“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.” -Dr. Seuss
You are beautiful and the world needs you.
If you take a look at this picture what do you see? Sea Shells. Some of them are big. Some of them are small. They all have different patterns, colours and shapes. Do you find yourself envious of the skinny ones? Do you think the large shell looks at the small shell with confusion? Do you think the little shell apologizes to be the big shell for being small? I doubt it.
Yet women have this tendency to look at each other and judge. We judge with wanting, envy and insecurity. We judge each other and we judge ourselves.
In the last few days, I have been on a number of different video calls with amazing women who are doing some really great things in the world. They are running their own businesses, heading non-profits, sewing clothes and providing shoes for people who don’t have any. Incredible things. Yet, for some reason, we start off almost every conversation by apologizing for the way we look.
“I haven’t done my makeup yet.”
“I didn’t know what to wear so I just threw this old thing on. I’ll change later.”
“I just don’t know what is happening with my hair today.”
It would be unfair to say that there is no reason for this. Women are judged for the way they look. A male news anchor in Australia wore the same suit, every day, for a year on air and no one noticed, his female counterpart wore a different outfit every single day and was constantly slammed in the media by both men and women for how she looked. An unfair double standard, no doubt, is there.
It is evident in the news, social media, magazines and reality TV. The media outlets are a reflection of deeply rooted societal norms. A seed is planted in our brains, of what it means to be a woman, as soon as we begin to tune into our senses. We internalize what we see, hear and feel. We learn to look and act in a certain ways. We apologize for anything out of the norm and we have an underlying need for someone else to give us permission to simply be in this world.
Not everyone is meant to be skinny. If you are, great. I know several skinny women who are desperate to have curves. And I know women who have curves that are desperately trying to get skinny. We try to be something else. We are our own worst critics.
We need to stop looking for external validation; it will never satisfy us. Stop apologizing for the way you look. You are beautiful. You are enough. And the world needs you and all your loveliness. It does not matter if you did you hair or make-up.
Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and tell yourself “I am perfectly imperfect and I am beautiful.” Notice if it changes the way you move throughout the day, the week, and your life.
Speak kindly to other women. Compliment not only for their amazing shoes but also the amazing gifts we have to offer to the world. Encourage one another to share these gifts. Whether she is a scientist, travel guide, fashion designer, stay-at-home-mom, or whatever; she is a key leading lady in this world.
The world is in a troubled state. It is crying for help with fires, earthquakes and war. It needs some feminine energy. We are the care takers. We are the nurturers. We are the leaders. We are the change makers. We are the future.
And it starts with you.
Be kind to yourself. Stop apologizing for your bad hair days. Stop asking permission to be. Be the odd one of the bunch. Embrace your quirkiness, it is what makes you- you.
The world needs you.