Almost 7 years ago, when I was pregnant with my youngest child, I really believed that I was pregnant with a boy. We had three girls already and I just really thought that this unexpected pregnancy was going to result in something different. When I saw the ultrasound, I knew immediately that I was wrong – and my husband knew by the tears that were welling up in my eyes that he was also wrong. Another daughter… We would soon have four girls.
We briefly went through a weird crying phase, not wanting to believe that this was in the cards for us. When we announced the news to our friends and family (and to everyone on social media) we got a lot of the same responses – “Better get your guns ready!” or “Oh, bless your hearts!” and other things along that line (although those responses have not stopped). One that has stuck with me, however, was from a very dear friend… She said, “That’s awesome! You get to be an expert on girls!” It changed my thoughts and although I will never truly be an expert, I definitely know a lot about females and how we all think and interact with each other.
One thing I absolutely know – without a doubt – is sometimes it just sucks being a girl. We FEEL too much. We are overly critical of ourselves. We often wonder if people are watching us and wondering what they are thinking. We wonder what we are doing wrong – in our parenting, in our marriages, with our family and friends, with our bodies – and it goes on.
Yesterday, my husband caught me doing something I wasn’t even aware I was doing. After visiting my grandfather in the hospital, we went to grab something to eat at a restaurant. I was zoned-out – thinking about my family and eating my food. I eventually locked eyes with my husband and said “What?” He said, “I’m just watching you watch people – you don’t even know you’re doing it.” He explained to me that I was looking people up and down – I was mortified! Let me tell you why…
A few years ago, when I was in the best shape of my life, I caught a very prominent woman in the fitness industry doing this to me. I watched her eyes start at my feet and travel all the way up my body and I could feel myself stop breathing. Her eyes eventually met mine and she smiled at me. I half smiled back at her and eventually started breathing again. I will never know what was going through her mind – maybe nothing! – But, it has stuck with me forever – because I assumed she was thinking something horrible.
Women are so hard on each other and on ourselves. We are often afraid to speak up or speak out – even when it’s something positive! I believe in the power of the compliment… when someone catches you watching them, speak up – tell them you like their hair or their boots or their eyes. Women thrive on positivity – whether they think so or not. Yes, I have said these things before, but we need a reminder every once in a while.
Yes, sometimes it sucks being a girl, but it can also be one of the most powerful, uplifting things in the world! God gave us the very unique and amazing gift to give life – this doesn’t have to be literal. We have the gift to give life to those who may feel that they are not worthy enough – or pretty enough – or fit enough – or WHATEVER – to take part in something. SPEAK UP – SPEAK OUT! Tell someone something good – TODAY. And every day.
I hope that my daughters learn this lesson early in life and that they can freely give hope and power to others.
It feels much better to build people up than it does to tear them down.