You may have recently seen the image circulating from the Golden Globes awards of Jamie Lee Curtis cheering for Michelle Yeoh when she won an award. Ok, not just cheering. That is too weak of a word. If you saw this picture out of context, you would think Jamie Lee Curtis was the winner.
The pure, unabashed excitement and happiness emanating from this image struck a chord with me.
Why? Because for most of my early adult life, I am not so sure I would have had such a reaction had I not been the winner. Sure, I would have put on a happy face for my competition and wished congratulations and said all the right things. But inside I would have felt the ugly green-eyed monster of jealousy rearing its head. I would have wondered why I didn’t get the recognition, why I didn’t win. Why her and not me?
Wow, to see that in writing makes me think of a toddler who didn’t get her way, not an adult woman. I have since grown out of that, and try really hard to not make losses be about me and instead focus on all losses and experiences as growth opportunities. But not until recently, when I saw Jamie Lee Curtis and her exuberance for her coworker, did I really reevaluate what being happy for other women’s wins means for both of us.
From an early age, women have a tendency to compete with one other.
I don’t know if it is ingrained in our DNA or if we see this happening on the shows we watch and in social media, or a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I often felt a constant need to be if not equal in my accomplishments, better than my female friends and relatives. It took many years of disappointments — both in my personal life and my career — to realize that there was no competition to be won and no prize to receive. I started to recognize that the only person I should be in a competition with is myself, and even that should not always be the case.
One woman’s accomplishment is an accomplishment for all of us. It’s hard enough being a female at times. Why do we tear each other down rather than lift each other up? We get enough of that in society…no need to do it to each other.
My daughter is entering her most formative years, ones I remember from my own childhood and teenage years. I experienced many growing pains, particularly in finding my own sense of worth and building up my confidence. Part of my experience is in the relationships and friendships I kept. I wish I knew then what I know now, but as we know, hindsight plays a role.
I wish I could tell my 16-year-old self when I didn’t get recognized for something that seemed so important at the time, and wasted so much time being negative to the people who did achieve the things she was after, that she was going about it all wrong. Your time will come. And even if it never does…these are your sisters, your closest friends, your coworkers. Their achievements and successes are yours too. It takes so much more energy to be disappointed, depressed and jealous of others than it does to reach deep down and feel the joy and jubilation for these women.
When the tables are turned, how much sweeter is it to know that you have the exact same sentiments from your girls given right back? Even if you don’t get it…what have you got to lose by being the “Jamie” for your friends?
Life is not a cakewalk. You win some and you lose some. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who are invested in you. There are so many qualities that I think we look for in a friend. Common interests, sense of humor, same values, trustworthiness, and loyalty, to name a few. One that I plan on adding to my list of traits that make me a good friend is being a cheerleader.