The Greens

By Susan Deitz

November 23, 2016 3 min read

Green is the color of competitiveness and jealousy, and it's definitely not a feel-good shade. Single women would have achieved much more solidarity by now if not for the competition they're taught to enter in early childhood. In a zillion ways, subtle and overt, we're brainwashed to believe that looking better and being cleverer than the next woman will charm a man into choosing us. I'm not telling you anything new or startling, but seeing as sisterhood is an important part of this column (and your future), let's dump some of the garbage that's kept women from a feeling of community.

The way to resist the rat race and the jealous "greens" is by remembering that you are sui generis, one of a kind, unique in all the world. To compare yourself with another woman is an exercise in futility — an exercise I don't recommend. By seeing other women as competitors, you're perpetuating old ways of relating that do nothing but keep you frazzled and less than excited about woman-to-woman relating. We've been turning every day into a race for men when all any of us need is one good one. Like each of the women you know, you have your own life plan to live. Boosting your personal strengths and building on them will bring more gratification than molding yourself into someone else's pattern. And seeing as self-development is a process without a finish line, a life lived true to it will leave no time to worry about a possible rival. Really, there is none. It's you and your goals. Period. But if you thrive on competition and you simply must compete, then compete with yourself. Hold an inner Olympics to surpass your most recent achievement. And while you're doing that, remember to be gentle with the runner-up.

Still, despite the best intentions, that green-eyed monster will surface from time to time. And when it does, there's a way to make it a positive learning experience: Cool down and use your head to pinpoint exactly what it is you envy, and then strive to emulate it. And when you see your competitors as younger, prettier women, notice the components of their attractiveness and get to work on your own best points. Learn the makeup technique right for you. Get enough sleep and exercise. And for Pete's sake, keep on piling up life experiences! Interesting people are rarities. (Ahem.) To chew your nails over snow bunnies, with their carefree smiles and seemingly poreless skin, is merely an excuse to regress to the waiting room and sit out the best dances. When you're living in the present and feeding yourself generously from its richness, there's simply no time (and no reason) to salivate over someone else's portion.

(To be continued next week.)

Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]

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