I’m going to get real for a minute. I am in my early 40s, yet when I think back to my life as a young girl, there are some memories that can bring up some serious tears and stomach knots. Not just in regards to myself, but also some of the experiences I witnessed of girls pushing other girls down emotionally and mentally.
Being critical, for no reason, excluding each other, being negative or hurtful in their words and actions…straight up bullying. It’s stuff like this that can plant dark seeds of how we see ourselves, each other, and the world.
I really thought I had moved on from all of that. I mean, after all, it was 35+ years ago. I did my time.
And then…I had daughters.
Soon, those daughters entered Elementary School. And I was astounded at what I witnessed. Young girls – as early as Kindergarten – putting each other down, excluding one another, competing, being aggressive, being passive aggressive, being critical, and purposely hurting each other’s feelings.
Even worse, I saw some of this preliminary “mean girl” behavior coming from my own girls, who are currently six and eight. Yes, at a code orange “mean girl” level – but definitely the potential was there!
It spun me.
I thought I had some time before I would see this behavior, and was secretly hoping to avoid it all together. I felt a tinge of childhood pain come flooding back.
Some of the things I’ve seen at their school – from young girls - hurts my heart. Some of the things my daughter’s have shared made me cringe. Not just with their external experiences, but with their own internal self-criticism. At age five, I heard my daughter talking about wanting a flat belly! At age eight, I have heard my other daughter talk critically about her face and her body! I’ve heard them both comparing themselves to others, and speaking negatively about each other.
What the heck?!
As a therapist, I know that some of this has to do with emotional and mental development – and things they are experiencing for the first time. They are just learning things like limits, boundaries, what it means to be confident, how to ask for what they need, having a sense of self, and how our words and thoughts affect others.
Some of this has to do with what they are learning from their schoolmates. And (sorry parents) some of this has to do with what they are learning at home. If I – as their primary female role model – am a “mean girl”, if I am negative towards my daughters, guess what they will emulate towards themselves, and others?
Regardless of where it is coming from, one thing has become crystal clear: WE NEED TO NIP THIS IN THE BUD – individually, and together. Internally and externally.
And the best part is…WE CAN.
And with the Girl Uplifters Team (G.U.T)…WE ARE.
With the G.U.T. comes several different dreams:
My first dream is that every little girl will have someone in her life that teaches what we are offering. That – at the very least – they will read and share some of what the G.U.T. offers.
My ultimate dream is that every little girl will become an active part of the G.U.T and we will have millions of G.U.T Mates throughout the world. Girls uplifting girls, everywhere, every day. Every little girl will follow the G.UT. Pledge and the G.U.T Values…they will encourage, empathize, include, and uplift themselves and the other girls around them, planting an uplifting seed that will grow wild in the glistening sun, blooming for years to come!
Whether you’re hearing a sweet “We are the World” type melody, you’re head bopping to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, or you’ve got you’re slayer sign out to some other girl – empowered rock song – let’s all dance together. Let’s do this.
To me, the G.U.T is so much more than just a movement, or a concept – it is a way for us to come together as a group – as a community – with a unified goal in mind: To Uplift Each Other.
I invite (and hope) you, your daughter, friend, niece, student, neighbor, cousin, stepchild, etc. will be part of the Girl Uplifters Team!
P.S. Join us at the first ever G.U.T GATHERING happening in Carlsbad, CA on September 24th. Click for details!