The most appalling part of her story was the fact that the mothers of "The Perfects" actually condone this behavior. They laugh and joke that "It's so cute" and post on Facebook "Did you see it was pink day at school for The Perfects?".
I could not believe that this was going on amongst seventh graders. When I think back to middle school, I will be the first to admit that those were the worst years of my life. I did not have very many friends and I was chubby and a nerd. I would beg my mom to let me drop out of school and be homeschooled - but somehow, I don't remember it being on THIS level. My friend's stories seemed like a scene out of Mean Girls. A dramatization a little too extreme, just to get a point across. But this is, in fact, happening at this middle school and somehow these little 12 year old girls have started the cycle of competition and cliques at such a young age.
Blogging can be very competitive. I've seen girls ruin friendships because they get too focused on the success or growth of other people's blogs. I recently chatted with one of my good blogging friends about jealousy and how it can be extremely detrimental. I've caught myself looking at something a friend of mine succeeded at or an amazing opportunity that came their way - and I've envied it. I've had those thoughts of "Why didn't that happen to me?" or "How do they gain so many followers?". But every time that happens, I stop and keep myself in check. Especially when I'm having those feelings towards a good friend of mine. I know it's just evil creeping in and trying to ruin or affect a beautiful relationship I have made with that person. I squash those feelings and thoughts, and then make the effort to encourage or congratulate my friend on their success. I've found that by nipping it in the bud as fast as possible, and then being positive instead, I don't have a chance to develop or focus on those feelings of jealousy.
The biggest problems arise when women let their jealousy or feelings of competition grow into a situation where they begin to exclude others. I've never really understood what it accomplishes when you create a tight circle and don't let others in. Not only are you keeping out the people you don't deem worthy to be friends with you, but you are unknowingly shutting out other women who may have turned out to be dear friends - but they never approach you because of your clique. These things don't just happen among blogging circles on the internet, but also among women on an every day basis...And as I just learned, can start as early as 7th grade.
I've seen these quotes floating around the past few weeks and they are so true:
They may sound cliche, but why do we feel the need to compete or be jealous of other people's success? There isn't a set number of who can accomplish certain things in life. There is room for everyone and it feels so much better when you are helping and encouraging each other, rather than solely looking out for yourself. My hope is that I will be able to instill these principles in Rilynn as she grows into a little girl. My heart would be broken if I found out she was part of something like The Perfects.
What are some things you do to keep your heart and mind in check when jealousy tries to creep in? Have you ever found yourself on the outside of someone else's clique or circle?