One of my favorite songs by reggae legend, Bob Marley is a tune off of his Rastaman Vibration album called, Who The Cap Fit. I read somewhere that the wolves in sheep’s clothing hate this song. I can see why.
This Jamaican-infused melody is filled with cautionary tales about people who pretend to love you but scheme behind your back, plotting your demise. My favorite line in the 4:44 tune warns that “your worst enemy could be your best friend and your best friend, your worst enemy.” I have lived this. But, not in the way you’d think.
Years ago, I worked at a company and had the displeasure of constantly bumping heads with a woman who felt I was trying to hold her back professionally. She accused me of being threatened by her. I wasn’t. She viewed me as an enemy, constantly badmouthed me to other staff and disrespected me to my face. I stood my ground. What she didn’t know is that for years, I had worked behind the scenes trying to elevate her.
My boss at the time did not care for this woman and had repeatedly refused to promote her. Like clockwork for close to a year, I would go to my boss and plead this woman’s case, explaining that she deserved an opportunity to not only assume more responsibility, but make more money. I was constantly shut down. Despite my efforts behind the scenes, I never threw it in this woman’s face what I was doing for her. It’s not my style.
One day, the woman in question had gone to our boss to report me. He called both of us to the boardroom. I sat in silence. She made her case, claiming that I was hater who was trying to hold her back. This went on for 10 minutes until my boss interrupted and shut her down. He was livid. He let her know that for close to a year I had been trying to get her a better position and more money. He said he did not want to give her a promotion because she didn’t deserve it. She was stunned. I turned to my boss and told him that I wish he had never said anything because I would never have thrown it in her face. His exact words were, “You didn’t have to say it. I did!”
This woman thought I was her worst enemy. She had no clue how hard I was fighting for her.
I can honestly say that other than my crazy teenage years when I spent a short period hating on singer, Brandy Norwood, (read all about it here), I have never envied or put down other women. Whenever I encounter a woman who is doing great things that I admire, I ask her to share tips and guide me. I am equally willing to impart the knowledge I have.
I have seen some women speak badly about other women who are top performers or beautiful. The hating doesn’t change anything. It’s fruitless.
I understand why they do it, though. It’s insecurity. Someone has something that they want and they view it as unattainable, so they destroy the person fortunate enough to have it.
Are there days when I feel inadequate? Yes. Are there times when I feel someone is outperforming me? You bet. Are there moments when I feel down because I know I could have done better? Absolutely. We all go through those moments.
It’s how we handle it that matters. I refuse to tear another woman down because she is more beautiful than me or smarter than me or more talented.
God gave each of us our own gifts. Unwrap them, say thank you and wear them with pride. Don’t allow them to sit in a corner collecting dust while you admire somebody else’s.
Also to the ladies, please don’t be a foe dressed-up as an ally. If you harbor deeply-rooted insecurities and find yourself struggling to truly support and uplift another female, take the time to heal and work on yourself. There’s nothing worse than a woman pretending to have another’s back only to stab her in it.