These days, especially in the world of social media, it seems that it’s hard to miss a day when you don’t see or hear someone expressing how women should support each other more. I love to see women spreading messages that encourage us to work and win together so I’m not complaining at all, but I will say that I think “support” needs to be more clearly defined. What I have learned is that people often have expectations of others that can’t or won’t be met. I have also learned that people show love and define support differently. Support is not just or always likes and comments on social media, nor is just or always someone buying something for or from you. The younger and much less mature me defined support as people doing what I needed them to do when I needed them to do it. As an older and wiser version of myself, I understand that there are a variety of ways that people can show me support and I always need to be open to receive it, even when it’s not what I think I need most at the moment.
When I began my journey into entrepreneurship, like many others, my greatest need was money and the only way that I could see that someone was supporting me was if they were helping to finance my vision. I made the huge mistake of missing out on potentially great opportunities and relationships because I had that “if it ain’t about the money” mindset when people would contact me. Now, before you give me the side-eye, I didn’t behave that way because I was rude or mean. Trust me, I’m not even wired that way. It was just that, at the time, entrepreneurship was so new to me and in the midst of trying to make sense of things, I was experiencing the most difficult financial struggle of my life. So, having the money to stay afloat and continue pursuing my purpose was my main priority. Because I was so blinded by my struggle, I felt like if a person wasn’t supporting me financially, they couldn’t do anything for me. I’m so glad I got my mind right because I was so wrong.
Once I shifted my mindset and also became a woman who other women look to for support, I began to have a greater understanding of how my expectations of other women was once so flawed. The truth is, not everyone can or knows how to support you the way that you expect or would like them to. For example, you can’t get upset when you don’t receive financial support from people who are struggling financially. However, just because they can’t support you in the way that you want them to doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that they can do to support you. Even if all they can do right now is support you by liking your photos on social media, be thankful for that. Even if all that they know how to do right now is send you encouraging words and tell you verbally that they support you, accept what they give you with gratitude. Just because someone is not in the position to support you in the way that you think you need it most doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t cheerfully accept the kind of support they are able to give you. Be kind to everyone you meet because we are all constantly learning and growing. Just because a person can’t do it today doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to do it tomorrow. Be appreciative of any kindness a person shows you because you really have no idea where that relationship can take you.
I surround myself with goal-driven women who are about their families and careers. These women have husbands, children, businesses, wear many hats, and live very full lives. I live a very demanding life as well. In order for us to maintain healthy relationships, we had to update our expectations of each other. Unfortunately, social media has caused the destruction of many relationships because people are using it as a factor to determine how much someone supports them. People post photos and achievements, expect certain people to like and acknowledge them, and then get upset if they don’t. However, these same people never consider if the person they expected to acknowledge it even saw it. They assume because they saw them on social media liking other photos then they must have seen it. The way social media and my schedule are set-up these days, I have made it very clear to everyone that I care about not to expect me to see or acknowledge anything on social media. If they have something they want to share with me, tag me or tell me directly, but never assume that I saw anything. This has eliminated a lot of unnecessary miscommunications and conversations. Also, myself and the women in my circle had to accept that we won’t always be present to support every event or accomplishment for a variety of reasons. However, just because we can’t be there doesn’t mean that we don’t support each other. We have an understanding that we still love, celebrate, and support each other even if it’s just in spirit. This has relieved pressure on all of us because in our hearts we always want to be present and available, but realistically that’s just not always possible.
It is a must that we all be willing to open our minds and hearts to other women’s realities and struggles and stop tearing each other down when we don’t meet one another’s expectations. Instead of assuming the worst, try giving other women the benefit of the doubt. Assume that they would if they could until you prove different. Believe that other women are giving you their best until they show you different. Give other women the same grace, compassion, and understanding that you would like to receive. We’re all just trying to live, thrive, and survive. We will go much further together if we accept, appreciate, and love each other on the level that we’re on, as well as encourage, motivate, and support each other to rise higher. Be and do your best daily and trust that other women are doing the same.