The other woman.
She is beautiful. Awesome. Everything I wished I could be.
She looks fabulous. Always so confident. She is completely comfortable with who she is.
She works out regularly, and you can definitely tell. Her outfit is always on point and she rocks her skinny jeans. Even after three kids.
Between her skin and her energy levels, you have to wonder what kind of juice she drinks in the morning, because you want some too.
She’s got it. Whatever it is, that’s what she has. Her life is totally, completely together.
And I find myself saying on a daily basis “I want to be The Other Woman.”
We all know her.
She might be an attorney, or a surgeon, or a manager, or even a stay-at-home mom. It doesn’t matter. Whatever she does, she excels at it and is fulfilled.
Her Facebook is full of posts with hashtags like #honored and #grateful and #blessed — and she means it.
And her arms – Yeah, she’s got those Michelle Obama arms too.
“Make me look like her. Please God.”
It might be a movie star, a woman at the school drop off line, someone in the grocery store or running the same trails you are, but she doesn’t look like she is drowning in her own sweat like you.
And in the drop-off line, you see her gorgeous, well-groomed kids jump into her shiny new car while you clear the clutter off your kids seats, dressed in whatever you threw on in your rush out the door this morning, just hoping that you look presentable enough for work.
And the thoughts invade your head…
Why does She have it all together, this other woman, when I so clearly do not?
The truth is, the other woman, really doesn’t have it all together. I know, I know because I have heard people say that I am the other woman. I have had long, heartfelt conversations with some of the “other women” in my own life.
And in their honesty and vulnerability, I realized that we are all the “other woman.”
I have seen one of my fittest (is that a real word) friends break down and binge on nutella and oreos, I have seen my fabulous rockstar friend struggle with an eating disorder, I have seen one of my most well-balanced looking friends drink herself into oblivion as a coping mechanism. I have heard them vent about heartbreak, about fights with their significant other, about the awful way they were raised, and about how they NEVER FEEL LIKE THEY CAN MEASURE UP.
My friend, it doesn’t matter what size you are, if you have six-pack abs, fake eyelashes, or if you workout daily… It doesn’t matter because “The Other Woman” doesn’t exist.
I have fallen into that way of thinking so many times. Talking in my Eeyore voice, “Everybody else is so much better than me.”
I mean, just look at their social media. Instagram and Facebook are full of fun people living extraordinary lives. They can handle their world so smoothly.
It seems like everyone else’s workout plans and diet plans help them lose, gain or have more energy so quickly and easily.
They have their life together. Everybody has everything you don’t.
It feels like you are alone, stuck with your particular problems. It feels like life is so much harder for you than for other people.
But honestly, my friend, there is no Everyone Else.
Everyone has reality, they have family, deadlines, stressors, age and metabolism issues.
Even Jessica Biel and Angelina Jolie can’t hide from the aging process.
Whoever your “other woman” is, I promise you, she doesn’t exist the way you think she does.
We are all human. That means we are imperfect, wonderful, and messy with hopes and fears and dreams. We hall have certain desires and neuroses and jobs and lives. Maybe kids or cats and dogs. All of us have family of some sort, good or bad. Everyone has a toilet that needs unclogging once in a while and no one can escape the little smile lines becoming wrinkles. Everyone’s alarm clock goes off too early, and most of us love chocolate chip cookies or ice cream a little too much. It’s called reality.
And here’s the thing. Nothing gets easier as long as you keep pretending.
Honesty and vulnerability are the only things that can improve your life.
Because it is only by being truthful with ourselves about what is happening in our world that we can change anything. We have to stop thinking that everyone else is more fit, smarter, stronger, getting it all done, has their life together, or is a good enough mom / girlfriend / employee, etc. And when we stop thinking of everyone else and what they are doing, we give ourselves the opportunity to work on becoming our own version of The Other Woman.
You are capable of change. You are capable of getting in shape, learning a new language, achieving your goals.
You can regain control of your life and your habits. You can overcome emotional and physical issues. You can take care of your kids and still take care of yourself. You even learn to love yourself, body, mind and soul. And you can be proud of yourself.
Yeah, it might seem a little crazy and impossible. But it’s all about the “Slight Edge.” (If you haven’t read that book, you should definitely do so.) Making a big life change, becoming the person you want to be, is all about the small, consistent changes and support. It’s totally doable.
You have to know what you want and what you are willing to sacrifice to accomplish it. Six pack abs? You better be willing to give a lot of time to the gym, weigh and measure your food portions, and make your world revolve around it. Be a great mom? Give up some of those fun, me-time activities to build memories with the kids, don’t veg out in front of the TV, ask questions that make you uncomfortable. An incredible relationship with your significant other? You have to learn how to communicate, be consistent, be willing to compromise, learn their love language, do things outside your comfort zone, and put their needs ahead of your own without losing your identity. Want to have lots of money? You will need to give up your time, be disciplined and consistent, go through ups and downs and face a lot of failures.
Make sure your expectations are realistic in the fact that they match the sacrifices you are willing to make. Yes, the sky is the limit, but you will need to choose your challenges wisely. I read something once that said in the hunt for success, you must “decide how you want to suffer” because everything worthwhile will take some sort of sacrifice.
Once you have set your expectations, find inspiration from “The Other Woman.” If your goal is to have more energy, find someone who never stops and ask them how they do it. Or if you see that mom who has a great relationship with her kids, always seems to be having fun, and is never afraid to be goofy or messy, ask her if she has any advice.
That woman who still looks amazing even though she is 20 years your senior? Ask her about her workout and skincare routine over the years.
Anything you want in your life, there is someone out there who has done/is doing it. Find them, ask them questions, learn, grow, invite people in.
Focus on progress, not perfection. You need to have words like “I am doing a little better” or “this is just practice” dancing around in your head now. That’s when you will make real progress. You have to focus on the little moments, the stuff that works. If you workout for 5 minutes today after not doing physical activity for years, that is BETTER. If you set your phone down for 30 minutes to really focus on being with your kids today, that is BETTER. If you kiss your spouse a little longer than normal, or tell them how sexy they are, you are doing SOMETHING to move it in a positive direction, to make it BETTER. It’s the small moments, the things you are able to do TODAY that make all the difference.
Success is almost always built from putting small things on top of small things on top of small things… until they’re transformed into big things.
The Other Woman knows this. So she implements small, daily habits to help her live a successful, fulfilling life.
And that is how she became that woman. No myth, no drugs, no luck. Just small, daily disciplines that are easy to do. Or easy not to do.
You get the choice. Today and every day.
So do I.
I’m excited about the journey and wish you all the best!
Funny, isn’t it? How we all see the best in others and compare it to our own worst?
Well put Shannon. Great post. 🙂
Thank you, Milanka. I appreciate you reading.
Great, great article! The other woman can never exist because it’s our imagination. Real women are imperfect! You’ve hit the point home and how,
Absolutely. We, as women, are so prone to comparison. It’s so unhealthy, and we really just need to figure out how to work together, so everyone becomes the best version of themselves.
Absolutely right. There’s no one perfect in this world.