You know how freaking insane this world can be. You live in it. You know that as a woman, you’re supposed to crack the glass ceiling while fetching the perfect man. You’re supposed to love your body while spending countless hours sweating your way to the perfect shape. And you definitely have to push your way to the top while still being the perfectly nice, sweet girl you are.
Because that’s totally possible, right?
If you think all of that sounds absolutely ridiculous, then thank freaking God. It is ridiculous. All of it. And in a world with so many distractions and double binds, it is truly difficult to stay centered and grounded. We can easily lose sight of what matters and succumb to the pressure luring us in every day.
That’s why it’s time to commit to the 10 commandments of being a modern girl in this crazy world. May they bring you balance, determination, and peace. Lots of peace.
1. Thou shalt not be defined by a relationship status.
A relationship status is not the end all, be all for the modern girl. She is allowed to enjoy being single, being in relationships, being engaged, being married, or even being divorced. Gasp. She’s also not determined to rush to the next step, either. Marriage is a possibility, not the end all, be all. Lastly modern girls are also not limited to friendships that mirror their own phase in life. She has friends with many different relationship statuses, and it only enhances the bond.
2. Thou shalt say “no.”
The modern girl no longer has time for anything and everything people ask from her. The myth of “having it all” has somehow also convinced us that we have to say “yes” to every chore, every appointment, and every position that comes our way. But the reality is, “having it all” is about prioritizing. She gets to choose what she wants in her life, how she balances it, and what she values the most. In order to do that, she has to say “no” to certain things.
3. Thou shalt not harbor guilt.
As much as the modern girl may really like her ability to care for others and to show empathy, she doesn’t also have to feel really, really, bad when negative things occur that are outside of her control. She doesn’t have time for guilt. She knows that it is an ugly emotion, one that stays far beyond its welcome and distracts her from her priorities. She doesn’t need to feel guilty for getting a position someone else wanted or for prioritizing her time over other things. So she won’t. She releases it and moves on.
4. Thou shalt not habitually apologize.
Modern girls apologize when it’s necessary, not when it’s routine. If someone bumps into her on the street, she won’t apologize for it. If someone interrupts her while she is speaking, she won’t apologize for it. And if someone hurts HER feelings, she won’t apologize for it. Apologies are necessary when SHE has done something to hurt another person. Otherwise, you probably won’t get anything from her, because it’s not her job. She will continue on as she was, and that is what should be expected.
5. Thou shalt sit at the table.
Sheryl Sandberg has officially asked every modern girl to “Sit at the Table,” a phrase meant to encourage women to put themselves out there in the workforce. But this is more than just deciding to sit at the roundtable discussion instead of grabbing the free chair in the corner—it’s about the modern girl speaking up for herself. Asking for the raise. Competing for the promotion. Speaking her mind. Contributing her ideas. It’s time for the modern girls to see themselves as worthy, intelligent, and capable as men, even if it means putting extra energy to be recognized. Bottom line? The modern girl won’t accept NOT being at the table—because that’s where she belongs.
6. Thou shalt not compare.
As Theodore Roosevelt so gracefully put it, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” The modern girl is not imprisoned by constant comparison of her figure to other bodies, her intelligence to other brains, or her accomplishments to others’ careers. She is her own entity, and she only compares herself to herself. Other stories of ambition and success only drive her to do better. She is on her own path, and it cannot and will not be compared with another’s.
7. Thou shalt let go of toxic relationships.
The modern girl is not afraid to be the CEO of her life. She promotes, demotes, fires, and hires people as she wishes. She has high standards for her friendships and relationships and doesn’t let other people drag her down. She can still be forgiving and caring, but she doesn’t let others walk all over her. If someone in her life takes advantage or exhausts her energy, then it’s not lost on her that it might be time for them to leave. She wants to maintain a positive, optimistic, and ambitious attitude, and sometimes it’s borderline impossible with close friends who refuse that lifestyle. But on the flip side, she values and loves her friends who bring out the best in her, and she tries to bring out the best in them.
8. Thou shalt embrace imperfections.
The modern girl doesn’t have the perfect body, because nobody has the perfect body. So she chooses to embrace her imperfections such as her possibly webbed toes, lack of a thigh gap, cute double chin, or insanely frizzy hair. They make her who she is, and hell, she likes who she is. So why not like all of it? Magazines can continue to be Photoshopped and friends can continue to wear smaller jean sizes, but that doesn’t affect her vision of herself. She knows she’s a gem. Because she is a gem. And that’s all that matters.
9. Thou shalt support each other
The modern girl is not threatened by other females’ successes. In fact, they inspire her. Achievements for women in general are positive for the modern girl, because she strives and celebrates more opportunities across the board for women. She embraces achievements and awards given to other women EVEN if she does feel a twinge of jealousy, because she knows that it only helps her and her gender in the long run. So she puts her energy into supporting others, and she feels pret-tay fabulous about it.
10. If thou shalt choose a partner, choose a real one.
If the modern girl does choose a partner, she makes sure that person is an actual partner. Sandberg is also a strong proponent of equal duties and responsibilities, and the modern girl accepts and runs with this proposal. She will pick a partner who will support her, push her, love her, and challenge her. Someone who will help inside the house and outside of the house. Someone who will make compromises to support their relationship as a whole and their individual successes. Someone who doesn’t tolerate an imbalance of power in their relationship, and not because she demands it, but because they wouldn’t have it any other way.
To all the modern girls out there…