Today marks a significant day for women all over the world. Officially declared by the United Nations in 2011, October 11 is the “Day of the Girl Child”.
The day is meant to promote girls’ human rights and shine a light on gender inequality. Each year, the “Day of the Girl Child” takes on a different theme. This year’s theme is meant to inspire, encourage, support and motivate young women to discover and unlock their full potential.
However, when we currently exist in a world where women are often taught to believe they are the inferior, weaker, less intelligent and more emotional than their male counterparts, it can be difficult to instill confidence in one another. But here’s the thing – change starts with us – women.
So, from one woman to another, here are four pearls of wisdom I’d like to impart to help encourage girls and women to tap into their potential and invest in themselves. Some I’ve learned on my own firsthand and some I’ve had the pleasure of learning from other inspiring and strong women in my life. But if I’ve learned anything, sharing our own experiences, allows us to connect and engage with one another, forging unwavering friendships and building long-lasting communities.
After all, one woman’s words is often all that is needed to shape another woman’s movement.
1. You can have courage or comfort, but you can’t have both.
It takes strength, determination, and bravery to act courageously. And no matter how you slice courage; its counterpart fear is always there. And let’s face it, fear never creates a comfortable space or welcoming environment.
But if I’ve learned anything over the years, the road of courage is much more rewarding and fulfilling than the path of comfort. Although it should be said that acts of courage aren’t always gigantic, monumental life-or-death, make-or-break moments. In fact, courageous acts are often small, subtle shifts – like learning to speak up and share your voice in the boardroom, owning up to your defeats and losses, or choosing to define yourself on your own terms – but that doesn’t make them any less significant or impactful.
The road of comfort is smooth, but don’t allow it to make you a passenger in your own life story. Because most often when courage comes a calling, it leads you to a better place, and more importantly, makes you a stronger, more resilient person – igniting a fire within your soul. The aftermath of these moments, allow you to be a better friend, a better child, a better parent – a better human.
2. Loving yourself takes time, but it’s worth the chase.
Everyone’s heard the phrase that someone was “worth the chase,” translating to the person being worth the pursuit of time and effort required to develop and maintain a relationship. But have you ever heard someone refer to themselves as being worth the chase?
Loving yourself is hard – especially when we are bombarded everyday with images and ideas with how one should act, look, think and feel. But the thing is each of us has something incredibly unique and valuable to offer, and simply because it differs from another person does not make our attributes any less treasured.
Take the time to pursue the road to loving yourself. It will be challenging, but when you love yourself, everything you touch is given more meaning and purpose because it’s exposed to your soul. And trust me, when you speak and act from the soul, the world becomes a much more beautiful place.
3. Breathe in the positive, exhale the negative
As women, we tend to internalize and overanalyze things (guilty!). Sometimes this can be a good thing, but sometimes it can lead to our own demise. As a result, it’s important to evaluate what matters and what doesn’t – especially when it comes to others’ opinions. Everyone has an opinion and is entitled to one, but that doesn’t mean we need to value them all.
Always enter conversations with an open mind and listen not to respond but to truly listen. After you’ve done this, evaluate whether what you’re hearing is meant to serve you or is only intended to hurt you. We won’t always like what we hear, but sometimes it’s coming from a place of good intention, offering an opportunity for growth.
So be mindful of what you’re hearing, and if what you’re hearing isn’t serving you shake it off and let it go. Exhale the bullshit. Trust me, you don’t need it.
4. Support the girl gang
This extends beyond your group of close-knit friends, family and peers. Strive to support other females. Train yourself to not view other women as competition, but instead as fellow comrades.
By creating a community that empowers one another to speak our minds, share our ideas, nurture our respective talents and support our differences, we will quickly become the best possible versions of ourselves, and overall, make womanhood a sacred and powerful collective.
Because when we invest in young women, we tap into a powerful resource.