I know it’s pretty tough but it looks like it is actually getting harder and harder for young girls to feel like it is absolutely ok to be different, to be unique to not follow the crowd, to be themselves, embracing authenticity. I recently did another workshop for a group of thirteen- to fifteen-year-old girls and they were absolutely fabulous! I mean, they were on point with everything and just downright fierce! The group of 17 showed up so confidently and they also showed up as one collective, supportive unit. They had a great day together, laughing, playing, joking, encouraging each other and really absorbing all that there was to discuss and take in.
At the end of the day, I asked “so after today, what will be the biggest challenge for you in keeping your promise to yourself and each other to just be you, no matter what?” One brave soul raised her hand and said,
“well, I like me…I love me…and I know I’m good, you know like I’m pretty cool. But I’m different….I’m just really different….we’re all different from each other, and most of the people at school. What’s hard is just being different because people notice you….and it can make you feel a little uncomfortable.”
Then the entire group said, in unison,
Ugh, I just looked at all their beautiful faces and thought to myself, different group, different times, same bottom line challenge. Being different is hard! And we still have so much work to do in facilitating appreciation of differences. I mean, I can’t think of one person who hasn’t looked through their Facebook feed even just over the past week alone and not realized that we, the adults, grown folks, even lose our minds when different perspectives arise. How can we expect our young, up and coming women to operate any differently?
Dr. Seuss said it so simply
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Great question but man oh man can it be hard sometimes….often times. So what do we do about this? Action plan for the week:
- Accept that it can be hard. It just is. Fact. So accept that it is. The moved into reflection, thinking about all the hard things that you’ve done in life, despite the fact that they were difficult. What’s the gain?!?!? LOTS!!!
- Accept that though being different may be hard for you, it may be even harder for others, those who just don’t embrace your differences….and that’s really just not your problem…so keep it moving. Imagine the loss to the world, your circle and those with whom you interact if you didn’t allow yourself to stand out?, prioritizing others’ comfort around you over your own unique value? What a loss…..
- Decide how you will stand out. For some of us it’s our hair, our shape, our skin color, our personality, a whole slew of things. Decide what your “stand out” factor(s) is/are and decide what you think of it before anyone else does and walk in it!
- Strut in it. Slay in it!!!! Stand out!