Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.
In one of my many roles, I meet young women looking to improve themselves. Sometimes, they arrive in tank tops, that leave little to the imagination. Sometimes, they arrive in shortie shorts that only in recent years were only shown off at a beach. And because of their manner and the way they are presenting themselves, I worry.
I want to tell them things from my almost-60 year old self, things I've learned along the way. Most are good girls, they are doing what everyone else is doing, what they see in store windows, in magazines and on television. But when did it become okay to ask for attention in such a blatant way? And what exactly are they asking for? Do they see their body as their commodity?
[kuh-mod-i-tee] /kəˈmɒd ɪ ti/
1. an article of trade or commerce, especially a product as distinguished from a service.
2. something of use, advantage, or value.
3. a quantity of goods.
4. a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors other than price
5. one that is subject to ready exchange or exploitation within a market
What can we share with these young women from the lessons we've learned? It is our obligation and privilege to pass on our lessons to them by example. Here are just a few of my thoughts.
Cultivate a good heart, it will bring you lots of attention because people will notice it. Your heart will expand in promise as time goes on..
Learn compassion, there is nothing more attractive than kindness. When you aim to be kind every day it becomes a habit, one that you don’t want to break.
Learn something each day. Read books of all kinds, ask questions of anyone who interests you, look things up on the internet. Knowledge is invigorating.
Get an education, in something. Strive to be a master of something you love to do. Having the confidence that you can survive on your own, will prevent you from making choices because you have no money. Always know that you don’t have to settle.
Share. Your smiles, your wealth, your enthusiasm, your courage, your strength. You might be surprised what you get back from the act of giving. And when it feels like you have nothing to share, is the time you will reap the grandest rewards. Ask any volunteer!
Don’t give yourself away with no discrimination. Your thoughts, your feelings, your secrets, are yours for a reason. Keep some things sacred. There is only one You.
Your body should be given to someone who treasures it. It has been put together with your care in each moment of your life. Don’t give it way too freely.
coming next week: more words about getting an education...