You know how freaking insane this world can be. You live in it. You know that as a woman, you're expected to crack the glass ceiling while fetching the perfect man. You're supposed to love your body while spending countless hours sweating your way to the perfect shape. And you definitely have to push your way to the top while still being the perfectly nice, sweet girl you are.
Because that's totally possible, right?
If you think all of that sounds absolutely ridiculous, then thank freaking goodness. It is ridiculous. All of it. And in a world with so many distractions and double binds, it is truly difficult to stay centered and grounded. We can easily lose sight of what matters and succumb to the pressure luring us in every day.
That's why it's time to commit to the 10 Commandments of the Modern Girl living in this crazy world. May they bring you balance, determination, and peace. Lots of peace.
1. Thou shalt not be defined by a relationship status.
A relationship status is not the end-all-be-all for the modern girl. She is allowed to enjoy being single, being in relationships, being engaged, being married, or even being divorced. Gasp. She's not determined to rush to the next step, either. Marriage is a possibility -- not her everything. Lastly, modern girls are also not limited to friendships that mirror their own stage in life. She has friends with many different relationship statuses, and it only enhances the bond.
2. Thou shalt say "no."
The modern girl no longer has time for anything and everything people ask from her. The myth of "having it all" has somehow also convinced us that we have to say "yes" to every chore, every appointment, and every position that comes our way. But the reality is, having it all is about prioritizing. It's about being efficient. It's about having time at the end of the day to do whatever the hell she wants, regardless of how unproductive it may be. She gets to choose what she wants in her life, how she balances it and what she values the most. Period. And in order to do that, she has to say no to certain (or many) things.
3. Thou shalt not harbor guilt.
As much as the modern girl may really like her ability to care for others and to show empathy, she doesn't also have to feel really, really, bad when negative things occur that are outside of her control. She doesn't have time for guilt. She knows that it is an ugly emotion. It stays far beyond its welcome and distracts her from her priorities. She doesn't need to feel guilty for getting a position someone else wanted or for valuing her time over other events. So she won't. She releases it and moves on.
4. Thou shalt not habitually apologize.
Modern girls apologize when it's necessary, not when it's routine. If someone bumps into her on the street, she won't apologize for it. If someone interrupts her while she is speaking, she won't apologize for it. And if someone hurts HER feelings, she won't apologize for it. Apologies are necessary when SHE has done something to hurt another person. Otherwise, you probably won't get anything from her, because it's not her job. She will continue on as she was, and that is what should be expected.
5. Thou shalt sit at the table.
Sheryl Sandberg has officially asked every modern girl to "sit at the table," a phrase meant to encourage women to put themselves out there in the workforce. But this is more than just deciding to sit at the roundtable discussion instead of grabbing the free chair in the corner -- it's about the modern girl speaking up for herself. Asking for the raise. Sharing her accomplishments. Speaking her truth. Contributing her ideas. It's time for modern girls to see themselves as worthy, intelligent, and capable as men, even if it means putting extra energy to be recognized. Bottom line? The modern girl won't accept NOT being at the table--because that's where she belongs.
6. Thou shalt not compare.
As Mark Twain so gracefully put it, "Comparison is the death of joy." Brutal. And so true. The modern girl is not imprisoned by the constant comparison of her figure to other bodies, her intelligence to other brains, or her accomplishments to others' careers. She understands the beginning of her journey cannot and should not be compared to the middle of someone else's. She is her own entity, and she only compares herself, to herself. The modern girl makes the choice to swap comparing for supporting, and therefore uses others' successes for her own motivation.
7. Thou shalt let go of toxic relationships.
The modern girl is not afraid to be the CEO of her life. She promotes, demotes, fires, and hires people as she wishes. She has high standards for her friendships and relationships and doesn't let other people drag her down. She can still be forgiving and caring, but she doesn't let others walk all over her. If someone in her life takes advantage or exhausts her energy, then it's not lost on her that it might be time for them to leave. Now. She wants to maintain a positive, optimistic, and ambitious attitude, and sometimes it's borderline impossible with close friends who refuse that lifestyle or do not respect her time. But on the flip side, she values and loves her friends who bring out the best in her, and she genuinely strives to bring out the best in them.
8. Thou shalt embrace imperfections.
The modern girl doesn't have the perfect body, because nobody has the perfect body. So she chooses to embrace her imperfections such as her possibly webbed toes, lack of a thigh gap, cute double chin, or insanely frizzy hair. They make her who she is, and dang, she likes who she is! So why not like all of it? Magazines can continue to be Photoshopped and friends can continue to wear smaller jean sizes, but that doesn't affect her vision of herself. She knows she's a gem. Because she is a gem. And that's all that matters.
9. Thou shalt not ruminate over others' thoughts.
The only thoughts the modern girl spends time ruminating over, are her own. She is too busy changing negative self-talk into encouraging affirmations, striving for deeper self-awareness, and engaging in fanciful daydreaming to even consider ruminating over a phantom thought of somebody else's. She knows not everyone will agree with her lifestyle -- hell, it's kind of intimidating, but that's not her problem. And if someone DOES have an issue with her, she figures they'll at least have the courtesy to take it up with her in person. Otherwise, she assumes that ambiguous look or awkward comment doesn't have anything to do with her, and she'll continue on with her fabulous day.
10. If thou shalt choose a partner, thou shalt choose a real one.
If the modern girl does choose a partner, she makes sure that person is an actual partner. Sandberg is also a strong proponent of equal duties and responsibilities, and the modern girl accepts and runs with this proposal. She will pick a partner who will support her, push her, love her, and challenge her. Someone who will help inside the house and outside of the house. Someone who will make compromises to support their relationship as a whole, as well as their individual successes. Someone who doesn't tolerate an imbalance of power in their relationship, and not because she demands it, but because they wouldn't have it any other way.
Want to live like a modern girl?
Good! You can. It just takes a commitment to respect, honor, and push yourself to be confident in who you are. Let these commandments guide you, and make an exuberant effort to find other modern girls to help keep up your momentum. We are each other's support system and we have to stick together!
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