This is a question I have always asked myself several times based on the various 'encounters' I have: Why are women more mean to women?
1. Researchers say that women try to take down other women whom they perceive as rivals for male attention.
2. This happens in order to 'eliminate competition.'
3. The more attractive a woman is, the more likely she is to be a target for contempt.
Independent of the research findings, I want to share here some of my experience:
Some years ago, I was stranded in Mumbai airport because the pilot couldn't land in Delhi due to low visibility on the runway. So, the flight was diverted to Mumbai. I was traveling alone and recovering very slowly from a bout of jaundice that had left me very weak and worse, my cellphone had developed some technical problem and I was unable to make calls. We reached Mumbai airport at about 12 am but were immediately whisked off in a bus to a hotel that was an hour away.
I knew my husband and my parents would worry a lot. I asked several ladies who were using their cell phones if I could make one call. The funny thing is that each lady had an excuse like "I am not comfortable giving my phone to strangers" and "Sorry, maybe another time" and "I wish I could help but it doesn't seem I can" and "My phone has no charge." The last excuse is interesting because the person saying it dials in thrice after telling me this to talk to her folks.
It's fine, really. But at that time, I was tired, ill and almost in tears. Seeing my state, a gentleman who was talking on the phone to his wife, quickly told her that "I will call you back" and then said to me, "Why don't you use my phone and call your husband?"
It's that simple. It takes less than a minute to practice compassion but that makes a big difference to a person who needs it desperately at that hour. You reinforce that person's belief in the goodness of God and the Universe as positive energies that send messengers just when you need help the most.
Another time, I had forgotten to take my cellphone when I went out with my family to a big mall. As it was on a holiday, there was a constant flow of people and I got separated from my husband and son. I looked everywhere but couldn't locate them. So I requested three different women if I can make a call and I explained why I needed to call.
I got the coldest and most scathing looks from them. These are well-dressed, fine speaking and 'educated' women I am referring to.
Then I put forward the same request to a man and he immediately gave me his cell phone to make that call.
None of this is being said to convey that men are better individuals than women or anything of the sort. But even at most workplaces, I still find it easier to work on projects with men than women. There are no temper tantrums, no fuss about who said what five years ago, no trivial issues raked up at crucial points when things get botched up and so on.
Another fact is that women, knowingly or unknowingly, bring their own personal issues and prejudices to the workplace. This tends to affect the quality of their interactions with those they work with and the overall decision making process. Unless women are able to condition their minds to switch off from their personal problems, they are likely to behave in continuity of those problems at the workplace.
One of the finest teachings that has helped me to ''switch off from my personal zone" when I reach the workplace is this:
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, "Work is worship. When you do any task, see it as an offering to God. "
This teaching has helped me beyond any words can express. The moment I am at my office desk, I am able to completely forget the personal side of me - my home, my child, my family - everything actually vanishes from my mind's vision and only my work matters. I also believe that this ability has helped me a lot in gaining the confidence and trust of those whom I have worked for in the past and in the present.
And I owe that ability, that confidence to be able to let go - to my beloved God and Guru - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.