Last week a video campaign by Always went viral on the internal. The 3 minute video was called #LikeAGirl and has been viewed over 25 million times (so if you have seen it already skip to underneath the video because I am sharing a fun exercise for you to try out to up your confidence!).
Watch #LikeAGirl here:
The video points to a number of really interesting observations about:
1. Stereotypes. The video made me seriously wonder when -in my own life- doing anything “like a girl” became a bad thing, an insult, and a sign of weakness. When did I become aware that doing things "like a girl" was something I should try to avoid?
2. Self-perception of girls as they grow from little girls into teenager into adults. The younger girls in the video were clearly fierce runners, throwers, and fighters, but the older girls had already “learned” that doing things “like a girl” meant the opposite of fierce, passionate, bold, and confident. It meant worrying about your hair while running, letting a ball drop out of your uncoordinated hand while throwing, and scratching like a kitten when fighting.
The sad thing is that if they had video-taped me first, I would have probably laughed and done the same thing. I hate to admit that so much, but it’s true!
As a girl who grew up with a lot of boys and loved getting dirty on the soccer field, I have been referring to myself as a tomboy growing up. It showed that I was fierce, a strong team-player, didn’t care about getting my hands dirty, AND that I wasn't like a "normal girl." It showed that I could keep up with the boys (or so I hoped!). I didn’t know how to be girl and still be tough. As I got older I then oftentimes struggled with understanding who I am as a woman and what the concept of femininity, feminism, and female power meant to me. I felt disconnected and didn’t know how to express parts of myself that seemed contradictory or opposite.
Similarly last week I had a very interesting conversation with a lovely client of mine. The gist of our conversation was that oftentimes it can feel like we have to decide what kind of woman and person we are and then stick with that strictly.
The reality, however, is that we have 1000 different parts, edges, faces, characteristics, and aspects that make us who we -uniquely- are. They don’t all have to make perfect sense and they most certainly don’t all have to fit into a perfect cookie-cutter drawer that society laid out for us.
"What we truly and earnestly aspire to be, that in some sense we are. The mere aspiration, by changing the frame of the mind, for the moment realizes itself." - Anna Jameson
So in an effort to expand our view of ourselves and give ourselves permission to be exactly who we are (which is the foundation of becoming it), I want to pass on an exercise to you:
- take a picture of yourself that you like
- print it out
- spill out all of your different sides and characteristics onto the paper. It doesn’t matter if these parts of yourself are currently expressed in your life or if they have been living inside of you quietly waiting to burst out.
Whatever you feel inside, whatever you desire to be, put it down on the picture. Don’t think about it too much, just allow everything to flow out without sensorship.
Who says you cannot be sweet AND sexy, introverted AND silly, soft AND fierce, adventurous AND quiet… It all starts with giving yourself permission to be exactly who you are.
“WHO AM I LETTING MYSELF BE?” is a much more important and potent question than “Who should I be?” (tweet it!)
In the comments below, I’d love to hear from you: what parts of you would you like to live out more? What sides of you have you repressed because they “didn’t make sense” or felt intimidating?
with <3 as always!