My Sister is Not My Competition
Are you in secret competition with others? Before you answer that question, let me tell you that your sister is not your competition. For those of you who are only children, you’re thinking, “I don’t have a sister.” But when I use the term ‘sister’, I’m not referring to biological sisters. I’m not referring to adopted sisters. I’m not referring to a specific ethnicity. I’m referring to women as a whole. We are not each other’s competition.
Far too often, women attempt to prove their worthiness by putting other women down or discrediting their beauty, success or accomplishments. According to a 2014 article in Psychology Today, “High status and highly attractive women need less help and protection from other women and are less motivated to invest in other women (who represent potential competition).” This information is disheartening; however, it is not a shock. Many of us allow how we feel about ourselves or what others have said to us to dictate how we carry ourselves, dictate our self-esteem, dictate our value, and dictate how we deal with our sisters. Comparison and competition leaves room for jealousy, envy, resentment and potential bitterness. This is why many women have a hard time complimenting others or helping them achieve their goals. Many of us feel ‘less than’ because we don’t have what others have or because we don’t look like someone else. Why do you have to compete with someone else? Why attempt to be someone else? You can dye your hair, shave your head bald, start going to the gym and get a tan. But, guess what? You are still not your sister. Honestly, what some deem as competition may instead mask feelings of insecurity.
Iyanla Vanzant stated during an Oprah LifeClass that, “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” She said when we feel we are not good enough, our mind begin to think that we have to do something about it by changing our authentic self.
I’ve been there before. I am the youngest of five children. I remember being 13 years old and questioning why I was overweight. I questioned how I was the youngest in the family, yet I weighed the most of all of my siblings. I started believing that I was ugly. No one wanted me. I was too big. I made it a point to weigh less than them. I became desperate. Desperation makes us do desperate things. I went for the quick fix and stopped eating. I became anorexic. I allowed my confidence to diminish because I was trying to compete with my sisters. What I failed to realize is that it doesn’t matter what I look like on the outside if my inside is all jacked up.
Here are some ways we can decrease competition and increase love and support:
- Run your own race. Stop comparing yourself, your looks, or your success to others. Stop focusing on what others are doing, and focus on your own goals and passion. Don’t try to start a business because that’s what others are doing. If it isn’t your passion or goal, don’t do it simply because you see others doing it. This is also a great time to develop your gifts and talents.
- Be confident in who you are. It is imperative that we are confident in whom we are and our gifts. Don’t try to be the size, weight or color of someone else. Don’t try to have a personality like anyone else. Be your authentic self. You can only ‘pretend’ for so long before your true identity will be revealed. Your true personality, true knowledge, true understanding, true looks, true character, will eventually be revealed. Everyone is not able to sing, dance, become an entrepreneur, go to law school or cook. That’s okay. If you want to learn a gift or talent like your sister, then ask. Ask them how they got started or for suggestions to learn more. It’s okay to be inspired by your sister.
- Celebrate with others. Yes, learn to rejoice with others. Learn to give compliments. Learn to encourage and support other women. Your sister’s success does not equate to your failure. Your sister’s attractiveness does not mean you are unattractive.
When you realize who you are and get busy fulfilling your purpose, you will not have time to compete with or envy others. From a personal standpoint, I believe there is no competition. In order for there to be competition, there has to be at least two people competing. Honestly, the only person we need to compete with is the one staring back at us in the mirror. I challenge you to release your competitive spirit and instead look at your sister as a potential collaborator, a potential cheerleader, and a potential confidante. Walk the path that God has created for you and love the person God created you to be. God knew what He was doing when He created you!
Shpancer, N. (2014). Feminine Foes: New Science Explores Female Competition. Psychology Today.