8 Fierce Ways to Embrace Your Inner Girl Power
The Women’s March this weekend was nothing short of a phenomenal act of Girl Power. Millions of women of all ages stood together to peacefully to make sure their voice was heard about the issues that are important to them. This now historical day may be in the past, but we know that so many of you out there were left inspired by this incredible act that spanned the entire planet. No matter what your political beliefs are (or even if you don’t quite have any yet), YOU are fully capable of making a difference in the world or even just your own life.
Some days can feel like everything is super confusing and challenging – whether it be school or life or the world as a whole. You might disagree with your friends and family on important issues. Other times you’ll hear or see things that ignite that fire inside you and make you want to fight for a better life for you and those around you. Sometimes you might just feel overwhelmed or lost, unsure of how you can even change the grades on your report card, let alone something bigger. We’ve got some ways to help you follow your heart, get yourself un-stuck, and help you shine – even when the world seems stacked against you.
ALL girls can stand tall, use their voices, and make change together. Girl power isn’t always about being the loudest or making the biggest waves. Sometimes it’s the little things – like your infinite search for knowledge or the way you treat other girls, that make the biggest difference. The Women’s March started with just one voice, and look how that turned out! That’s why we’ve put together this list of advice to help you stay fierce and embrace your inner girl power all year long.
8 Fierce Ways to Embrace Your Inner Girl Power:
1. Dream Big
It might not seem that way now while you’re so young, but YOU are the future. You and your generation are in control of what you want to be when you grow up and what kind of world you want to live in. Whether you want to open your own cupcake shop, become a best-selling author, sail across the ocean like Moana, explore Mars, cure a disease, or even become President someday – all of your dreams are important, valid, and valuable. Even if you don’t achieve all of your dreams and goals, they’re important to have, and not just the big ones.
Small dreams and goals are important too. Even if your goals are simple, like “Get 100% on a Science test” or “Volunteer at an animal shelter”, they’re stepping stones on your path to your future. Dreams both big and small help you grow as a person and figure out who you are along the way. You’ll always have an open mind, endless curiosity, and a vivid imagination as you explore all the possibilities life has to offer you. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, try new things, and be the very best you that you can be. Also never forget that you don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s the hard stuff that truly helps us blossom.
As Hilary Clinton said during her concession speech: “…to all the little girls whose are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” Never. EVER. Forget. This. Live by it. Make it your mantra. These words are so important.
2. Stand Up for What You Believe In
If you or someone you know is being treated unfairly, SPEAK UP! All of the progress we’ve ever seen in the world all started because just ONE person with just ONE small voice decided to speak up and think differently. Think of the people you learn about at school, like Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. They eventually had supporters behind them, but it was the bravery of just ONE that started a movement. It’s important that you speak up respectfully, though. Violence and destruction are NOT the answer. Get involved and do your research. Learn everything you can about your cause and share your knowledge with others. If there’s something or someone you don’t understand, ask questions.
If someone is bullying you or someone else you know, tell your parents, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or some other adult you trust. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone else other than your parents, and that’s okay. If whoever you choose to confide in can’t help directly, they might know someone who can. If there’s someone you see being treated unfairly, offer to help. They may not feel brave enough to speak up on their own, but they might feel stronger with a friend by their side. Maybe you can work together with a teacher to educate your class about whatever it is that’s causing the problems. So much bullying stems from people who are acting out about something they don’t understand, so learning about that thing might help. The more you learn about the world and the people around you, the better. Then you’ll know when to speak up, when to take action, and the right ways to fix it. You’ve got a voice for a reason – use it!
3. Get Involved:
You might not be allowed to attend a protest just yet and you might be too young to vote, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to start getting involved. There’s lots of small ways you can help make a difference in the world around you, here’s a few:
Join the Student Council:
Representing your fellow students and peers will keep you in the loop about all the issues that are important to them. You’ll also be in the room when the important decisions are made and have your voice heard. You can be the one to suggest holding a bake sale to raise money for a cause that’s important to you. You can work with your peers and teachers to make real changes at your school. Suggest a culture fair, mental health awareness day, or healthier food in the cafeteria. Learn how to make suggestions and decisions that benefit the students as a whole rather than just a few. You’ll also learn how to make realistic demands. A rollercoaster in the gym might seem fun, but you’ll never get something like that approved. However, a class trip to a theme park could actually get approved. Knowing the difference is a huge step in the right direction.
