Amy Leigh Fitzpatrick Cope
Do you remember what it was like when you made your first friend in kindergarten? How easy it was to just go up to someone you’d never met before and tell them you want to be their friend… And now when we think back, what was it about that particular little person that drew you to them out of everybody else?
What I’ve learnt over the years is that female friendships have a lot to teach us about ourselves – they bring out the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s like having a sister, but you get to choose who that will be. I believe that people come into our lives to teach us something about ourselves, maybe it’s one lesson and maybe it’s many lessons over our whole lives even somebody to support you through all the other lessons you’re learning.
Have you been hurt a lot in female friendships? Is it something you’ve been yearning to have more of? Are female friendships the relationships you’ve always found the easiest to come by and maintain?
Whatever your situation may be, the power of female friendships lies in the way that we support each other. By supporting the women closest to you, you are contributing to a world where women are uniting more than ever.
Is this something you’ve struggled with? Have you found other women to be competition or a threat to you? I feel like this is somewhere most of us have been… When I started high school at an all-girls private school I initially felt so excited that we were all together. But then as time went on I started to feel vulnerable, less than, threatened, thinking things like “I wish I looked more like her”, “Why am I not as confident/funny/happy as her?”, “I want all the boys to adore me like they adore her!”, “I need to be more…”
And that’s how this viscous cycle begins… We forget our own brilliance, individuality and amazingness. Because we are in competition. Why does it have to be like that?
Let’s commit to changing the language from “I wish I was more like her” to “I admire that so much in her” or “I am so proud to know a female like that enhancing the community I live in”.
As time has gone on I’ve realised that my girlfriends are my greatest allies in life. You know that feeling when you go to catch up and have coffee with one of your friends and you have the best conversation and you leave feeling that natural high? Because you just get each other. You can find comfort in knowing that person is your biggest supporter, cheerleader and confidant. This will contribute to the state of your mental health. Have you noticed what it feels like when you haven’t seen your friends in a while? You get a bit stale… you don’t feel entirely filled up. Having your own tribe of women empowering each other is a part of self-care.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been hurt plenty of times in female friendships – but getting through them I’ve learnt the biggest lessons about myself. I had to change my thinking in order to have successful friendships. Whenever those toxic thoughts of competition, inferiority or jealously start to show I stop take a breath and remember that another woman’s brilliance does not equal a lack of my own. Write it down, stick it on your mirror and remember it! We are all in it together and we need our girls by our side!