I recently noticed a statement floating through the Twitterverse that stopped me cold. I am not sure where it originated, but it read something like this: “Men shouldn’t try to understand women. Women understand women and they hate each other.”
I’ll admit it. At first, I giggled at the ironic sentiment. There is at least an ounce of truth to the quote that I found humorous. But after the initial hilarity waned, I felt sad because … well … there is at least an ounce of truth there. Not always, but sometimes.
If we’re going to be really honest with one another, then we’ll all admit to having had our feelings hurt by other women. And while we’re riding the truth train, let’s also admit that the gal staring you down in the mirror has the potential to be a big ole meanie too.
Am I stepping on your toes? Forgive me. I’ll give you some space and focus on my own mean girl tendencies for a moment.
Whenever I allow fear or insecurity to grab the steering wheel of my heart, I make poor choices. Honestly … there are times when I make downright ugly choices. I’ll give you an example.
Until I reached my mid-thirties, many people identified me as the “cute little blond.” I’m convinced that I didn’t look a day older than 23 until I hit 34. That’s also the year I gained those 30 pounds I haven’t been able to shed. Being “tiny” was part of my identity. Being young and girl-next-door cute was part of my identity. And while those were only ways to pick me out of a crowd, I placed a high value on such characteristics.
So here comes the not-so-nice part.
Sometimes, when I am around women who fit nicely into the “cute and little” mold … or even worse, the “gorgeous, sexy and shapely” category … discontentment settles deep into my core and I begin to mentally dissect the flaws of those other girls. I’ll silence my tongue and keep my smile honey sweet, but my mean girl’s mind will be churning with thoughts like “Vanessa’s complexion is looking a little splotchy today,” or “Katie’s eyes really are quite large for her tiny face.”
My critiques don’t end with the young and beautiful. You should see how ill-mannered my inner grammar snob behaves when I’m self-conscious about my intelligence. And oh how I’ve mentally dissed Rachael Ray and Paula Deen those times I’ve overcooked chicken or burnt cupcakes.
It is true that my tearing down is mostly limited to celebrities and women I don’t know at all, but does that make it any better? I don’t think so. Here are a few reasons why.
Just because I don’t know those women and my thoughts may not even reach their ears doesn’t mean God doesn’t know them … and it certainly doesn’t mean that God cannot hear my heart. When I look my mean girl tendencies straight in the eye, I also become uncomfortably aware that entertaining them means I’m arguing with God. His word tells me that we are all wonderfully made creations and not some dime-store knickknacks to be examined and tossed set aside as unworthy.
The flaw-finding is also damaging because although it might give me a five minute ego boost, it is a lift that’s based on the lie that my value as a human being is measured on beauty, talents and mental faculties. What I wrote above applies me as well … to all of us. I cannot recognize my true value when I am trying to efface the beauty and talents of others.
Lastly, allowing my inner mean girl center stage rights is a tragic waste of time. It’s a waste because such self-centered behavior hinders love. It tempers service and acts of kindness and makes me a lazy giver. My time … my life … would be much better spent offering encouragement to each person I encounter and keeping my heart and actions focused on glorifying God and not my fragile ego.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25.