Even if the most important decision you get to make is the theme of the school dance, you’ll have made it with your classmates in mind. You’ll have listened to their opinions and made an informed decision, considering all the factors. You’ll have to organize budgets and schedules and manage expectations. A school dance might not be life changing, but the skills you learn while planning it are extremely valuable as you grow up.
Join the Girl Scouts:
One of the things we look back on fondly was our time with the Girl Scouts. It’s a great opportunity to make a ton of friends you might not have met otherwise. You’ll embrace your inner DIY-er as you make fun crafts and discover your inner entrepreneur when you head out into the world to hustle those delicious cookies. You’ll get in some volunteer hours and be able to help the elderly, the homeless, and others who are in need of a little assistance. And the best part? You’ll earn badges for all those awesome new life skills you learn! There’s a badge for basically everything these days from dancing to coding to outdoor skills and photography. You’ll learn so much about yourself and so many other different types of girls. It’s a truly great experience that you can try out for just a little while or get involved and stick with it until you graduate High School. (Maybe you’ll even decide to become a Troop Leader one day!)
Become a volunteer or start making donations:
It’s time to put your hair up and get to work! One of the best things you can do on your journey to change the world is spend some time volunteering. Not only will you be helping others who really need it, the things you’ll learn from the experience are truly invaluable.
Some clubs at your school might be focused on volunteer and charity efforts. Things like Key Club, Builders Club, or Philanthropy Club are generally focused on making positive change. Clubs like these are a great way to get started if you’ve never volunteered before. You’ll work together with your fellow students to help clean up parks, visit nursing homes, work at a soup kitchen, fundraise for a good cause, and do lots of good in your local community. Other things you might do in a club like this include spending time reading to kids at a children’s hospital, planting a community garden in your neighborhood, or spending a day at an animal shelter. You don’t need to join a club to do most of these things, but it’s definitely a great way to get involved if you’re a little hesitant or confused about how to get started. You can round up some friends or family members at any time to volunteer or just encourage them to help in their own way – like donations.
Donating money is obviously a great way to help, but sometimes you don’t have much to spare. No matter what your situation is, you can still get involved. Try donating your time to walk for awareness of a cause or disease. You can donate food, clothes, and toys. There might even be kids at your own school who’s families could use your help in some way. We’ve read countless stories of kids who’ve shared their lunches with a hungry student or shared some clothes with a friend who’s parents are trying so hard, yet just scraping by. Your gestures don’t have to be huge to make a positive impact.
Learning about the way other people live and how their struggles differ from yours can really change your perspective and make you compassionate, humble, and grateful for the things you have.
4. Be Yourself:
The most important thing you can be in this world is YOURSELF. Every single person is different and we each bring something special to the table. Your bright outlook on life will get you through a hard day. Your silly sense of humor might be the laugh that a kid in your class really needed that day. Stay true to who you are. If you like to wear polkadots and plaid together, wear it, and wear it proudly. Who says you have to match? If you like different music than your best friend, always make sure there’s room for the songs you both love on the playlist so you can get to know each other better.
There’s so much pressure to fit in when you’re growing up, but you don’t have to give in. If you like the trendy thing, embrace it. If you like the non-trendy thing, embrace that too. Just be true to who you are and what you like. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle or stifle your voice. We’re all made up of different opinions and feelings and interests. We’re all raised by different families with different beliefs. So how can we all be expected to be exactly the same? You’re not any less of a person because you prefers pants to dresses, tea to coffee, girls to boys, or science to cheerleading. You can even be a person who loves ALL those things. As people, we’re mashups, mixtapes, remixes. Whatever it is you love, do it and do it proudly. It’s so much easier to be confidently yourself than struggling to remember who you are.
5. Do The Things You Love:
If you love soccer, play soccer. If you love writing, write your heart out. Love to draw? Unleash your inner artist. When things get hard, it’s these little passions that will help you unwind, relax, and remind you who you are. Bad day at school? Once your homework is done, whip out a canvas and start painting. In a fight with your brother? Toss on some music and start dancing. Whatever it is you love, use that thing to help you feel like yourself again when it feels like you’ve lost control or when days seem dark. Your hobbies and passions are a big part of who you are and will help you down the line in such unexpected ways.
