I was walking with my dog this morning and overheard two ladies chatting (I wasn’t prying, I promise – they were just speaking very loud!)
“Oh, I didn’t realise… that changes my mind then…. I won’t be so hard on her next time.”
It is human nature to view situations from our own point of view, we bring our experiences, expectations and opinions with us to every event. But this can lead us to misjudge others, especially if we don’t know the back story or all the facts.
When someone behaves in a manner we don’t like, our automatic reaction is to criticise, to distance ourselves and to gossip about them. When really what we should be doing is finding out why that person’s actions are as they are. Behaviour comes as a result of self-talk and self-talk comes as a result of inner thoughts. We never know what is going on in someone else’s head or in their life and so we shouldn’t presume.
Women are wonderful at offering a helping hand when we know someone is in need, for example when a friend’s parent is in hospital, or their child has a disability, or their partner has lost his job. But most of us tend to be less understanding when we don’t have a ‘reason’ to justify the other person’s behaviour.
There are so many organisations (including mine) that promote the slogan ‘Women Supporting Women’ which is admirable in principle, but do we really support one another? As we approach International Women’s Day (Friday 8th March), I think it is important to ask ourselves as individuals and groups “do I/we genuinely support other women around me/us?” And to be totally honest.
If I was to tell you that there is a woman coming to my Meetup on Friday morning, who really needs your help, would you come along? What is your immediate answer (I have nothing to offer, I’m too busy, I would love to help, what can I bring…) What was your physical reaction to this request (nerves in tummy, fear of commitment, took step back, a spark of joy in your heart, looked at your calendar)?
No need to worry, there is no demand on you for Friday. However, I do believe that women need one another, to build each other up, to share stories of joy and sadness. To understand and support each other honestly. To create community and a feeling of belonging…
…And the biggest surprise is that you will get more from this than you give, because that’s the way the universe works.
If there is a female relative or friend in your life who has been distant recently or their behaviour has been unusual, why not take a moment to call them and just ask “is everything ok?”