Getting through high school without falling into the drama trap can be a little tricky for teen girls in today's media driven society. The avenues of torture consist of countless applications through the use of smart phones, tablets and computers. Middle school and high school girls covet these means of communication as this is their portal to the latest gossip that can spread faster than breaking news on television. The pressure is on to look and act a certain way and if girls don't fit this mold they can kiss goodbye to becoming a "hot" commodity. I was bullied mercifully in middle school and the girl who targeted me was insecure and jealous. An interesting aspect to my story... the girl who targeted me was pretty and popular. I believe jealousy is a mindset that we convince ourselves of due to the fact that girls lack the tools necessary to be confident allowing them to rise above and embrace those we perceive as "better" than us. What follows is vicious gossip, much that probably isn't true and the hurt can fall on both parties. I love having girls to look up to, admire and imitate in my own way. If Taylor Swift walked up to the girl who bullied me and wanted to be friends, she would have taken her in as a BFF for all the world to see in a heartbeat, but can't stand the site of a peer she views as superior. Taylor Swift would give her status... I would give her competition. As girls we fail at empowering each other in so many ways. Viewing our peers in a competitive way leaves many girls feeling inadequate and that vicious cycle of hatred starts the wheel spinning. I know how much I have learned from girls I admire. It's up to us to begin a movement of gaining confidence and empowering one another instead of tearing each other down.
Giving girls the tools to soar is the first step. This is why I love Secret Deodorant's Mean Stinks Campaign in conjunction with Teen Vogue. I feel honored to represent them as an ambassador by bringing awareness to girl on girl bullying and providing tips to end the negative drama for good. Mean Stinks is giving girls something to THINK about. Telling girls to be nice falls on deaf ears, especially the girls that need to hear the message. Showing girls HOW to be nice and gang up for good is what it's all about. Parents are busy and most teen girls don't feel their parents understand this new technology filled generation. I believe this is an accurate statement and at this point, we now have a disconnect when it comes to the support of our best example...our Moms. This is just one simple example. Every time a Mom has a conversation on the phone with a friend and gossips, we hear it loud and clear and it gives girls the green light to fall in step to the most powerful mentor we have and look up to. Little girls love to mimic their mom's and oftentimes parents don't realize the impact they have on our actions. Throughout my travels giving Girl Talks I have listened to tweens and teens and I always seem to hear the same thing over and over. "I am insecure and I don't have confidence." Girls ask me all the time how I became so confident. I love sharing my tips, tools and stories. The best part is when I see the girls finally realize they too have the power. They've had it all along but just needed a little push to use it. THIS is the power of peer-to-peer mentorship.
My top 3 Tips for Gaining Confidence
1. Change your Perspective
Recognize your talents, embrace them, and don't be afraid to show them off to the world. Everyone is good at something, so explore different hobbies until you find what makes you special. Give yourself the approval to take pride in them. Insecurity is simply a state of mind in which you have claimed yourself a target; so alter your perception of yourself into your very own superhero. Do not let yourself be wronged. Change your self-talk to "I can" statements, instead of "I can't." Find something you enjoy and spend every moment possible doing it. When I discovered my passion for acting and empowering others, my self-confidence soared through the roof.
2. Live in the Present Moment
Don't devote your time to dwelling on something irresponsible you said a week ago or wondering if you insulted that one guy at that one party. Don't devote it to worrying about what will occur at the next party or about which outfit you should wear for your birthday two months from now. Focus on appreciating the moment you're in, the company you keep (This is a BIG tip -- the company you keep says a great deal about you.) and the lovely features of life that are visible to you. However, having goals for your life is a great idea. Just remember... life is a valuable gift and you want to be able to appreciate it to the fullest by accepting the world surrounding you. Since my schedule is so busy, it is easy for me to get wrapped up in dates, deadlines, and responsibilities. The moments I spend with my best friends, sitting on the couch, laughing so hard we are crying, without a care in the world? Those are the ones I will never forget.
3. Embrace the Unknown
I just recently joined the Delta Mu chapter of Alpha Delta Pi, and to say that I have embraced the unknown is the understatement of the century. I am not close with anyone who has ever been a part of Greek Life. Signing up for recruitment was really brave because I had no idea what to expect. Were the girls going to be mean? Is it like the movies? Would I even get accepted? There were a million things I could have worried about throughout recruitment, but I decided to focus on one thought: Things happen for a reason. If I never try something new, I will never expand my horizons. I am happy to say that being a part of a sisterhood has been everything I had ever hoped for. Instead of spending recruitment being insecure, worried, and scared, I had fun, showed the girls my authentic self, and gained some confidence along the way.
Remember this. The girl you are insanely jealous of just might be a great mentor. Instead of spreading gossip about her, get to know her. You might be surprised just how much the two of you can learn from each other. Don't let the lack of confidence get in your way. Now, what are you waiting for? You've got the power so let's rock a little confidence as we end the negative drama for good because MEAN STINKS!!