Having grown up with 3 sisters, I know all about comparison and jealousy and competing for attention… And I know all about covering things up with niceties, manners and politeness when presenting to the rest of the world, yet knowing full well the feelings that are underlying between us.
When I reflect now, it’s sad to feel the way that we were with each other and in some ways, still are. How is it that 5 beautiful women (including my mum) were all living in the same house and, for a lot of the time, there were unspoken resentments, jealousies and judgments towards one another. It’s been hard to admit, but if I am really honest, that is the truth. And I played a full part in that. It is painful to feel that I measured myself constantly with my sisters and also with my parent’s expectations. Instead of expressing and getting it all out there in the open, we tended to hold things in and keep it all under lock and key, letting it all build up – with the inevitable emotional explosions from time to time. And all the while, so often our words and actions were laced with the insidiousness of anger, frustration or disappointment under the guise of ‘politeness’ or ‘niceness’.
Growing up, it was instilled in us that we were to be polite, use our manners, be good girls, be kind and always put someone else before yourself. I had a bit of an issue with all of this from an early age. Although I would conform, most of the time (until the rebellion) I felt very deep inside me that something here wasn’t quite right for me. There was a lot that didn’t feel true, that was tainted by a glossy layer. This would keep us from really getting to the crux of it all – to what was really going on.
With four girls, body image was huge in our house. Even though it may not have been stated aloud, we were all measuring our looks, our shapes and our weight against each other. There was a time when I would look at myself in the mirror and really hate what I saw: I was too fat, not pretty-enough and too short. I played around a little with not eating and trying to throw up my food (although this didn’t ever last for very long)… all for the purpose of being thin, because I thought that being thin was beautiful.
So the question still remains; how is it that four beautiful girls can grow up in the same house and be this way with each other? I guess, given the way society is and the media onslaught that is there right from the word go, the question could also be; how can 4 girls grow up together in a house and be any other way? I think there would be very few women in the world who could say that they have grown up without experiencing comparison and jealousy – whether it be with sisters, family or friends. This has been my experience, not just within family but with women out in the world, too. Although it is a super diligent practice of mine to stop it and deal with it whenever it arises, I can still find myself comparing or sometimes even criticising other women… and I can also feel women doing it to me. Maybe my sisters would say that it wasn’t the case, but I would say that I can still feel it happening between us today, and we are all grown women! It’s fascinating really: why can we not just see each other for the amazing beauty that we are, and leave it at that? What is it about us that thinks that we need to be better than another, or thinks that another is better than us – or that we are lesser? And why do we pretend that it is not happening when clearly it is? I heard someone say once that comparison and jealousy is like poison in your body, and that is exactly what it feels like.
Through Natalie Benhayon’s Esoteric Women’s Presentations, I have been able to work through this and get to see what kind of ‘pictures’ I have conjured up about how and what a woman ‘should’ be. I began to understand how I had taken on a multitude of ideals about what I needed to do and how I needed to be in the world. Growing up, I learned (along with many others) that it was about what I ‘did’ that got me the recognition that I was searching for – and that simply ‘being’ me was not quite enough. So of course I am looking ‘out there’ to measure how well I am doing, or how much better I need to be.
And of course, what I took on from my parents and those around me were things that they took on from their parents and those around them and so it goes on… I could see the pattern and I could feel the effect that it would have on my body if I continued to live it all out.
So why was it then, when I did get the recognition that I so desperately craved, that there was still something missing, that it never quite hit the spot? Through my experience with Universal Medicine and Esoteric Women’s Health, I now understand what it was that I was really searching for. The recognition I received never really truly did it for me because what I was looking for was not ‘out there’. I was craving my own recognition of myself – to actually take the time to be with me, to see me, to feel me and feel how lovely I am. It was my own emptiness of that love for myself that kept me wanting or needing it to come from somewhere outside… and that kept me thinking that I need to compete with other women to get it. Now I know this to be an absolute lie. There is no competition, only the love that is unwaveringly there within each and every one of us. And now, as I appreciate and enjoy this loveliness in me, it is such a joy to truly appreciate the unique expression and loveliness in another woman… such a joy!
So what is this loveliness? For me it is something deep within, a feeling that is so very familiar and so very beautiful, very much like a coming home. It is a tenderness with myself that allows me to just let go and not need anything from anyone, yet it stays open with everyone.
Before, I would disregard this loveliness and put others before me; now I honour myself and the love that I am so I can share more of myself with them. Before, I would push through and just keep going; now I listen to my body and feel what is truly needed. Before, I would feel that I wasn’t enough and that I needed to do and be more; now I am finding it easier and easier to just be with myself in all that I do, knowing that it is all of me doing it and this feels so lovely. Before, I would more often make another better than me or strive within myself to be as good as, or better than, another. Now, I see how ridiculous this is and can now appreciate the very special gift that is in our unique and very individual expressions… all of which are not comparable!
My relationships with my sisters, my mother and all women are continually unfolding into ones that are so much more open, honest and truly loving. As I am able to be more of me and claim the tender and loving woman that I am, I know I can be more of that with them also. My sisters and my mother are all very beautiful and truly amazing women whom I love dearly. Given our history and the backlog of ‘un-saids’ and half-truths, I don’t think I could have stated this with such sincerity and love before I had found the same beauty within myself first.