Community Over Competition
Have you ever found yourself knowingly withholding a compliment? Maybe I’m showing my Regina George here, but bear with me. Have you ever had kind or thoughtful words about someone else spin around in your brain, but you reel them in before they even have a chance to escape your mouth? Maybe you type most of the words only to find yourself hitting delete, delete, delete. I’ll admit - I do this all the time. Anyone else? Show of hands? Don’t leave me out on this limb alone, guys...
:::desperately hopes that a few others will come forward too:::
I’ll be sitting on my couch perusing my newsfeed and see something that catches my eye. A beautiful picture, cute kids or an inspirational story. It’ll affect me enough to want to type something in the comment box, “You look amazing!”, “When did your sweet kiddos get so big?” or “Where was this taken? It’s gorgeous!” but before I get a chance to post it, I’ll change my mind. I’ll see that someone has made a similar comment already. Or maybe I’ll notice that the article has already been shared quite a few times. All of the sudden my initial desire to celebrate or extend a kind word is gone. Why? What exactly is it that causes me to then delete, delete, delete? At this point it actually takes more effort to erase what I’ve typed than to just post it, right? So why not follow-through and post the comment?
Why don't we support our friends?
What is the root of this action (or inaction)? Is it jealousy? The illusion of competition? Do I refrain from commenting because I don’t want to appear to be a fangirl? Do I play it cool because I think I’ll be perceived as too clingy or needy? “She already has all of these comments, she doesn’t need more”.
NEWSFLASH: We all ALWAYS need more kind words.
Giving a compliment is never the wrong answer. Speaking encouragement is never the wrong answer. Being loving and kind is never the wrong answer.
For me? I’ll reluctantly claim all of those reasons above. It doesn’t feel good (in fact it feels really ugly and makes me wince a bit), but I’ll tell you that I’ve withheld a comment or compliment because of jealousy. I’ve scrolled right on by someone because they’re already “popular”. I’ve refrained from sharing some love because I’ve deemed the other person as having “enough love” and encouragement already. But who the heck am I decide what “enough love” is?
I can hear a little voice in my head saying (with a lot of attitude):
“Girl, that is NOT your job”.
The real source of our inaction
Honestly, I think a lot of it stems from my own fears and insecurity. I’ve been in a lot of conversations with friends recently that revolve around vulnerability and authenticity, and I think that this topic fits into that discussion quite nicely. We talk about how vulnerability is something that we’ve avoided like the plague because we thought that it makes us look weak. We’ve steered clear of vulnerability because it’s hard to have the difficult conversation where you admit hurt, failure or fear. We haven’t wanted to be vulnerable because we think we need to be strong, independent and powerful; isn’t that what people want these days?
Brene Brown said,”The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I'm willing to show you. In you, it's courage and daring. In me, it's weakness”. She nailed it. Honestly, I think we love vulnerability when we see it in others, but somehow when we ourselves are vulnerable it feels too scary, so we avoid it. But how do we usually feel when someone makes themselves vulnerable to us by giving us a compliment? Do we think, “You are so weak”, “You must be so jealous of me” or “I already know that”.
OF COURSE NOT
(unless you really are Regina George)
So what ARE we doing when we give a compliment? We are in essence saying, “You’re amazing. You’re awesome. You have something special. You’re doing a great job”. We are encouraging. Basically, the point of giving a compliment is for the benefit of the recipient. We do it to raise someone else up.
Are we afraid of raising others up?
I think our first response to the question would be “No”.
The correct answer is “No”. The selfless answer is “No”.
The culturally appropriate answer is, “Raising others up is so important”.
AND IT IS.
So why do we shrink back from it?
Do we think that somehow we will end up losing
some of our own value, worth or significance?
But is that actually true?
For some reason it feels true, but it isn’t. We feel exposed when we give a compliment. Perhaps it’s because we’re admitting what we truly think or feel. Maybe because we’re being honest and transparent. Maybe because for an instant our world isn’t revolving around ourselves.
