"Ugh she's so conceited!"
"I'm not conceited I'm confident!"
Those where phrases, insults and rebuttals I heard a lot as a young lady, while in middle and high school. I can not recall whether the phrases were ever directed at me or excited my mouth but I definitely remember hearing and being around them.
Saying to another young lady that she was conceited, I realize, was a way of tearing that female down. A way of trying to diminish her value and "put her in her place." The phrase came from both boys (usually who couldn't get the girl) or other females (who felt some or any type of way). The comeback, "I'm confident" was an attempt, by the female on the receiving end, to secure her peace and keep her head high.
I must say, I am EXTREMELY appreciative, in love with, and excited about the ways in which many women are able to lift each other up. Listen, if I walk by a female, whether I know her or not, and she is glowing, wearing a shoe I think is cute, a dress I like, or anything for that matter that catches my eye, better believe I am going to stop, if I can, and acknowledge it by way of a compliment, "yaaass sis! I know that's right!" etc.
On the same note, if there is something I can say that will pour into or fill you up, admonish or redirect you to a more beneficial and positive outcome, I'll do that as well. These are the types of qualities I value in relationships I forge.
I am reminded of the story in the Bible with the woman who possessed the alabaster jar. This woman was known as a sinful woman. But, at the opportune time, found herself in the presence of Jesus. She came before Him with all she had. In her alabaster jar she had oil/perfumer (worth a year's wage) and used it to wash the feet of Jesus. Those around called her stupid for haven taken the valuable oil to perform such a seemingly ludicrous gesture. By-standers were furious she had not sold the perfume and given to the poor. Ignoring them, this woman remained Christ centered and confident in her actions. Imagine if she had a fellow sister or supporter there to cheer her on? Oh wait, she did! She had Jesus. In return Jesus turned to those nearby and said, "This woman has done a beautiful thing...she did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial...I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." (Mark 14:6,8,9. NIV). There is so much more to unpack about this story but I'll stop there.
As I raise daughters I am instilling in them the importance of knowing where their beauty lies. It's not in the outward appearance that may garner a compliment. It is in fact from within. When they realize the God who lives in them is the giver and sustainer of their beauty, they will:
Always know who's they are
Never have to compare their beauty and worth to another
Never have to tear another woman down
Always return to The Source when feeling downtrodden, insecure, or belittled.
For my sisters:
Sis, there are going to be many people who will hurl insults your way, call you stupid, try to tear you down or diminish your shine. Some of these individuals will do this outwardly and maliciously, while others may fall into the trap of participating in gossip. Regardless, keep your focus. If you haven't heard the famous quote let me enlighten you: "The battle is not yours, it's the Lord's."
For my brothers:
Do not box in, tear down, or be threatened by a woman flowing in her God given calling and purpose. If she is for you she will be for you. If not, let her go. Trust that God has the right mate for you who collectively causes you both to shine and thrive.
My desire is that the light of Christ that lives in me will shine forth on the outside. So when people see me they see Him and declare "there's something different about her."
Some quotes I've come across that are also encouragements:
Until next time...