Society today revolves around judgment, criticism, and the feeling of always comparing yourself to someone. Blame it on social media, blame it on the media, blame it on human nature. Regardless, it is never-ending. In elementary school, you worry about who your best friend is and whose sleepover you didn’t get invited to. In high school, you worry about your clothes, your hair, your make-up. Fast forward years later, and to motherhood, and you are never as good as the Pinterest mom, the room mom, your mom best friend. Hiding behind a screen, people have the courage to degrade and criticize. It’s hard to read those comments as a 31-year-old woman, even when they aren’t directed at me.
My oldest starts kindergarten next year. I have so much anxiety regarding this monumental step, but my biggest concern? Mean girls.
Looking back, I admit at times I was a mean girl. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I know that I did not always lift up the girls surrounding me. Out of jealousy, out of lack of self-confidence, or even looking for a laugh, I know I hurt people. I wish every girl I ever hurt could read this and know that I am truly, truly sorry for making them sad, hurt, or question anything about themselves. You are enough. You are beautiful. You are capable.
With kindergarten looming in just a few short months, my heart aches for the tears that will come. For the confusion and the questioning that my super sweet, very sensitive girl will start to experience. She has already experienced a true mean girl without really noticing. At least I hope she did not notice. But, I did. And the worst part? The other girl’s mom was sitting right there and chuckled as she degraded my child. Sassy is only cute until it’s just plain rude.
Moms. Dads. Step-parents. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Listen up. We have all experienced bullies and that is exactly what a mean girl is. How did that make you feel?
I’ll give you a second…
Did it make you feel happy? Empowered? Strong?
I doubt it.
And, how many of us have been the one to dish out the hurtful comments?
How did that make you feel? When you saw tears well in the other person’s eyes? When you saw the other person’s cheeks flush bright red?
Happiness is such an easy concept, yet is oftentimes unattainable. Three years ago I met a woman who left me in awe. In the three years I’ve known her, I have never heard her say a negative word about another person and I have never heard her criticize another person. And honestly, I absolutely love being around her. She dishes compliments and she literally means every word she says. Her level of self-confidence is what I dream to attain. Just thinking about her makes me smile.
That’s who I want my daughters to be. I want my daughters to know that a compliment makes both people feel great. I want my daughters to include everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation. If/when my daughters run across a mean girl/bully, I hope they are strong enough to know those hurtful words don’t mean a thing. I want my girls to have the self-confidence to know their worth. I want my daughters to build your kids up and not tear them down. I want my daughters to compliment, not criticize. I want my girls to want to make others smile.
The greatest compliment I have ever received about my oldest was given by the mother of my daughter’s classmate. She went out of her way to tell me how sweet my kiddo is. That means more to me than a 4.0 GPA, a homecoming queen tiara, or being a standout athlete. Kindness affects everyone and everyone is capable of being kind. If I can choose one thing for my girls, I want them to make other girls feel good about themselves. I hope they find other girls that make them feel good about themselves.