1. ‘Woman’ is not synonymous with weak.
Sometimes we are taught this. Sometimes we believe it. We think that woman are ‘lesser,’ or somehow not as capable because of the bodies we are born in. We are told women are victims, that we are powerless to the circumstances around us, or prey to the people that don’t have our best intentions in mind. But don’t ever believe that.
Know that as a woman, you are strong. You are physically strong, able to fight. You are mentally strong, able to stand. Your sex does not determine your ability to lead, to grow, to become. And no matter what the world will tell you, you are not weak.
2. Your body does not determine your beauty.
Beauty comes from the way you love, from the way you let people in, put others first, smile on your darkest days, shine with Christ’s light. You are beautiful because of the way you care, because of your passions, because of your laughter and faith and kindness and love.
Your body does not determine beauty—only your spirit and soul do.
3. You will have a heart of gold, but protect it with armor.
There is nothing wrong with loving, with being vulnerable, with letting people in and giving them your heart. But do not do so foolishly. Always protect who you are; always shield yourself from those who only want you for what you can give. Know the difference between love and lust, and do not be afraid of guarding yourself from the wrong things and people.
4. Yes, it is possible to be both tender and strong.
There is nothing wrong with being delicate and gentle; there is nothing wrong with being powerful and loud and bold. Do not let the world tell you how to be a woman, or that you are ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ of something.
5. Not every man you meet has good intentions.
Some men will try to deceive you, will try to take and never give, will lie and cheat and leave you empty-handed. Know that you will face these men and be prepared to stand your ground. Do not feel weak if you fall for their tricks, and do not let your heart be changed, but learn to pick yourself up and love again—the right person this time.
6. Not every man you meet will hurt you.
Not every man is the enemy. Not every man has bad intentions, or will try to deceive you just to get what he wants. Know that there are men who will love you with everything they have, who will put you first, who will want to love you so deeply, even on the days where you feel unlovable.
Hold out for those men. Love those men. Let yourself be loved by those men and walk away from the ones who have broken your spirit.
7. Muscles are beautiful.
So lift weights, so run, so move your body. There is nothing ‘masculine’ about having muscle. Strong is the new sexy and your body is your canvas—paint it, shape it, sculpt it whichever way you wish.
8. You must fight, every day, for yourself.
Fight for who you are, fight for your rights, fight for your place on this earth and know what you deserve. Do not settle for less. Do not step to the side as others step all over you. Be bold, be confident, be a woman who pursues her dreams.
9. The most powerful thing you can do is love.
Love brings us together, love heals us, love grows us, love makes life worth it. So love. And love deeply. Do not be scared of what could happen, of what could go wrong, of how you could potentially get your heart broken. Give into people, give into emotions, and let people in.
10. When you are fearful, turn to faith.
Remember that God loves you, always. Even on the days when you feel you don’t deserve Him. Even on the days you have strayed so far from His light. Even when you can’t see His face or feel like He has left you alone. He hasn’t. He is always here, always loving you, always fighting for you and standing by your side. When you are fearful, broken, lost, confused—trust Him. Let His light guide you home.
11. Remember that you are capable, but it’s okay to accept help, too.
You are able to do things by yourself—take pride in this. But don’t think that you don’t need people because eventually you will; we all will. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes; it’s okay to let people take care of you, or serve you when you need it. Remember then, to serve others in return, too.
12. Always walk the line of humble and proud.
Be proud of your accomplishments, of the things you have done and the woman you have become. But stay humble, too. Know that there are still many mountains to climb. Acknowledge and give praise to those around you. Check your privilege and always be thankful for the ways you’ve been blessed. Be both humble and proud.
13. Never be afraid to speak your mind.
Your voice is yours to claim and own. Let it say what it needs to. Let it be strong for what it believes in. Let it should your ideas or declare your wishes. Let yourself be heard.
14. Know that the right person will love you for you.
Love won’t ever be perfect, but the person you’re meant to be with will accept you and all your flaws, and love you in spite of them. The right person won’t make you feel as if you’re less, or like you need to apologize for who you are. The right person will see you for you—the good and the bad—and will love you just the same.
15. Forgive. Always.
Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Forgive what you cannot control. Let go.
16. Do not be scared to let people in.
Letting people in doesn’t make you weak. Loving doesn’t make you any less strong. So open your heart and let yourself be loved.
17. Value yourself, and teach others to value you.
You are the one who determines your value, so see yourself as the treasure you are and show others how to care for you.
18. Remember that it’s okay to let go.
Sometimes things won’t go according to plan, sometimes people will hurt you, sometimes what you thought would happen doesn’t, and it is in those moments that you must learn to let go. You cannot control life; don’t try to.
19. Do not apologize for how you feel or who you are.
Remember this: You owe no one an apology for how your heart beats, for the emotions running through your veins, for the things you are passionate about, for the way you love.
20. Know that you are never irreparably broken.
You will fall down, you will be shattered, you will have your heart hurt by someone you cared for so deeply. But in all of this, know that you will find yourself again. You will let go and start anew. You will regain footing and stand and walk and run. You will continue. You are never broken beyond repair.
21. Remember that you are loved.
When you feel as if you can’t stand, know that I am standing beside you, no matter the physical distance between us. When you are tired and lonely or scared and hopeless, remember that I will always love you, even when you don’t love yourself. I am your sister, and nothing you do or say will ever change that. I love you—yesterday, today, tomorrow, and always.