By Samantha McKenzie
It’s normal to hide your flaws. Actually, we were taught as little girls to keep our messiness out of public view. But as we mature and realize that we’re all imperfect human beings, it becomes easier to talk about our ugliness. Gossip, jealousy and selfishness top the list of things that threaten our sisterhood. And it’s our responsibility to get rid of it, starting with ourselves.
Disclaimer: Gossip, jealousy and selfishness are not gender specific. But in the spirit of building a more vibrant sisterhood, it’s time we talk straight with each other. Secondly, we’re all guilty. So don’t shrug it off as someone else’s issue. To truly move our sisterhood forward, to really take on the big jobs in life, we’ve got to tackle these flaws. Remember, our unity depends on it. We’re in this together.
Threat #1: Gossip. The unhealthy pleasure. Gossiping is a lot different than sharing information. There’s a negative motive behind it. There’s a underlying reason why we choose to talk negatively about another person, why we feel a sense of superiority dishing out the dirt. Most often, there’s some gratification in talking about someone else’s bad news. Maybe we think it’s pay back? That they deserve what they got? Maybe that person treated you wrongly in the past? We call it karma, then smirk. Interestingly enough, when bad things happen to us, we ask others for help or prayer, sometimes even forgiveness. How ironic? We say a little gossip won’t hurt us, but in truth, it’s a destructive force. It lingers and follows you wherever you go. For women, it’s even worse. We’re judged through a harder lens and people tend not to give us a pass. Spiritually, it tears down our humanity. Personally, it eats away at our credibility. Ultimately, it weakens our collective strength. Next time you find yourself gossiping, end the conversation with, “I think I’ll reach out to her and see if she needs anything.” Find a way to do better. Challenge yourself to help your sister or better yet, just hush.
Threat #2: Jealousy. The evil twin. For the sake of argument, envy and jealousy are similar in nature, and both egregious. Being jealous of what another person has or how another person looks, is just misplaced anger. Jealousy begins with our interpretation of what we THINK we should have. Next, it gets fueled by our lack – lack of will, lack of resources, etc. So you think you should be a size 6, but you’re a 12. You think you should have long hair, but your hair is naturally short. You feel like you should run the organization, but you don’t have the experience. Instead of us working to accomplish our goals or get the things we admire, we begin to dislike the person who has what we desire. We enter the danger zone. We want what they have and then hate them for having it. We may even try and sabotage their success. The reality is , you don’t really know what a person did to get where they are, what sacrifices they made, what losses they had to endure. Let’s do better. Jealousy is killing the sisterhood vibe and it’s convincing people to think we women can’t get along. To combat it, you’ll have to practice self-love and learn how to be happy for others. Spend your time learning and doing more and train your eye to look inward.
Threat #3: Selfishness. Greed’s distant cousin. It’s rare that a selfish person knows their selfish.How would they? Unlike gossip and jealousy, there’s no warning light that goes off inside of a selfish person’s head that reminds them to stop thinking about themselves. I don’t know too many selfish women, but I do know a few self-centered women with selfish tendencies. It’s an equally ugly trait. Selfish people are comfortable receiving. Giving back, for whatever reasons, is a skill they tend not to practice. But giving and receiving go hand in hand. One doesn’t work that well without the other. Selfish individuals have a tendency to enter every room and every conversation just thinking about what’s in it for me. They want to participate, but they don’t want to share. They intentionally hold back. If they hear that you are struggling, their first response is to find out what you did wrong, not how they can help. But selfishness stunts your growth. It keeps you from expanding relationships and it tightens the belt around the sisterhood. It makes it impossible to breathe out. Try facing your selfishness head on. Challenge yourself to share, to give, to let go. Don’t expect anything in return. Sit with the reality of supplying your time, your resources, your concern, just because you can. At the end of the day, giving back and helping others is the price we pay for our earthly occupancy. It’s not really negotiable. You get, you give. It’s that simple. Work on it.