Honest

What Mean Girls Taught Me

(the movie, not the ones I went to high school with)

I quickly realized two things in life: I loved mermaids, and girls of all ages had insecurities. These crippling insecurities that leave you feeling alone and inadequate. So I started a movement called “The Mermaid Theory”. If you Google the phrase “the mermaid theory”, you’ll find it’s definition states that the longer you are around a person the more beauty you see in them, in a roundabout way at least.

Take that same idea and apply it to yourself. Challenge yourself to love who you are. Everything about you. Accept your beauty. That’s my passion. Encouraging women. This is a movement to change the way we as women are wired. Redefine beauty. Allow yourself to feel empowered.

I’ve been playing around with an idea. Something to the effect that if we as women made an effort to not vocalize our insecurities so frequently, something good might start happening.

Play this out in your head:

Friend: “I can’t wear that shirt tonight. It makes me look fat.”

You: “Are you kidding? Your stomach looks great! Way better than mine. I gained three pounds this week.”

Wait.

Stop talking for a sec.

Why must we always acknowledge what we see about ourselves that we don’t like? Why can’t we leave it at, “Your stomach looks great!” Just compliment. Be genuine with your compliments, but look to build up without tearing yourself down. And if that conversation sounds crazy to you, it’s not. I’ve overheard them and I’ve been a part of them. That conversation happened about every weekend in college as we were getting ready to go out to uptown (or lay on the couch until E! stopped playing Sex and the City for the night).

I think inadvertently we can speak our insecurities out loud and in turn we make others aware of things that they hadn’t even thought about being insecure over. I have proof of this.

I received an email from a mid-teen the other day voicing her appreciation for mermaids (obviously she’s my new best friend now). Her email read: “I am happy with my body and obsessed with mermaids. I saw [your site] and was instantly happy that someone put two good things together! So many girls I know aren’t happy with who they are and occasionally I start to think I’m not happy with myself either.”

I. Get. This. This girl hears friends critique their own figures and those comments don’t go unnoticed. They affect her way of thinking and force her to fight against a negative mindset more than she has to to begin with.

Think “Mean Girls” here. You know that scene. Where Gretchen, Regina and Karen are all staring in the mirror together, taking turns pointing out their “flawed” characteristics without missing a beat. And poor Cady, raised in a remote town in Africa, had no idea up to this point that women took the time to partake in this self inflicted roast. She couldn’t even think of something of hers to critique (besides her morning breath. That movie still makes me laugh.) There’s so much truth to that scene, and as silly as that movie is, it’s eye opening. It sheds light on our culture and how we instinctively learn to point out how we’ll never meet the world’s standard for “good enough”. We should find a way around encouraging self loathing by vocalizing what we see wrong in the mirror.

Take it a step further. If you hear a friend criticize something about herself, don’t you immediately check in with yourself and see how you rate compared to her hair … nails … hips? And you’re not doing it to be petty, I know it. It’s just an instinct for us to think about the “flaw” we just heard our friend critique. So, next time your friend says, “I feel so fat” just reply with “You look great!”. She doesn’t need to hear that you hate that your stomach hasn’t seen an abdominal muscle, like ever, so compared to you she looks amazing. I know you might be trying to relate to her. I actually really understand that, and have done it/do it all the time and need to break that habit.

Encourage a healthy perspective. There’s a fine line between relatable and degrading. I am all about transparency, that’s the reason I started The Mermaid Theory. Women linking arms, sharing insecurities, and offering encouragement is something this world needs a heck of a lot more of. Beating yourself down, however, for the sake of being relatable isn’t healthy or beneficial to anyone. So I dare you and me to focus less on our “man hands” or “flat butt” and more on what we get to accomplish and who we get to encourage. Don’t miss out on your potential by living in your own world of insecurities. Get outside that world and make something happen. Be the change that needs to take place in the world of women. Start the domino effect. And maybe watch Mean Girls tonight for a good laugh and great reality check.

– image credit: Lindyn Williams

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