It's time to be who you are unapologetically.
I'm speaking mainly to women, but I think it applies more broadly too.
What am I talking about?
Women, be women. Own your woman-ness, your femininity, without apologizing, and most definitely without judging yourself for it.
Here's what I mean:You are not weaker for being feminine. You are, in fact, stronger.
It makes me deliriously happy when a man—the one I'm with, a good friend, my dad if he still could—picks me up in his arms and swings me around lovingly.
It makes me happy just thinking about it. I might also squeal.
And while I'm on the subject of squealing...
The Hallmark cards that make you teary? Go with it. Tear up at weddings, the cutest...little...dogs and babies you've ever seen, if you want.
I squealed out loud at a friend's photo of his daughters then promptly squealed all over again showing it to my friends.
Yes, admittedly, my voice also went up a couple octaves.
If being loving, and empathetic and enthusiastic makes you who you are, do not hold back.
Yes, yes, the office blah blah blah.
Teary tirades don't always work well from 9-to-5 but you know I'm not talking about that anyway.
I'm encouraging you to accept and love yourself for what makes you, you. The more you do, the more you'll accept and love what makes other people them.
Men are pretty good at accepting themselves. Women don't always accept themselves with the same gusto, and I'm afraid it affects friendships and relationships as a result.
Case in point: I used to think that "being a girl" was one of the worst put downs I could receive.
You know what? I like to cook, and I like creating a home that I can feel comfortable in and that welcomes others to make themselves comfortable. I like hugging people. I like kissing boo-boos and I like holding someone's arm while walking on a slippery street.
I am a girl.
I am also confident, capable, a smart businesswoman, a good friend, and make very good decisions for myself. I am also not sure I want to have children. These things are not mutually exclusive.
Me owning that I like what I like, and I am who I am (and that's all what I yam, thanks Popeye), makes it easier to be myself.
Let's look at that again.
If you judge yourself as not as good as someone else—because you like different things, because you react differently when you're upset or elated - you are putting yourself behind the 8-ball.
Accepting yourself means you accept what makes you unique, and what makes everyone else unique.
Accepting myself means I can adore that I get a spring in my step when a man holds the door for me. It also means I can adore that a man noticeably feels good holding that door. (If you think I'm kidding, watch next time and you'll see.)
Chivalry and feminism can co-exist if we just love what makes us and each other unique. I have something special to share, and so do you.
It puts less pressure on me to do everything, or be everything myself. I can ask for help with things I can't do or prefer not to.
Even better, it creates room for the people in my life to do what they do best, to share what they have and be appreciated for it.
Isn't it nice to need and be needed for a change?