Another vitally important thing you can do for yourself is learn how to relax. You’ve probably heard people discussing “self-care”. Self-care is VITAL. As a kid or teen, this can simply mean taking time to relax or making room in your life for the things you love. The older you get, the busier and harder your life will become. Tests will get harder, you’ll get a job, you’ll need to spend more time on responsibilities and less time on writing, gaming, baking, or playing sports. Self-care can be as simple as starting a gratitude journal, reminding yourself each day of the things that make you happy. Sometimes it’s adding a daily yoga or meditation practice into your routine. It can be as simple as letting yourself eat that donut once in awhile or making sure your weekends are spent doing things you LOVE.
Everyone handles stress differently – so it’s up to you to listen to what your body needs. Introverts might find that reading a book or spending time alone is more soothing for them. Extroverts thrive when they’re around people, so you might need to plan an outing with your besties. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about taking time for yourself once in a while. Being stressed out can definitely make you hustle harder, but too much stress can really destroy your body and burn you out. Take a break – it’s really, really okay. We promise.
7. Stop Putting Down Other Girls:
If you only choose one piece of advice from this list to follow – this is the one you should pick. Kindness goes such a long way. Girls have become increasingly mean and horrible to each other, especially in the age of social media. We need to learn how to build each other up and support each other – not tear each other down.
Stop obsessing over other girls bodies and being jealous of their accomplishments. Love your body as-is, or make changes to your body that make you feel confident and healthy. It doesn’t matter how anyone else looks. If someone beats you out for an award, putting them down doesn’t actually change anything. What could help is learning from her so that you can do better next time. She might have some great advice for you and you might have some tips for her as well. Stop spreading rumors or sharing others secrets. If you promised your BFF you’d keep something a secret, then keep your lips sealed. Unless it’s life threatening information, why risk breaking her trust? We need to be able to trust and confide in each other.
Hating, trolling, name-calling, scheming, criticizing, blaming, and shaming all need to end. If you feel a certain way, find a way to constructively express it. If someone truly gets on your nerves, figure out a way you can ignore them if it’s getting to you that bad. There are things you do that are probably annoying to someone out there too. If your friend fails a test, she’s not an idiot. She might just need some extra study time, which you can help her with. If another girl has a crush on the same person you do, she’s not evil. Your crush is obviously cute, funny, smart, and charming and other people are going to realize that too. Talk to her, you guys might actually similar taste in lots of things, not just who to date.
Most importantly, find a way to celebrate the girls in your life who make you happy. Surround yourself with them on a regular basis. Tell your mom how much you appreciate the things she does for you and stop complaining about the things she doesn’t. Congratulate your bestie when she aces a test. Help her study if she’s struggling. If you have a shy or anxious friend, try spending more one on one time with them instead of getting mad if they don’t want to attend the group hang.
Before you say something mean or judgy, think for a moment about how you might be able to word it in a kinder way. Is there a way you can turn a negative into a positive? Be complimentary and empowering, but make sure you mean it. Being fake is just as bad as being mean. Is there an opportunity for you to help someone else rather than hurt them? Even a courteous pat on the back, “great job”, or “thank you” can go a long way. Making changes like these have a positive influence on those around you and can help YOU be happier overall. At the very least, removing the negativity from your life will leave you with a lot more time on your hands.
8. Stay Curious:
Study, volunteer, ask questions, and get involved at every possible opportunity. Never stop learning, reading, wondering, or questioning. Continuously educate yourself about the things that are important to you and the things you don’t understand. Grab yourself a subscription to Kazoo Magazine. Watch shows and read books not just with stories you can relate to, but to ones you can’t. If you have the ability to visit other states and countries – take advantage of that. See how other people go about their day to day lives and try to understand the things that are important to them. Branch out from pizza and Starbucks and try foods from other cultures. Pizza will always be there for you when you need it.
Build something with your hands, even if there’s an easier way. Write your thoughts down on paper. Put your phone down and try to live in the moment, especially when you’re doing something important. Occasionally push yourself out of your comfort zone. Never, ever stop learning, even after you graduate. Always wonder how things work. Always be asking WHY.
“Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.” – Michelle Obama
Phew, that got long, but we hope we were able to help and inspire you to channel the girl power we know you’ve got burning inside you. Here’s how our friend Bethany helps make the world a better place with her charity, Color for Kids!