Women are the roots of our world: We create, we grow, we nurture and we give. We support and sacrifice; we tolerate and forgive. And we endure many painful lessons in our evolution from girl to grown up. But what more beautiful than the rainbow after the storm?
As a young woman, I experienced my fair share of growing pains: I abhorred my body, couldn't fit in, wept through a roller coaster of emotions and craved all the wrong relationships. Fed by youthful ignorance, I committed countless mistakes I would later regret. But as the erroneous actions poured out, in trickled wisdom and self-reflection. And finally, by the age of 20, I was able to dig within myself and rescue the purposeful woman who would replace the fragile teenager bound by her fears and steered by wrong intent. Finally, I distanced myself from my juvenile tendencies and adopted the mentality of a lady.
Not every transition into womanhood should be as tumultuous as mine. There are six lessons every woman-to-be must learn in order to bypass those accidents of adolescents and truly step into her own glorious self. The pieces of the puzzle fell gracefully into place as I began to act upon the following truths:
1. Know what you want.
Getting what you want begins with knowing what you want. Pinpoint what it is that you wish to achieve and don't settle for anything less. What are your goals, your dreams and more importantly, what is your strategy to bring them to life? Fostering a healthy focus is the best distraction possible from negative influence. So long as you are realistic and consistent, you deserve nothing less than what you want.
2. Trust your inner voice.
Ever heard the phrase, "A woman's intuition is never wrong?" That's because women are equipped with a heightened sensitivity to truth detection and a keen sense of what is right. So chances are that what feels wrong, is wrong. But because they are impressionable, young women tend to give up what they love for those they love. The key is to separate your own needs and desires from those of the people around you. Don't allow yourself to be persuaded by external voices, especially if they push you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Your most trustworthy voice is within you. Follow your unfiltered intuition -- it is genuine guidance leading you steadily down the path of good.
3. Surround yourself with empowerment.
Young women thrive when they are empowered -- they become powerhouses of independence and productivity. A girl coming of age is the symbol of a delicate masterpiece in the making, and if she is empowered now, she will remain empowered for the rest of her life. Shun women who disrespect themselves or bring you down. Fill your environment with female figures who inspire you, lead by good example and uplift you with strength.
4. Value your time.
As we mature, life teaches us that time is our most precious commodity. And how we choose to spend it determines most elements of our lives, including the quality of our future. Waste no second of your time. Your friends can wait, but actions that will secure your future cannot. Remember that time and decisions run parallel -- at any given time you will be faced with choices. Dedicate your time to decisions that encourage you to evolve, improve and expand your talents.
5. Always be above.
It's difficult to be a "lady" in today's society. There exists unprecedented pressure to be perfect and cruel competition. Be above it all: Give in to no argument and avoid petty gossip. Speak badly of no one. Don't follow the wrong examples of others. Doing so makes you be like everyone else, and not only are you different, you are unique and better. Pleasantly surprise others by exceeding their expectations when you think, speak and act. Do only what you want done to you.
6. Recognize your beauty.
Women are inherently beautiful, yet we hide our beauty within us, believing we must fit a predetermined mold. We are the most critical creatures, fixated on every line, lump, curve and dimple. Acceptance comes when you realize that your imperfections are exactly what make you perfect. Tricky to do at first, self-tolerance is one of the greatest rewards you can give to yourself. And when you embrace your flaws, you radiate confidence -- the invisible trait felt and admired by all. Confidence is the energy that makes a woman irresistible. Insecurities stem from comparing yourself to others, while security is gained from wanting to improve yourself, for yourself and by yourself. You are your only competition. Work with what you have rather than wanting to change it. Recognize your beauty and the world will recognize it, too.
Between self-imposed imperfections and the unrealistic demands of society, passing through pre-womanhood can be a challenging feat. But if a girl knows what she wants, trusts her intuition and surrounds herself with positive people, she can avoid the rough ride into adulthood and bloom into the incredible woman she was always meant to be.