Everything you come into contact with in the modern world contains a message, and although the messages are often detrimental, or at the very least, confusing, to both men and women, the messages designed for women often contain similar content. They tell us:
WHO we should be
WHAT size we should strive for
WHY we should look a certain way
HOW we should do it.
Up until recently, the message was never:
You are good enough
You are smart
You are beautiful
You are worthy
They never said: You Can.
But what if we made a conscious decision to ignore the noise, to block out the sound of negativity, of all the voices saying that we can't, and believed that instead we can.
We could change the world.
A Woman Who Broke the Mold
We've all heard of Rosa Parks. Often called the mother of the Civil Rights Movement, she was a woman who simply refused to do what she was supposed to do. She stared in the face of the status quo and said, "No," so eloquently that the world would never be the same again. Although not the first to defy the laws against segregation in such a way, two more brazen women Irene Morgan and Sarah Louise Keys did it before her, Rosa Parks accomplished in this small act more than she ever would have known.
She ignored the noise, and thought "what if?" And her actions changed the world.
A Woman Who Faced Death
One of the more famous stories of the last decade has surrounded the tremendous young woman Malala Yousafzai. A native of Pakistan, Malala stood up to the Taliban, championing the right of education for all women, only to be shot in the head by her opposers. Despite her trauma, Malala overcame her injury and is now one of the world's leading voices on women's rights, especially the right for every woman to be educated. One small voice has shifted the balance in that region, one confident voice has changed the status quo.
You Too Can Change the World
I look at these two women, and the thousands of others who have lived throughout history, and wonder how many times people told them that they didn't have what it takes, that they would never achieve anything, that, for whatever reason, they weren't good enough.
Countless times, I'm sure.
But what it comes down to is not how many times someone tells you that you can't do it which determines what you are capable of becoming, but how many times you internalize it. Someone can tell you a thing, but unless you believe it, it won't become a part of you.
Yet knowing this and living this are two things entirely. The ever present barrage of media negativity has a debilitating way of seeping into our subconscious and taking up residence in our lives, controlling our actions, impacting our relationships, and shaping our self-esteem. If we don't realize how much the negativity of our environment is shaping our current reality, we can't combat it.
So what can we do?
Begin to realize that, despite the constant bombardment of messages which are trying to sell things you don't need, messages designed to play upon insecurities that you've dealt with for years, you don't have to listen.
I'll say it again.
You don't have to listen!
Instead, you can choose to believe a different story. One that tells you that you are worthy, one that tells you that you can be anything and do anything if you're committed to it and work hard to achieve it. Choose to be confident, to believe a different story, and you too can change the world.