Yesterday it was 8 billion degrees outside, and I went for a walk around the lake in the early morning sun. I was wearing a sports bra and yoga pants.
I don’t usually do this. It wasn’t out of my comfort zone, but it’s also not my default. You see, I sometimes hide the physically attractive part of myself to be more approachable in the world. (This is something I’m working on hiding less.)
But let’s be clear. I don’t have six-pack abs, and there’s no thigh gap to speak of.
At the same time, I like my body and I’m comfortable in it. It gets attention from men (as if that deserves a gold star or something).
Here’s what I noticed.
Men walking with their wives looked, but pretended not to. Women noticed me and would immediately look away. Some women would speed up their pace, with an air of something to prove. Only men walking or running solo dared make eye contact with me. Not one single woman did.
On a normal day of being fully clothed, walking, women will often notice my open face, my friendly smile, my desire to connect with other humans, even if just for a moment. They’ll smile back, maybe say hi. I often feel like I’m among friends.
And I felt a little sad.
I wasn’t baring my midriff to show off, or to make others feel bad.
But because I wasn’t hiding, it was like I was placed in some kind of female ranking competition that I don’t remember entering.
This sentiment has been echoed by other women I’m connected to recently. “If I talk about how wonderful I am, I’ll make other people feel bad.”
“If I let people give me attention, I’m taking away attention from others who might need it more.”
And this is a core belief that leads to the behaviors that causes women to settle in relationships.
Others don’t have to be less than for you to be wonderful.
There is no one in the world exactly like you. (I hope you know that, right?) And there’s no better or worse, just different.
As I walked around the lake, I didn’t think, “Oh, that woman should definitely cover up,” or, “My body is 100 times better than hers,” or, “I hope she’ll hurry up and pass me so people don’t compare how defined her biceps are next to mine.”
People are where they are. You are where you are. There’s no more and no less. (Except maybe your judgment of it all.)
It is not your job to rescue others from their discomfort. It is your job to own yours.
Rescuing others (or creating comfort) to make them feel better is something we often do to actually make ourselves feel better.
Me wearing a shirt yesterday under the guise of not wanting to make other women feel bad could very well have been filed away as the modest and appropriate thing to do.
Instead, me not hiding meant I had to deal with my own discomfort – the discomfort that being an unapologetic woman often has me feel isolated from other women – not distract myself with someone else’s.
Here’s the thing. There’s some hurt there. When I look at my own discomfort, I have to feel the hurt and decide where I want to go from there. How do I want to bridge that gap in my relationships with women…or do I just want to cut off my relationships with women altogether?
But, one thing’s for sure: it puts the ball in my court. And while many of us scream about wanting the ball in our court so we feel empowered and like we’re not at the mercy of someone else, the number of times we give it away is unfathomable.
When you deal with your own discomfort, it paves the way for others to do the same. You get to claim both your power and your actions. You being and having more means we all get to.
The same thing happens in relationships:
- When you’re ready to have the “define the relationship” talk but can’t bring yourself to ask for it.
- When he wants to have sex and you aren’t sure if you’re exclusive.
- When you know you love him, but aren’t ready to say it until you’re sure he is.
Face your discomfort, and you’ll give him permission to face his. It may not be comfortable, but it will be honest, and the path with become ever more clear. Drop me a comment below letting me know a place you try to make others comfortable instead of facing your own discomfort.