- and I really to admit this one, get jealous of those who are genuinely happy for other women who have been successful in whatever way.- weight loss, job, whatever, because it is those women you know who are truly comfortable in their own skin. I aspire to be one of those women.
I agree with you and all the comments above. It goes hand in hand with seeing / reading / hearing about someone PR’ing. Maybe someone that you consider yourself to be on the same level with? It’s not that you don’t want others to PR – but there may be the pang of jealousy when she runs the time you’ve been after for so long. I try not to let jealousy rule me – I try to turn into something creative and positive (like ME working harder) but it’s hard and sometimes it wins out.
Fact: Women could and should rule the world. But to do that we need to support each other. Goals, Dreams, Ambitions – all of it!
Women are so competitive with each other. I don’t really understand why or when it starts, but considering how we think men are competitive they don’t treat each other the way women do. I think that quote is sadly true.
My thought process is really not so much insecurity when others succeed, but it’s more of “what am I doing wrong”. I love seeing others achieve their goals, but I always wonder why I can’t accomplish these things too? Why is it easier for them and so hard for me. I’m working on understanding that it’s not necessarily easier for anyone and that everything is relative to the situation. My insecurities lie completely with me focusing on the negatives in my own life.
I do agree with the change in the quote. I think that’s a lot more accurate in the way we think about others achieving goals!
I think most people have felt jealous about something, someone loosing weight, doing well or perhaps an old boyfriend getting married to someone else. Jealousy, is an insecurity that only hurts one person… the person who is jealous. Just like anything worth while in life, defeating these thoughts takes work. When thoughts of jealousy arrise, it is very important to first acknowledge your hurt or feelings of insecurity, second to separate yourself from this voice…you are not that dark voice that compares yourself or feels “less than”, we all have the power to make changes in our lives, and be the best version of ourselves, the hardest part is just getting started and staying consistent.
I think another good word to use would be frustrated. I know when someone does something I want to do (gets faster, gets a raise, etc) i get frustrated that it’s not me, that maybe I’m not good enough or working hard enough, etc. It can be frustrating!
Ohhhh… that is an excellent observation. Kristen put it really well. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve felt that way before. I think I’ve gotten better as i’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser), but when you’re younger so much of what you think about yourself is based on how you perceive those around you.
you had me mulling this allllll weekend too.
Ive experienced it so so many times….
insecurity is spot on, or threatened. Like we’re doing something wrong in our own territory. She’s, now if that’s not from the devil, i don’t know what is. insecurity is what robs us of flourishing. Of being fruitful.
haha, i mean to say sheesh, not she’s
insecurity is what robs us of flourishing <— I really like that LC.