Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm Awesome Day

In our society, as women, we are so frequently encouraged to disparage ourselves. It starts at a very young age, and in a way such that most girls don't even realize they're doing it. However, once it is brought to our attention, we suddenly realize just how prevalent it is.

"My hair's a mess."
"Ugh. I feel so fat today."
"I look like crap."
"My boobs are so small."
"My ass is huge."

How many of us have said things like this? How many of us heard other women saying these things? During my time with Girls Inc. of Indianapolis, I developed a program which is one of my proudest professional accomplishments. It is called Redefining Beauty. It's goal is simple: to teach girls to appreciate the bodies they have and to find non-appearance based ways to value their own beauty.

For one of the activities in this program, we examined these "bad body thoughts" (examples of which are listed above.) I asked girls how many of them have heard another girl or woman say something bad about her body. Without fail, every girl, every program raised her hand.

The facts were sobering, but not surprising. We, as women, continuously put ourselves down. (And myself, the developer of a program aimed at alleviating this very thing, included.) What's further interesting about it is how the negative comments are almost always totally body focused. When we look at it this way, we see that this self hatred is really about LOOKS. We've really got to be about redefining beauty...recognizing the whole litany of things that make us who we are and not (just) focusing on our bodies.

I want to start a movement...I want it to be called "I'm Awesome Day" (or something.) I want women across the world to take a moment to pause and reflect upon their strengths. In this spirit, I sat down and wrote 50 reasons why I'm awesome, below.

You should try it. It's strangely fun and therapeutic. And disappointingly hard at the same time. But either way, I think it's healthy...not only to remind each of us of the beautiful, unique person we are, but also to do some introspection. Do it! Have your own I'm Awesome Day.

1) I have passions that motivate me (social justice issues).
2) I am dedicated to life long learning.
3) I'm an excellent paper-writer.
4) I'm a loving wife.
5) I rarely give up on anything or anyone.
6) I'm incredibly loyal.
7) I have great taste in movies.
8) I take my education seriously and truly appreciate it.
9) I'm organized.
10) I'm funny.
11) I'm smart.
12) I'm a natural at parallel parking.
13) I can make beautiful jewelry (with the right supplies and resources!)
14) I'm a natural leader.
15) I'm fiercely independent.
16) I have great grammar.
17) I make wise decisions and I'm responsible.
18) I'm great with kids.
19) I'm not complacent.
20) I can do a hilarious Cher impression, but I only reveal it to my most trusted people.
21) I am a clean(ish) person. Getting better at least.
22) I'm a lovey drunk...but I don't drink often and when I do, it's never to excess.
23) I'm capable of putting myself in other people's shoes.
24) I properly use cliche's---and not too often.
25) I can find the beauty in others.
26) I value ethics over success.
27) It might take a while, but I can admit when I'm wrong.
28) Once I admit I'm wrong, I know how to apologize.
29) I have a fantastic shoe collection.
30) I'd rather be with people than be alone, but I 'd rather be alone than with the wrong people.
31) I choose love over hate.
32) I'm a critical thinker.
33) I'm realistic.
34) I have hopes and dreams for a great future.
35) So long as you deserve it, I will trust you.
36) I don't settle.
37) I make a mean baked mac n cheese.
38) I love to learn about new cultures.
39) I'm open minded...not as much as I could be, but I'm working on it.
40) I am confident.
41) I like to try new things...like foods and activities.
42) I value different view points, but I will make you logically defend your opinions.
43) I can logically defend my opinions.
44) I don't judge people on their race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, looks, or sexuality. I let you show me who you are.
45) I try to be as helpful as possible.
46) I don't lie, but I'm not unnecessarily tactless either.
47) I'm not afraid to be different.
48) I don't define myself solely by my relationship to other people (wife, sister, daughter, etc.) but I do strive to be the best I can be in those roles.
49) I love fully.
50) I advocate for myself and others when I see what I feel is an injustice.

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