“Should” – A Guest Post by Cammy Nelson
“Should” is a powerful little word that has drained more energy, caused more stress and produced even more frustration than I want to think about for as long as I can remember. I should do well in school, I should be a good friend, I should always be happy, I should make everyone around me happy, I should be the leader, I should get as involved as I could, I should make a difference NOW, I should, I should, I SHOULD. The word seemed to come at me from every area of my life: school, family, organizations, sports, and even myself. Then, a whole new level of should’s came at me. These were much worse and much more frustrating…
These shoulds told me that I should wear makeup, I should lose weight, I should go on a diet, I should have a boyfriend, I should hate my body, I shouldn’t speak up in class, I should always be nice, I should eat less, I should have perfect teeth, I should be popular, I should be PERFECT. These should’s were trying to make me believe that I wasn’t good enough and I needed to “fix” the things that could be changed.
Well, I’m here to tell you a little something about that heavy “should” word – it’s just a word. When I was in middle school, I would have loved it if someone had said to me “you can ignore that word, and any word, that makes you feel like you’re not good enough or that you need to be something you’re not.” The negativity surrounding me was horribly draining for me, and it still is for many girls. THAT is what really needed to change.
For every girl who feels like she has a constantly growing list of “should’s” that need to be followed, I’ve created something better for you. If I could hand my 12-year-old self a list of “should’s”, this is what it would look like…
- You should be YOU. Exactly who you are right now. That girl is AWESOME and I want to see the rock star that she is.
- You should do and wear whatever makes you feel confident!
- You should write your own definition of beautiful. Make it whatever you believe real beauty looks like, sounds like, and acts like.
- You should not be afraid of your bright light. Do not play small for anyone – that only hurts you.
- You should learn about you and discover what you are passionate about.
- You should be quiet if you need time alone to think, process, and develop ideas.
- You should speak up when you want to share your voice, speak your mind, ask a question, share your dreams, help a friend, laugh… or whenever you want.
- You should learn about the advertising you see every day. The reality behind it will shock you.
- You should be a leader be a leader sometimes and a follower every now an then. You will not and do not need to know the answer at all times. Give yourself room to grow and learn.
- You should do YOUR best. That’s the greatest strength you will ever feel.
- You should never hide your intelligence. Smart girls are AWESOME!!!
- You should be a good friend to those who are a good friend to you.
- You should always believe in yourself – with confidence as your wings, you will fly higher than you can imagine.
- You should learn about your body. Understand it, listen to it, take care of it, and love it. Your body carries you through life and will be there through all the amazing experiences you will have.
- You should take it one day at a time. Things will seem overwhelming from time to time, but remember that the future comes one day at a time.
- You should forge your own path, follow your dreams, and always, ALWAYS know that YOU ARE ENOUGH! You are everything you will become and you have it within you to make all of your dreams a reality.
To the brave girls reading this, you get to start making decisions for yourself now. You get to decide who you want to be, what’s important to you, and how you will get to where to want to be. Listening to the “should’s” of life will only hold you back. Spend your time thinking of the amazing experiences you will fill your life with, the people you want to surround you, and the dreams you have for the world. Try new things, make new friends, and step outside your comfort zone. Ignore the negativity that comes your way and remember, the only thing that will ever really matter is that you are being you.
Cammy Nelson is a speaker on girls, goals, and personal power. After spending nearly her entire life speaking on self-esteem and the media, Cammy is committed to creating change for girls through her inspiring message of empowerment and leadership. For more information on Cammy and her mission, visit www.givegirlsmore.weebly.com.