What are we NOT doing when we give a compliment? We’re not saying that we are of any less value, worth or significance. We’re just putting our own agenda aside for a split second and thinking of someone else. We’re extending a kind word that deserves to be said. We’re building someone else up. A great example of this is a quote that I’ve seen making the rounds recently that says, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”. We literally lose nothing by extending a kind word or giving a compliment. If anything, we end up being surrounded by something bright and beautiful by sparking something within others with our words.
Or maybe (as a sweet friend reminded me today) we just don’t think that others need to hear it. Maybe we think they’ve received enough encouragement, they’re doing well and they exude confidence, so they don’t need it. They have it together, they’re popular and they’re successful, so why would they need my words? Perhaps we think that our words aren’t important to them or that they’re just a drop in an ocean of compliments and encouragement.
Personally, I’m here to tell you that each and every one of those drops matter to me. I’m in the process of gathering as many of those drops as I possibly can and putting them all over my office so that on hard days I can be reminded why I’m even doing this. Allow me to say it again, YOUR WORDS MATTER. To me and to everyone else who has the privilege of hearing them.
Why I am I going out of my way to tell you this right now? Because I know that many of us have been going out on a limb. We’re starting new businesses, launching blogs, selling products that we believe in, trying to earn more money for our families and its SCARY.
Do you know that?
I love what I’m doing but it terrifies me.
And it terrifies others that are in similar positions.
WHY? Because we’re investing in something that we can’t be sure will pan out. Because we’re putting ourselves out there for the ENTIRE WORLD to see. Because it takes effort and energy and it feels vulnerable. Because...what if it fails?
We are constantly second guessing ourselves: Will they understand what I meant by that? Will I ever reach my goal? Is what I said offensive? Is this inventory going to sell? Are people even going to agree with what I wrote? How am I going to meet my quota this month? No one wants to hear what I have to say because I’m not “qualified”. No one is sharing because they don’t believe in what I’m saying.
These are all actual thoughts that I’ve had.
Time to share some love
So, I’m here to tell you that we need you. I need you. They need you. ESPECIALLY if you believe in what it is that we’re doing. We have enough negativity rolling around in our heads to keep us from action (seriously, for each compliment bucket, there are probably 5 negative buckets). What we need can be something as simple as, “I love what you’re doing”, “that really resonated with me” or “thanks for sharing”. You might not be able to buy a product because of your budget, but words are always free and I encourage you to use them.
So, brave ones - the ones taking a risk, the ones being vulnerable, the ones who took a paycut to pursue their dreams, the ones who get up early and stay up late to work on your second and third projects, the ones expressing themselves creatively, the ones wondering if this is all worth it: I see you. I support you. I admire you. You are doing an AMAZING thing, and the world needs you, your voice, your gift. Please keep doing what you’re doing.
And cheerleaders - you are such an important part of our work. It may sound silly, but we couldn’t do what we do without a support system behind us and we value each and every word that you take the time to say or to post.
Now more than ever, I think I’m understanding the importance of encouragement. Not just in receiving it, but in dishing it out also. So, just in case you’re wondering, “how can I help a friend who has a small business/blog”, I’ve compiled a list of friends who are stepping out and doing something brave, potentially risky and AWESOME.
Go give them some love <3
For your entertainment and inspiration:
Heather Wilson Tomoyasu
Momtrepreneur Heather Tomoyasu runs a successful blog US Japan Fam and YouTube channel with over a million views, showcasing the craziness of traveling the world and raising twins plus one in Brooklyn, while reviewing and giving away the best products for children and families. She also founded Bay Ridge Families, producing helpful weekly roundups of family-friendly events and annual resources such as local summer camps and year-round activities for babies and toddlers!
Rena Rene Mangold
BLOG - A secular city mom. We are a family from Salt Lake City Utah that moved to Brooklyn Nov 2016. I am here to share stories about family life in a big city, raising boys, being mixed race, empowering women, and more.
