Dear All the Girls I Know (Especially Those Aged 11-22),
I have 2 words for you: LISTEN UP.
I have to say that I’m tired of …well, a lot of things…but I’m ESPECIALLY tired of seeing beautiful, talented, smart, special young ladies beating themselves up. I’m tired of hearing about your entire self-worth being based on ridiculous standards and unrealistic goals. I’m tired of you feeling sad and depressed and not good enough. So, here is my list of things I want you to know. I’m no genius. I’m no prophet. I’m just somebody who has been there. I’m not trying to make you feel worse. Far from it! I’m writing what I wish I could have told myself 10 or 20 (Gasp! I’m old!) years ago.
1. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.
I can’t tell you how sad it makes me to hear that some of you think that you aren’t enough. ENOUGH FOR WHO? (Or WHOM, to be correct) Who are you trying to please? Are you trying to please that popular girl or guy? Are you trying to please the boss or the entire membership of Pinterest? Are you competing with that Instagram-aholic at the end of the road? Are you trying to please every single person in your life? Are you trying to be good enough for a boyfriend? Let me tell you this – sure, there are things that you could improve – do you want to make an A instead of a B? Do you want to run a 5k? Do you want to make better brownies or learn a new language? There’s nothing wrong with working hard for a goal…. but just know that at the base of it, when all is said and done, when the grades, the makeup, the social status is stripped away, YOU. ARE. GOOD. ENOUGH. Do you know why? Because YOU were created in the image of God and HE Is the ONLY (can I repeat ONLY) one you need to please. You are pretty enough. You are smart enough. You are strong enough. You are just as you are supposed to be. Do you think that by beating yourself up, you will make things any better? Probably not. Accept the fabulous creature you are because you are ENOUGH and more to GOD.
2. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
It pains me to see 11 and 12-year-old girls on diets or on quests to straighten their hair or hide their “flaws” (what are those anyway?) or just thinking that they aren’t pretty. As I sit here, I’m trying to think of ONE ugly girl I know.
Thinking…. thinking…. thinking……NOPE. I can’t think of one. You are lovely and beautiful. I don’t care if you are “fat” or “skinny” or “too tall” or “too short” or your nose is “big” or your hair is “weird,” YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Let me tell you, it seriously does not matter. Now, in saying this, I do have to say that there is something to be said for putting your best foot forward. Nothing wrong with dressing nice, and accentuating your best features, or wearing colors that make your eyes shine…I’m talking about the obsession with physical nonsense that consumes so many women today. If somebody isn’t friends with you, based on something physical, you DO NOT need to blink an eye – run the other way. That person is NOT a friend. if somebody (especially a boyfriend) makes fun of you for being fat or skinny or whatever, drop them like a 10-pound bowling ball and say “Buh-Bye.” Some of the most beautiful women I know would probably be described as old or wrinkly or fat or in need of a serious makeover, by today’s standards. Do you know what people will remember you by? NONE OF THAT! They will remember that you were kind. They will remember that you were gracious. They will remember that you had great work ethic or that you fought for what is right. If at the end of your life, the only thing that anybody could think of to put on your headstone is “Wow – She Was Really Pretty”, I think that would be pretty sad. Know that you are beautiful on the outside, as well as the inside and know that beauty is not the ultimate test in life. Sometimes it helps – mostly it doesn’t matter.
3. NOBODY IS PERFECT
This one can apply to me today. My life is completely nuts these days and it has taken a lot for me to let go of some stuff. Stop trying to be perfect. What is that anyway? NOBODY, let me repeat NOBODY is perfect. This is something that you will learn in hindsight. Later in life, you will discover that the girl you were so jealous of because her life seemed “perfect” had her own struggles. You will discover that the people who seemed to have everything might turn out to be the ones to throw it all away for something like an addiction. You will discover that those “Perfect” women are not – they have the same insecurities and troubles and trials that you do. And, they also might be some of the loneliest, most hurting people you know. I’m not saying that you should be happy when those people struggle, but I am saying that you should not put people up on pedestals. Looks are 99% deceiving. Get to know people and get to know your fabulous imperfect self. Perfection is like a Monet painting. From far off, you see something completely different than what you’d see from 2 inches away from the canvas.
