A month ago an article called, Shine Theory: Why Powerful Women Make the Best Friends, was published from NY Mag, and I was inspired to write about how to deal with intimidation and jealousy. The premise of the article is that strong, successful women actually make the best friends; success begets further success. Makes sense, right? Women empowering each other to make the world a better place only seems logical.
The article forces me to reflect upon my past relationships, and the current female relationships that I seek/ maintain.
Shine Theory: How to Deal with Intimidation and Jealousy
The main problem is that it’s intimidating when you meet another really powerful woman. What if the woman is younger? More attractive? Has an amazing boyfriend? Traveled the world? Has a thriving business? Honestly, it’s easy to feel insignificant or pressured by someone else’s success. It’s like we’re all competing for the same thing.
Not to mention the fact that there are a plethora of societal expectations that we have upon us. We’re expected to be effortlessly perfect – we must be smart, educated, savvy, fashionable, healthy, skinny, independent, popular, beautiful… the list could go on!
The article states, “When we hate on women who we perceive to be more ‘together’ than we are, we’re really just expressing the negative feelings we have about our own careers, or bodies, or relationships.” Friedman proposes that instead of harboring these feelings, befriend that woman. It will only make you a better person, and be a beneficial association.
Your Current Social Circles
So, how do you do this? My first tip would be to look at your current social circles.
Personally, I feel like I’ve always aimed to surround myself with like-minded women. Over the years, I’ve definitely matured and removed myself from circles where I didn’t see the women benefiting my personal or professional growth. This can be hard to do, but also very necessary.
If you feel like you’re being brought down by the women around you, search for new opportunities that will expand your horizons. In the San Francisco area, there are so many meet ups, and professional organizations that are geared towards naturally curious and intelligent people. Search for these types of places to network. People associate you by the company you keep – so make sure it’s good!
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to drop the girlfriends who aren’t lifting you up.
True Confidence is Infectious
The final important take away from the article is that confidence is infectious. Confidence isn’t a bravado, or some overt pretense of fearlessness. Confidence is quiet and patient. Confident women ask questions in order to seek answers, can admit when they’re wrong, and are willing to ask for help.
Practice a quiet confidence in yourself, and learn from the women around you who exude this attitude well.
What do you do if you start to sense a friend is jealous of you? Be their friend, be humble and remind them of the amazing things they are doing! If their insecurities cripple the relationship, then don’t be afraid to move on. No one is immune to feeling jealousy, but you need to have a good understanding of what is normal, and when to draw the line.
Friedman says it best: “I want the strongest, happiest, smartest women in my corner, pushing me to negotiate for more money, telling me to drop men who make me feel bad about myself, and responding to my outfit selfies from a place of love and stylishness, not competition and body-snarking.”