You are not what has happened to you.
We coinhabit this world with billions of other humans; people are bound to wrong us, upset us, abuse us, distrust us, & more. But what happens TO you, does not define who you are. We may not be able to forgive others for how they've treated us but we can learn from the moments that left us with scars, and grow. We can support others who have been through the same, and make these moments monuments to ourselves. We can make them the reason why we get up each day and strive to be better, be strong, and be just as worthy as each day before.
You are not your appearance.
I don't care what color, weight, height, ethnicity, religion, belief, or degree you possess; you are just as worthy of self-love as anyone else. You are entitled to the same confidence, respect, and admiration as any other person. We were born into a generation where magazine covers and Photoshop tried to convince women that computer-generated perfection was obtainable for the everyday gal; and it was bullshit. But there has been a shift over the past few years; a beautiful, beautiful shift. People (real people) all across the world are being shown, flaws and all, in the same light as the airbrushed models once were. Men & women with imperfections are being valued for their beauty because it's REAL. We're FINALLY seeing what the true majority is and it is breathtaking. And YOU are breathtaking. Train yourself to embrace every part of you on your bad days as well as on your good. You're as beautiful as you ever were and you are worthy of your own acceptance.
You are not your net worth.
I don't care what you do or don't "bring to the table". I don't care if you don't have a dime in savings or if you can fill up your tank without thinking twice. Just because your income doesn't add up like someone else's does not mean you are not contributing your "fair share". I add quotations because these terms of thinking are drenched in such misogynistic undertones it almost makes my skin crawl. As if your worth in the household should depend in any way on your monetary or physical contributions - PLEASE. Let's measure what we do do then, shall we? The little things that no one seems to notice; chauffeuring a million people a million places, emotional support for everyone in your circle, time spent wearing all the different hats. Counseling, mediating, errand-running, keeper-of-family-ties, peacemaking, maid - the list goes on. Never let anyone make you feel less-than because your effort isn't reimbursed in dollars - money may make the world go round but I'm convinced that it's ability to thrive is dependent on the women who shoulder it's weight. I SEE YOU and I promise that you do MORE THAN ENOUGH. Anyone who is incapable of recognizing your worth does not belong in your circle.
You are not your bad mental health days.
It's in our chemistry to have bad mental health days - physically you can't just "opt out" of those. We all have breakdowns, we all lose our cool, and most of all; we all judge ourselves in more harshly a light than anyone else. We're our own worst critic and if the years seem to teach us anything; it's the bad habit of giving ourselves less grace than what we deserve. But we are not defined by the days that our sanity feels like it's hanging on by a thread. Find what works for you (keep a journal if you have to); find healthy ways to manage or cope with stress. For me, it's 60mg of Prozac a day, a hormonal birth control that helps me stabilize, and hot bubbly baths. But most importantly; it's understanding that I'm going to have days where I'm slacking at work, I'm going to have days where I yell at my kids, I'm going to have days where I second-guess my life's path - and it's o k a y that I do. I'm not perfect, and NEITHER ARE YOU.
Give yourself the grace to have bad days.
You are not what you think you deserve.
I've seen it; we've all seen it. Women who we idolize, who we feel deserve the world, will talk themselves into settling where their worth isn't appreciated. They trap themselves in the "I have faults so I deserve to be treated as such" mindset. But honey. NO YOU DON'T. We all have flaws and we all have idiosyncrasies. Half the world might despise you for them while the other half might consider them an inspiration; put the latter half in your corner. There is n o t h i n g that justifies your mistreatment. And you are the last person who should be trying to justify it!
You are not whether or not you are liked.
It is impossible to people-please your way into collective acceptance, though many of us have tried. You encounter way too many people in your life to expect every single one of them to like you. Hell, an old man in the grocery store may simply dislike you because you have too many holes in your pants. And that's okay. One of the greatest pieces of advice that my therapist ever gave me was; "So what? What difference does it make what they think of you? You're not going to change their mind, so any attempt on your part is wasted energy. You know who you are. Isn't that enough?"
That was a turning point in my life because I realized she was right. As long as I knew my heart, my intentions, my actions - who cares whether or not other people accept it? It isn't my job to be the best them , it's my job to be the best me. Trust me. Treat people with kindness and grace, and grant yourself the same - peace will follow suit.
You are not your daily energy.
Some days I hit the ground running; I finish the laundry, the sink is spotless, and I run my business efficiently. Other days, my butt becomes one with the couch and I consume more calories than I care to count. Neither of these days defines my worth as an adult, a woman, or a human being. SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH. Train your brain to relax without feeling guilty for it; it isn't an easy feat but it's necessary. No one is capable of being superwoman every day. You do not need a completed To-Do list to make you feel fulfilled; you need to listen to what your brain and your body are begging you for. I t could be a mental breakdown on the bathroom floor, a super-hot bubble bath, a social media detox, a spontaneous daytrip with the kids, or an hour at the gym with no commitment to go again tomorrow. Do what makes your body and soul feel renewed. Stop beating yourself up because you put yourself first for once.
This book was such a tremendous help for me with this one - 10/10 recommend it for every woman's library.
You are not the time you do or do not spend with your children.
For the Mommas.