4. STOP COMPARING YOURSELVES.
There is ALWAYS going to be somebody who is better at WHATEVER than you. Who cares? There is always going to be somebody richer, more in shape, has a “better” job, has a nicer car, lives in a bigger house….and the list goes on to infinity. You cannot have the best of everything – STOP COMPARING YOURSELF. It is a complete and total waste of time and effort. Again, I have to say that there is nothing wrong with admiring something about somebody and trying to use that to inspire you to be the best person you can be…. but if you constantly compare yourself to others, all you will do is stand still. If everybody compared their wealth to Bill Gates, we’d never even attempt to work – what’s the use? If we all compared ourselves to Lance Armstrong, nobody would ever even TOUCH a bicycle. You see my point – there is always (especially in this information age) going to be somebody who is judged “better” than you at everything. Again, I say “WHO CARES!?!?!?!?” Be the best you can be. Try new things. Do things just for fun. Laugh at yourself when things go wrong. Surround yourself with people who don’t compare you to other things either – who accept you exactly as you are. I have been blessed to have a core group of friends who, I am convinced, would treat me the same if I had $10 Million in my pocket…. or ten CENTS in my pocket. Comparing gets you nowhere – it’s an exercise in futility and will only stunt your success, your motivation, and ultimately your satisfaction with life. Be satisfied with what you have and what you are today. Learn to be content. It’s ok to strive for a goal, but to find yourself in a place where you can be content in any circumstance – that’s the true standard of happiness.
5. IF YOU MUST DATE, DATE A MAN.
And this is going to seem out of place, but I must talk about the guys. I’m a mother of 2 small boys and if nothing else, I want my boys to be MEN. And what do I want for you? I want YOU to date a MAN. Stop giggling. I’m not saying to go find some creepy old 42-year-old dude to date. (EEK!) But what I am saying is don’t waste your time on boys. Don’t waste your time on immature creeps who lack the morals, manners, or self-confidence necessary to date YOU. You will get out of a relationship EXACTLY what you put up with – if you let somebody walk all over you, guess what?
You will get walked all over for the rest of that relationship. What do I mean by a “MAN?” I mean date somebody who first, has a relationship with God. There is nothing more attractive than for a man to have a relationship with God. If this is there, you don’t have to worry about all the other things, or not near as much anyway. Secondly, date a MAN who respects women. I don’t know exactly where I fall on the “Women’s Movement” scale. I’m not exactly the damsel in distress, but I’m also not going to refuse a door being opened for me. I appreciate a man with manners. I appreciate a man who will pull out a chair for me. I appreciate a man who will listen to my ideas and sees me as an equal. I appreciate a man who will appreciate the “woman” things about me – like how I can’t watch movies about animals without crying. Men who put women down or think they belong in “a woman’s place” are NO GOOD. I don’t know any other way to say that.
There is a difference in a man who respects and loves and leads WITH his wife and a man who expects his wife to serve him, like he is the master and she is the servant. Don’t waste your time on boys. Don’t waste your good years, your broken tears (hey that rhymed!) on boys. When you run across the right MAN, you will know the difference. Boys are into appearances. Boys will be embarrassed by things you do. Boys will tell you to shut up or say mean things to you. Boys will throw your mistakes in your face. Boys will make you feel less and not more. Boys will always put themselves first. MEN will be proud to have you by their side. MEN will love you the same no matter if you are having a bad hair day or not. MEN will want you around. MEN will forgive with grace and accept you as you are. MEN will see you as a partner, not a servant. MEN will lift you up and protect you. Have I made my point? PLEASE – if you’re going to date – DATE A MAN.
Well, that was perfectly random, I know. I just want you all to know how infinitely fabulous and beautiful and wonderful you are. If I haven’t said that to you, I’m sorry. If I have and you thought it was weird, well, I apologize for that too. I want you to be confident in all the beauty that God has blessed you with. You, beloved, are enough and never forget that YOU ARE LOVED!