“I don’t really like to spend time with other women.”
“I don’t feel comfortable around women.”
Ever heard women make these comments?
I always raise an internal eyebrow when I hear such things because I know the joy and healing power of being in circles of women and the sweetness of friendship with women—not to mention the hotness of sex with them. When I hear this denigration of the possibility of building relationships among women, I have to wonder. The way I see it, there are three primary reasons why women avoid spending time with other women.
Women are completely conditioned to compete with one another for love, affection, money, raises, promotions, resources, and partners. Many women want to be the best mom, the best wife, the best at whatever she does and if another woman threatens that, it is destabilizing. Many women compete with the false idea that there’s not enough affection, love and male attention to go around.
This is totally false and keeps us at war with one another. What a great way to keep the status quo in tact!
Seriously, if you are competing with other women, it’s important to look at what needs you have that you fear won’t be met, because it has nothing to do with other women. No other woman’s success takes anything away from you. If anything, it just supports you to be your very best self. It shows you what is possible and can inspire you if you let it. But you might have a need to be special that’s skulking about below the surface of competition. Or a need to be seen. A need for acknowledgment and your fear that you won’t get these needs met keeps you in competition.
I am making a call to women to end this insidious pattern of competing with one another as if we can’t all be successful. When I was a college instructor, I told my students there were enough A’s to go around for everyone, and spirit has enough success, joy, love and greatness to go around for all of us too. Competition keeps you in lack because it comes from a fundamental belief that there won’t be enough for you. And it’s not very becoming. It doesn’t support the win-win that we can all strive for.
Women are “Too Emotional”
Many women will tell you that women are “so emotional” and “create too much drama” so “I prefer to just hang out with the guys.” There’s nothing wrong with hanging out with the guys, but if you are afraid to spend time with other women, and you’re convinced women are more work, ask yourself where that lives inside of you. Where are you emotional and not accepting that part of you? Where do you create unnecessary dramas or crises and seek attention for them? Where are you “too much work?”
I believe what is really at work is an invisible internalized misogyny. You have internalized too many negative messages about women and begun to believe them, to the point where it drives a wedge between you and other women in your life. You fear your own power in some way or maybe deep down, you think women are not as strong or capable and you buy into the need for male caretakers.
Women are not “too emotional”. We all need to learn how to work with our emotions effectively and to direct emotions in healthy ways. Men need this too. Few people are actually emotionally skilled and able to move through emotions rather than let emotions rule them. Assuming women have a deficit around emotional intelligence does nothing to help anyone grow.
We all have work to do to develop emotional skills that allow us to be more powerful. Be an example for the women in your life. Do it differently. Maybe the women around you have just never learned how. Most of us haven’t, after all.
On a deeper level, many women have wounds from women close to them that keep them in an avoidance pattern with other women. If you’ve been hurt by other women, like your mother, grandmother, sisters, or a BFF, you might be afraid of being burned again. Inside, you have some unmet needs with other women that continue to go unmet because you won’t ask and you create distance in order to protect yourself from getting hurt again. Many women project mother wounds onto other women, which ultimately means they relive those wounds over and over again. Who wants that!
Working on healing your wounds with women will, by definition involve women. You cannot avoid other women your whole life and actually heal your relationship to women. Many of us were not mothered well…so why not allow yourself to be mothered by friends and other loved ones? I consciously seek out friends with yummy mother energy because I know I need that in my life.
The women who came before you will thank you from the other side when you heal these big wounds. They just did what they were taught and none of us were taught particularly well by our culture. It serves the patriarchy to keep women in battle.
Each time I am blessed to sit in circle with other women and be part of their healing, I wish every woman could have that space to heal with witnesses who understand, who have walked this path too, who want her success. If you have shunned this space with women, I invite you to consider how it might change not only your outward relationships, but most important, your relationship to your own woman-self.
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