Our hope with our YouTube channel is to inspire you right where you are. We are a family vlogs of raising 7 kids. Their ages are from 8 months to 10 years old. Their names are Legend, Epic, Icon, Historic, Inspire, Greatness and Courage. We are trying to tell the best story about doing life in the Bold North "Minnesota". We only do product reviews on things that we use to tell the story or use to raise our kids.
I started a YouTube channel two months ago and this is my first video! I do vlogs, challenges and overall entertainment content. It's a lot of fun!
I am most likely going to named Miss Wheelchair New Hampshire, and going to compete July for Miss Wheelchair America. My initiatives include accessibility, inclusion, and diversity. www.Mswheelchairamerica.org
Amazing services and resources:
Brooklyn Home Organizers offers thoughtful home organization services. You can read more about how Jessica helped us out at our home here!
Leadership business coach - helping women entrepreneurs build successful profitable businesses while seeking balance and stability in their lives. Check out my website or my facebook page!
Personal fitness trainer, motivator & Mom. Fitness training in the comfort and privacy of your home. Check out my website: www.trainingwithrachael.com
I have a financial practice helping families and small businesses with their long term financial planning. This includes retirement planning, college funding, and insurance reviews! Learn more about Amber here.
A year ago I was dragging my feet not wanting to take the leap to become a director of a Classical Conversations homeschooling group. I ended up going for it, and now I can’t imagine life without the wonderful families I see every week at our co-op!
I started a blog last year that is meant to encourage Christian families. Discipleship starts at home and here are some tips to help! www.raisinglittledisciples.com
Kacey Fleck Kaufman
I coach women to find more joy and fulfilling balance in the role mother. www.theradmom.com
*Kerry O'Connor Kunsch
I help people land their next great job by writing compelling resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles! Learn more about the business here!
Products you’ll ADORE!
Hare Brook Farm! Offering fresh beef, pork and chicken grown on the farm, no antibiotics or growth hormones. Along with fresh grown fruits and veggies while in season, and homemade jams and jellies made from locally grown fruits, and baked goods!
I started a business with Younique and love to help as much as I can!
I sell beautiful handmade headbands, beanies and soon apparel too on Etsy. Come stop by my shop!
I have a few hustles going on, one of them is coaching/teaching acting to professional or beginning professional actors, but no website for that yet. My main hustle is custom portraits! It’s simple: you send me a photo, I make it into art. Shira Gregory Studio www.shiragregorystudio.com or @shiragregorystudio on instagram! Currently raising $ through my art for Everytown USA. Facepainting for kids coming soon!
Lori Lefebvre Ford
This is my Arbonne business website. Pure safe and beneficial beauty and nutritional products. The nutrition line has changed my life!
*Karen D Riz
I am an educator and distributor of high quality CBD oil and CBD products for health and wellness. Find me on Instagram @brooklynhemphealer or visit my the website: www.brooklynhemphealer.com
Katie Martin Richardson
Just a mom/nurse trying to help people gain confidence through feeling good about their skin. Check out her website here.
Jenny Cluff Perreault
I’m a Mom who shares my passion for Natural Health, Yoga & Natural Beauty products. I’m doing a spring sale right now. Would love to have you ladies tune in. Learn more here!
My wife Syd and I have actually just opened our online retail store for astronomy enthusiasts. We have equipment available for beginners and seasoned pros alike. Visit our astronomy products website here. BBM readers can use the code "BBM15" at checkout for 15% off their entire order!
Dayna S Landry
I recently signed up to be a distributor for It Works. We are a health and wellness company that offers over 40 awesome weight loss products and supplements and even a skincare line, products for energy, essential oils, and more! I joined to bring in a side income. As a post graduate I have lots of student loans to pay off! Get in touch by sending me an email!
(People who are marked with an * are my Brooklyn based homies)