Girl, Be Brave

 Guest Contributor: Shannon Braasch, MA

 Masters Level Clinician and Outreach Specialist at Reasons Eating Disorder Center

I have to admit, I have been thinking about what to share with you all for a while now.  I wanted my words to be profound and meaningful. I wanted it to be perfect.  But I just couldn’t seem to write anything that was “good enough.”  What I realized is that I need to be brave, put my thoughts down and share them---without over thinking them or worrying if you will like what you read. That is what I would ask of you; to be brave and have confidence in your beautiful mind and put a voice to those thoughts, without worrying about judgement or perfection.  So I am here, to lead by example, being brave and unapologetic. Because I am enough, and so are you.
So there, that’s a topic; let’s talk about how we can be unapologetic, brave, resilient girls and celebrate our enoughness.

No Apologies 
I am not saying that you should never apologize—but just be more aware of how you use an apology.  Apologies are meant to build trust and are an opportunity for us to own and acknowledge when we have done something wrong. Apologies are a promise that we will do better next time, and become ineffective and meaningless when we break that promise.  Apologies are valuable when used in the right way. However, as girls, we find ourselves apologizing for just being.  We are made to feel guilty for taking up space, for speaking up, for being noisy, for not looking a certain way and for not feeling or thinking a certain way.  I want to encourage you to stop apologizing for your existence---use your voice, speak your mind, take space, make noise, get dirty, make mistakes—and learn from them.  Remember apologies are to be meaningful. A great first step towards being a no apologies type of girl is to be thoughtful with the words “I’m sorry.” Notice when you say them and think about it---was it a meaningful, trust building moment, or was it out of guilt for just being you?  

Be Brave
My guess is these words are some that you have heard before. There are even a lot of songs about showing up for ourselves and being brave!  Why? Because, it is important.  Being brave doesn’t mean that you have to go first, be the toughest, or show no fear.  Being brave means that you take a deep breath and stand up for yourself, trust your gut, and make a choice; even if it not the “cool or popular” choice.  Bravery may mean stepping outside of your comfort zone, and trying something new.  It means that you are a no apologies type of girl and that you celebrate the things that make you, well… you. Being brave means instead of hiding your feelings, you honor them. Remember,   it is okay to feel the feels, and is actually super healthy for you! You can learn more about understanding your emotions here.  Being brave means standing up for others and helping them to be brave too. Brave girls help those who are hurting and lift them up.

Own Your Enoughness
I know enoughness isn’t technically a word, but you know what, it should be! This is SO important! Daily, girls [and this is true for all genders] are fed lies of what it means to be good enough.  Let me tell you IT IS ALL CRAP!   We are all beautiful, experience success in different ways, and create and express ourselves in different ways-- all in which are enough. Your self-worth is not defined by your body type, your sexual orientation, your gender, what you wear, your skin color, where you live, how much money you have, your family or your friends. Your worth comes from within and can be expressed through kindness, bravery and love.  So I encourage you to celebrate and express your enoughness! 

Trust Your Inner Resilience
Please remember, that everything I am encouraging you to do takes time and it is not easy-- so be patient with yourself. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes it is about making the unpopular choice. This can lead to discomfort and probably a few awkward and difficult moments. Our ability to recover from difficult situations or “get through the tough stuff” is because of our inner resilience. The stronger our resilience is, the quicker we can bounce back from difficult situations. It is important to strengthen and trust in your resiliency; you can read more about how you can do this here.  

I want to leave you with this, being a girl is tough, scratch that… being a human is tough! We all mess up, stumble and have moments where we second guess whether or not we are enough, and that is okay. Just remember it is at times like these where you have to dig deep within yourself and continue to be kind [starting with being kind to yourself], be brave, trust in your resiliency and love with all of your heart.  Because the truth is, you are enough, we are all enough—and if we can all just be a little more forgiving, loving and accepting, our enoughness will shine!