Cake: The Envious Woman’s Weapon of Choice
I just got off the phone with a friend of mine, and she goes, “I want to lose 8 more lbs*.” Now, this woman is lean, you can see her abs, but she wants to be a world-class climber. So, instead of succumbing to the vices of womanly insecurity, I said, “good for you.”
(Sidenote: The Ellen spoof of this commercial is the funniest thing ever. I’ve watched it 15 times and die laughing every time.)
Then she let out this sigh of relief and goes, “You know, I have been so careful who I tell. Most women just don’t understand and give me such a hard time.”
What?!!! Why? I mean, I know why. Misery loves company, and if someone isn’t happy with their body or their rate of progress, it’s way easier to tear others down than deal with their own issues.
So, why do we do this, and why does it kill our own progress?
My friend just wants to be an elite level climber. To do that, she needs to be able to haul her ass up an overhanging wall by her pinky fingers. (It’s a fun sport, you should try it!)
She should be getting nothing but encouragement from fellow women. “Way to go!” “Stick with it girl!” “Thank you for showing my daughter how truly strong and accomplished women can be in difficult sports!”
Instead, she is hearing, “Gosh, don’t you think you are skinny enough.” "Are you sure that's healthy?" “Why are you at the gym again? Weren’t you just there yesterday?”
“Shouldn’t you workout less? You are too fit and really giving it your all and it’s making me feel uncomfortable because I want more out of life and my body but I just haven’t put the time or work in, so instead of doing that, I want to bring you down to my level.”
Okay, so I made the last one up. But seriously, this happens all the time.
Take the breakroom at work or playdates with your kiddos.
“Want some cake?”
“No thank you.”
“Are you sure? It’s really tasty.”
“No thanks. I’m good.”
“Why don’t you want a piece? You should really have a piece. Let me fix you a plate.”
(I’ve actually seen people cut slices and hand them to people who’d already turned them down.)
Folks, this would never happen with a vegetable. When’s the last time someone forced a plate of green beans into your hand?
Why are they so aggressive with the cake, but not the veggies? Because they’re feeling guilty about something they’re doing, and they don’t want to feel guilty alone.
So, I’m challenging you right now to be a force for good. It’s not about the cake. Who cares about the cake. If you want cake, eat it. (I sure as heck do.) If you don’t, don’t. But for crying out loud, don’t try and force someone to eat cake if you are feeling guilty about eating the cake.
Support other women in living the lives they want to live. I had someone make me feel really bad about wanting to go back to work after having kids. She thought it was okay “if I needed to for financial support and all,” but I wanted to work because I enjoyed it. Gasp. That was heresy.
Well, she can take it and shove some cake in it.
We need each other. Guys have bros. They don’t think twice about giving each other encouragement. You want to eat ice cream while riding a camel backward in the middle of Times Square, wearing nothing but your boxers. “Go for it, bro! That would be awesome.” And then they would make some childish joke about humps.
Women freak if you want to do something, anything, that makes them feel like they should be doing more. We let our inner reflections tear down others instead of letting our inner reflections pour into ourselves.
So, that’s what I’m challenging you to do today. Listen to those inner reflections, and if you want to be anything but supportive and happy for someone, ask yourself why?
Then ask yourself what you really want out of your life. I want to be a good climber and for a second, I’ll admit, I was envious of my friend. I wanted to be the one spending hours at the gym chasing that goal (yes, I love the gym and climbing that much!).
But, I also want a business where I empower women, and that takes time. I want to be a Mom to my new little squish because I absolutely love breastfeeding, and that also takes time. I don’t have time to pour into becoming a better climber right now, and that’s okay. I can be okay -- no, scratch that -- I can be happy with my choices in life right now. Because that’s what life's all about: choices.
So, for crying out loud, the next time someone says something that makes that little voice kick in and you want to tear someone down, stop, and say, “I can respect that.” Then figure out how to make better choices that make you happy with where you are currently in your life. We can’t do everything or be everything at once, so do what YOU can and let the rest go.
* Just a quick follow-up. The climbing friend is not at risk for the female athlete triad. Losing 8 lbs would get her back to a weight that she's been at before and felt great. The focus of this article is on supporting each other.