By Caitlin Alfonso, LMSW

Friend. Secret-Keeper. Partner. Teammate. Peer. Cheerleader. Soul Sister. Acquaintance. Guide. Challenger. BFF. Jokester. Classmate. Goal Getter. Mentor. Colleague. Advisor. Supporter. Club Member. Leader. Collaborator. The girl next to you can be a lot of things, but she is not your competition.

 There is an African Proverb that states: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. The reality is that we are always stronger together. We know that the best sports teams have multiple players with different strengths and when combined they are unstoppable. We know that when great minds come together, innovation is inevitable. We know that when leaders come together, change is possible.

However, for generations young ladies have been competing against one another. We try to outdo each other to get ahead. We are constantly comparing ourselves to each other and often put each other down. Eyes are rolled at each other’s success. Rumors are spread to humiliate and create doubt. All the while, behind closed doors we compare ourselves to each other, wishing we had something the other had.

The reality is that women are breaking barriers every day. Just two months into 2021 and the first African American/Asian American woman has been sworn into office as the Vice President of the United States of America. The 55th Super Bowl for the first time ever had two women coaches and the first ever woman to officiate the game. While these are both examples of women shattering ceilings, it sometimes reminds us of the illusion that there is not enough room for us all. At a young age, girls fall into the trap of thinking that in order to be successful they must be prettier, smarter, faster, bolder, overall “better” than any other girl around. As a result, girls learn to see other girls as competition – competition for relationships, academics, scholarships, jobs, etc.

However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Picture some of the world’s greatest architectural designs. They were not built just because an architect drew their design on a piece of paper. Like the proverb says, if you want to go fast go alone. You could be the lone architect with the pen and paper, holding on to a great idea and no way to move forward. However, if you want to go far, go together. In this case, you could take the time to build relationships with engineers, construction teams, interior designers, and together create and construct the building of your dreams. There is room for us all, if only we work together; girls who lift others, become women who empower others.

Now, take a second to imagine a world where instead of comparing and competing with each other, we complimented and believed in each other. Be the girl who tells an acquaintance you love her hair. Be the girl who congratulates her classmate when she correctly answers the extra-credit question. Be the girl who reassures her teammate that you know she will block the next goal because you believe in her abilities. Be that girl, because wouldn’t you like someone to be that girl for you?

Be that girl, because you can.


Caitlin Alfonso is a lover of coffee, reading, traveling and her dog, Remy. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and owner of Acornic Consulting LLC.