My five year old is what people would call a girly girl. She loves pink, princesses, fairies, clothes, cute stuff, mermaids and ballet. She doesn’t like rough play, sports, scary movies, Halloween, climbing trees or going fast on her scooter. You get the picture?
I have always been in awe of her confidence. It’s not the cocky kind of confidence that’s based on achievements, praise from others or on being good at something. It is quiet confidence that comes from within, from really knowing who you are and being able to express that. Confidence that says ‘I am what I am and I’m proud of it. Do not ask me to change (because I won’t)’. It’s unconditional self-love we all were born with but at some point we learnt that we are not good enough and that we need to change in order to fit in.
Many people believe that the key to creating a more equal world is in the way we bring up our daughters and I agree, it is the key. However, I don’t agree with people (mostly women, sadly) who want to stop girls from being girly, avoid pink and princesses and so on. For some reason, these women see girliness as a weakness, somehow unintelligent and something disgusting (e.g. pink is often described as ‘vomit-inducing’) – perhaps it’s because of their own insecurities as women?
When you try to steer girls away from anything they naturally love (be it princesses or ninja turtles), no matter how gently, you are saying to them that they’re not good enough, that they need to change and hide their true self, that fitting in is more important than being yourself. So they grow up feeling not good enough, just like their mothers and soon we have another generation of insecure women.
If we want to change the world, we need to bring up girls who love themselves unconditionally and hence do not need others’ approval or recognition to feel worthy.
We need to give girls a chance to be who they want to be, we need to embrace them for that and not be afraid to let them be girls, so that they never lose that deep sense of confidence and self worth they were born with. We need to let them follow their hearts, fearlessly. We need to let them be brave enough to show their feelings and be emotional. The world does not need anymore tough people, the world needs people who are brave enough to be sensitive and vulnerable, people who understand that sensitivity is their strength, not their weakness.
We do not need men to recognise us or change for us and we do not need to fit in in a masculine world. All we need is for every woman to look within themselves and start loving themselves unconditionally and then the world with change.
Every woman has to look in the mirror and say ‘I am perfect. I am good enough. I am what I am and I love myself as I am. I am not going to change for anyone’ with the confidence of a five year old who hasn’t yet learnt that she is not good enough. We need to stop listening to others and take some time out to nurture ourselves; to come back to ourselves; to forgive ourselves; to soften our hearts again; to find our inner voice and say sorry for not listening to you; to get to know ourselves again; to cry all the tears we didn’t cry because we thought we had to be tough to be strong; to feel the hurt and pain we didn’t allow ourselves to feel; to find out what it is that we really like, what we are good at, and then go and do those things.
Women who love themselves unconditionally are not going to let anyone tell them that they can’t make it because they know true strength lies within. They’re not even going to feel that glass ceiling shattering as they bust through it and they certainly aren’t going to be afraid to ask for that pay rise they know they deserve.
Loving ourselves is what is going to change the world and the change starts with women, each and every single one of us. Do not sit around waiting for someone to change the world for you, start changing it yourself, today, because you have the power.