Stay-At-Home-Moms: You have the hardest job in the world. I've done the stay at home life. I've done the working life. And the latter is way easier (imo). I also co-parent with an amazing set of people, and the breaks from my children are the reason that I am (somewhat) sane. My children are my everything - if I had to stay at home with them again, I would in a heartbeat. But there is N O T H I N G easy about your job. And it IS a job. It's a thankless, payless one, and yet the hardest of them all. Having someone need something from you every single minute of every single day, and having the rest of the world tell you "You should be grateful" or "I wish I could have that life" is infuriating. You absolutely, 100% have a right to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, overworked, and underappreciated. The world turns because of you; and WE RESPECT YOU.
Working Moms: Just because staying at home is a hard job, doesn't always mean that the tradeoff of working is worth it. You are busting your butt to make sure that your children have the best life that you can give them. You're working because we live in a world that underpays employees but expects them to keep up with inflation. You're working because in order to climb any sort of ladder, you're expected to give your job 100% and still have 100% to divide between your household, your loved ones, and yourself. You are doing what is best for your family and your children DO NOT hold it against you; no matter how bad the mom-guilt tells you otherwise. The world also turns because of you; and WE RESPECT YOU, TOO.
You are not your ability to reproduce.
If no one calls you Mom yet, this does not (I repeat, it d o e s n o t) take away from your worth as a woman, an adult, or a human being. If you choose not to have children because you aren't ready or parenting just isn't for you; good for you! Seriously, own your life as it is and enjoy every second that you have to be fulfilled and happy. If not having children is not a choice that you make for yourself; I see you. I pray for you, and I couldn't imagine going through what you're going through. You are some of the strongest women I know and your resilience is nothing short of remarkable. We are all meant to travel different paths - and if yours involves heartbreak (of any kind) my heart goes out to you. But never let whether you are or are not a mother/caregiver/guardian/spouse etc. determine your worth. Never forget that you mean the world to someone, even when it's hard to see that. You are where you were meant to be and your future is SO bright, I promise. Your strength is an inspiration and we need you to keep going.
You are not your family's expectations of you.
I got lucky here; my mom and my grandparents were supportive of every aspiration I had. Unfortunately not everyone is gifted with such a great support system. I've seen firsthand the pressures that kids go through growing up in a family where their parents' desires overshadow their own; and it's a really sad narrative. You should never be ashamed of who you are or who you want to be. I am not saying not to listen to your parents; mine were right 98.9% of the times I swore they weren't and it probably saved my life a time or two.
What I am saying is that you should be true to who you are regardless of how others wish you would be. If you are passionate about something; a career, a project, an art, an identity - you have a right to feel passionately about it. Something that is important to accept is that life without conflict does not exist, no matter how hard you try to achieve it. I know it's hard to experience conflict with the people closest to your heart; but these people should also respect what's in your heart even if it differs from what's in theirs. And if, in the end, you lose them; what have you really lost? Find solace in accepting who you are, and maintain the expectation that others should accept you, too. Especially those who love you.
You are not his opinion of you.
. . . or hers, or theirs, or mine. No one knows you like you do. And I'm telling you right now, if you have someone in your life telling you for ANY reason that you don't live up to their expectations, YOU are not the problem sweetheart. I don't care if it's your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your parents, your friends, or your successors. You are not the money that you bring to the household. You are not the fact that you stay home with your kids. You are not lazy. You are not selfish. You are not less-than because you don't work out as much as your neighbor. You are not trash because your house is messier than your friends. You are not not-good-enough because they pay the man in your position more. You are not crazy because you ask for what you deserve. You are not the reason for his/hers/their unhappiness. You are NOT a failure because you have bad days.
You are not a failure (p e r i o d).
You are responsible for the way that you treat others, but you're also responsible for defining boundaries on how you should be treated; please, please, please, don't let anyone talk you into feeling less-than. The further you run from these people, the more empowered you'll feel. You just have to make the choice to run. And please, if you're in an abusive situation, don't stay quiet. Bullies are cowards, no matter how serious they seem to be. Find your supports and let them help you stand up.
If you need it, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline is available 24 hours a day, at over 200 languages; 800-799-7233. They don't make you make decisions, but they will help you find supports, advice, and a plan that will get you in the right direction.
And most importantly; they will listen. Which is all it takes sometimes for women to finally feel heard.
You are not who you used to be.
I'm still under the big three-oh and there are times when I cringe at what I thought was acceptable in my teens. There are things about the way that I acted even just five years ago that I'm still ashamed of. The key to not getting stuck in those moments and being buried under the weight of shame is understanding the fact that we are not who we used to be; not as children, teens, young adults, or even who we were five days ago. Luckily, the human species is burdened by one guarantee; the constant opportunity for growth. You may be the best version of yourself on a hundred different occasions - and every single one of them is beautiful. Never allow yourself to feel as though you should hide who you once were; she literally paved the path for you to become who you are today. And one day, when you're glowing with pride in the woman you've become; when you feel at complete peace with yourself; you should look back and thank Her - she's helped to shape you into everything you wanted to be and more.
You are MORE than enough.
Read it and re-read it again, ladies. You are everything. No matter your accomplishments, your faults, your scars, your thoughts, your desires, your mistakes, your successes, your legacy, your routines; you are everything you need to be and more. We all have room for improvement; but NEVER (and I mean never) mistake your room to grow for some sort of insufficiency. None of us can give our all every single day; we'd all be burnt out and institutionalized if we did.
Give the most that you're capable of giving in each moment; that is e n o u g h.
To the women who need help: Reach out to the rest of us. Chances are someone needs you, too.
To the women who can give help: Spend your time lifting others up and praising women's' worth.
And remember that you are MORE than enough 🖤
Bethany & Logan
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