The title of my blog is one of my favorite sayings. It goes without saying that we should encourage one another on this journey through life, yet so often we hear or experience the exact opposite. People tear each other down, just to make themselves feel better, but reality is, it doesn’t make anyone better. It just causes pain. And then it starts a cycle. I have had a few toxic friendships where this has happened, and it’s important to me to not be one of those people.
I found myself thinking about the past and people who have put me down in an effort to put themselves up. Now, we all have made snarky comments, it’s a defense mechanism. But when I find myself making snarky comments, it doesn’t make me feel better, and it definitely doesn’t make me a good person. I become the person I don’t want to be. I felt bad, and because of that, I made a comment about someone else to make them feel bad too. That’s not who I want to be, I don’t want to tear someone down just because I feel bad about something they did or said to me. That’s lashing out, and it’s not beneficial to anyone. Me saying those snarky comments is no better than what others had said to me. This led to me start thinking about toxic “friendships” I had in high school, and even in college, and some of them made me feel like absolute crap. In their eyes, and their comments, I wasn’t pretty, or talented, and they were more than happy to tell me that. Not in such an open way of course, which actually makes it worse. We look to our friends for honesty, and also for support, and instead I was getting torn down without even realizing it. One instance I remember was after auditions for a musical. I have always been interested in theatre and acting, and while I’m not the best singer, I can match pitch and blend, which is all that’s needed in high school theatre chorus. The show involved singing, acting, and dancing, and since I wasn’t terrible at two of the three items (like I said, I love to sing, but I’m definitely not the best at it), I figured I had a shot of at least being cast in the chorus and background. Well, they released the cast list during our last period of the day, and because we had an awesome teacher, and were seniors (seniors always get away with more stuff) she let one of the girls go check the list since there were a lot of us that had auditioned in the class. Well she came back and announced to the class that everyone in my group except for me got in the show. Better luck next time. Well, I was disappointed, but I wanted to see what roles everyone got, and lo and behold, when I checked the list myself, I also was in the show. For some reason, it gave this girl pleasure to see me hurting and tell me that I wasn’t good enough to be in the show. I will never understand why she felt the need to do that, it was mortifying and it was bad enough I thought I hadn’t gotten in, but to have the whole class know it too, that was really sad. Needless to say, after high school I didn’t remain friends with that group. While that was only one instance, there were definitely more times that they decided to do little things like that to put me down.
Since then, I have always wondered why women are so mean and horrible to each other. I still don’t understand the point in making someone feel so terrible about themselves. It’s mean, cruel, and the world is cruel enough, we don’t need to turn on each other. It was empowering for me to join a sorority and actually have women support me (and not in a fake way either). Of course there were girls in there that did the same things my old “friends” did, and I just did my best to avoid those girls. But there were true friends in there too, those that are supportive, and will be happy to give you a reality check, but not at your expense. They want what’s best for you, and they are happy to scream in the bleachers as you graduate, listen to you talk endlessly about the audition you went to, and celebrate when you get cast. Those are the women you want in your support system. The women who, even when things aren’t going their way, are still able to be happy for you and your accomplishments. The women who won’t put you down just to make themselves feel better. They know their own strengths, and are confident in them.
It’s so cliche to say that everyone is different, but it’s true. And it’s amazing what we can do when we support one another rather than tear each other down. If you’re an incredibly great singer or artist or writer, that doesn’t take away from another style of creativity that your friend has. There are so many variations of creativity, and no one style is better than another. You can be an extremely talented individual, while still having other aspects that you aren’t as talented in. That doesn’t lessen your talents, it just makes you a human being. I strive for perfection, but I know that I will never sing like Taylor Swift. It’s just not a reality for me. Same thing with art, I will never be able to draw or paint beautiful pieces of artwork, but that doesn’t mean I’m not creative in other ways. Don’t put someone down for a lack of creativity because their creativity is different from yours. Instead, push them up and celebrate the talents they do have.
It can be extremely difficult to remember your worth in a world that is constantly telling you what you’re lacking. We have magazines telling us we are either too fat or too thin, or not attractive enough in some way, and then we have rejection from jobs, and internships, and other career opportunities that we had our hearts set on. Let’s face it, the world is harsh. Surround yourself with a group that doesn’t make life any harder than it needs to be. Finding positive people who will help push you forward is difficult, but it is so worth it. I have a great support system of women who have pushed and succeeded in life, and help push me and others to succeed in life as well. They don’t put others down to make themselves better, they make themselves better by supporting others. They share the talents they have, and they focus on improving themselves by helping improve others.