There is freedom in letting go of our training and the preconceived notions and beliefs that we hold dear. It’s good to stop every now and then and question why it is we believe the things we do or act the way that we do. Why has society programmed us this way, and who do our choices benefit? There is always someone who benefits, especially when a choice has become so deeply ingrained that we believe it is not a choice at all, but simply the way that things are.
We have been fooled into viewing other women as competitors who can take away what we value and prevent us from achieving our own level of success. Specifically, women have been conditioned to compete with other women for the attention and affections of men. Hmm, now who would benefit from that?
On the topic of freedom and female friendships, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“For women to be truly friends, we have to shed the suspicious competitiveness toward one another that we have been trained into. We have to move beyond seeing other women as competitors for the ‘goodies’ (males and male validation and attention. We have to be open to the possibility that because we are women we have mutual concerns and experiences that we need to share. To do this, we have to be willing to move beyond our training and education for separateness, to leap the chasm and become free to be ourselves with one another.
Once we have made the leap, we find a richness and depth in our female friendships that simply is not possible with men. We find ourselves saying again and again, ‘I know, I know.’ It is in ‘affirming our freedom’ from old brainwashing that we move into friendship and sisterhood.”
How often have you heard someone proudly declare, “Oh, I only have guy friends. I can’t stand girls or other women”? For me, the answer is a lot. I used to be one of those people! I would judge whether or not I would be friends with someone based solely on her disdain and loathing of other women. We have been conditioned to compete with other women for men’s attention and approval, as well as for positions of power, money, and prestige. It’s as though we have been taught to believe that there is a finite amount of success available to women, and only a lucky few can attain it. This is just not true. In fact, the more women who succeed, the more opportunity there is for other women. We pave the way for others to follow in our footsteps. There is freedom in breaking from tradition, what society mandates, to embrace who we really are, and that includes embracing our bonds to other women.