“We’ve raised little boys in the dirt. As they use their plastic shovels, we praise them for digging up the earth. While girls are taught to avoid the mud because it will stain their dresses and skirts. Not only are we teaching young girls to walk this earth between these narrow lines, but this seeps into the minds of younger boys who later become young men…”
-Excerpt from the nonfiction essay “The Pavement” by: Fiona McHugh
A lot of us women have been raised to sit still, stand up straight, smile, brush your hair, apologize (even if you don’t mean it- because being “nice” and laid back will make you more likable and not a bitch), don’t speak if it will cause conflict or chaos, be skinny but also have boobs and make sure your ass isn’t flat, follow the rules, put other’s needs above ours, be polite, and you just absolutely must be: pretty. Now, if these are your values then maybe this post isn’t for you. But if you were taught that these “should” be your values and must be put before your intuition and what you truly value, keep reading.
Being polite and pretty is not what we came here to be.
We have been taught that these behaviors will make us accepted, likable, and even loved. “Forget that you have a sense of humor or are athletic, this is what makes you important.” Man, fuck that . If you feel like you’ve abandoned yourself to become the poster child for the behaviors listed above then here’s what to remember:
- Step Back: into yourself, and your own mind. Quit trying to be a mindreader. Stop trying to please everyone around you. If you continue focusing on everyone around you and aren’t in touch with yourself, this is when your battery will get depleted. If you find yourself feeling lost, resentful, or indecisive, chances are you need to come back to yourself and ask, “Aside from all opinions and/or obligations, what do I need right now?”
- Boundaries. If you need space, you don’t have to message back. Most of us would rather feel resentment for letting people cross a line, instead of guilt for creating a boundary.
- Stop Saying Sorry: This isn’t regarding if you morally did fuck up, but more of saying unnecessary “sorry’s”. I still am a culprit of this. These unnecessary sorry’s are used after stating opinions, passing by someone in a store aisle when they’re like 10 feet away, or randomly thrown in during conversations without context. “Oh sorry!” “Oh my god I’m so sorry!” Sorry, this sorry that, what are we?!!? Sorry for existing?!!?!?
- Choose Authenticity: Instead of striving to be good; choose authenticity.. You’re not actually being “good” if you’re not living in alignment with yourself. This goes for sharing your opinion, saying that joke, going for that career or training you’ve always wanted to do, saying what you like and don’t like during sex, and saying “shut the fuck up” if someone calls you too thin or too fat. I promise, it’s weird at first when you stay with yourself, but at the end of your life, you’ll be able to say that you lived your own life and not someone else’s.