I'm not making a resolution this year. For the last 22 I have made promises every January that go flying out the window within a matter of weeks. Instead, I have used the past six days to take pride and embrace gratitude for the person I have become.
I was no easy teen. I automatically assumed everyone was out to get me and in reaction learned how to bite back - hard. In that biting process, it wasn't unfamiliar for me to lash out, blame other people for my own issues and pick fault in almost everything and everyone I saw. I learned the hard way that there are few people you'll come across in life as small-minded, petty and frightfully bitchy as girls.
Girl hate was so prominent back then - I should know, I was one of the nastiest and bitchiest of them all.
But it is 2017 now, and every night when I tirelessly scroll through social media before bed, I am still met with an abundance of comments from girls insulting and putting each other down. I didn't have a lightbulb moment. There was no one day that I woke up and suddenly decided to stop being such a cow. What actually happened was totally natural; time. I started to live less selfishly, open my eyes and actually look at the world around me. What I discovered? Not so nice. It has almost become culture for women and girls to automatically pick fault with one another. And, why? Most of, if not all of us, have insecurities. There are aspects of our personalities, lives and bodies we wish we could alter and can't. That is normal, and we can accept that, right? So why is it that, when in defence, our first strike normally aims straight for the personal - picking specific insults that we know are going to hurt? No one out there is better than you, they are just different and learning to accept each other's differences is a long time coming.
Who are we to determine 'perfection'? (I'll give you a clue, there's no such thing) - Beauty isn't skin deep and it isn't something you achieve by looking a certain way, it is something you are born with and should be taught to embrace because it's completely unique amongst beings. I promise you, it's not defined by how clear your skin is, how hysterical your jokes are or whether or not you're in touch with the latest fashion and trends. Currently, there are certain stigmas hanging around the word 'society'. And rightly so. It is trying to teach us to be a certain way, to admire and yearn to be someone else; rather than accepting and loving ourselves. By singling out someone else's flaws, we are pushing that person to feel like they aren't good enough, and like they be look a certain way; different to who they are. We should be encouraging the women of today; young, old, big, little - it doesn't matter - to embrace their beautiful souls, to do what they damn well please (as long as they aren't hurting themselves or others) and to spread nothing but love.
I have a theory. For centuries, women have been tirelessly and mercilessly digging each other out. Consider the fact that after playing audience to it for so many years, perhaps our male counterparts deemed it acceptable to discriminate and criticize women because those who are meant to be our 'sisters' and support team started doing it first?
So I quit, cold turkey. I stopped judging other people on the way that looked, the way they dressed and the way they were. I stopped blaming every other person on this planet other than myself for mistakes and issues I needed to tackle and I started noticing all of the wonderful qualities people had. To always see the good in something, or optimism, is a gift. Let's now all make a promise to only see the good in people. Trust me, this is how I learned to love myself. I rid my life of all the nastiness and negativity and paved my own path to happiness.
It is empowering to empower another person. Aside from (maybe) an orgasm, there is no feeling more satisfying. When women support each other, incredible things happen. And, as women, we are fighting a pretty tough battle; against history, against sexism, against racism, against homophobia, against the patriarchy and against ourselves. We NEED the support! We NEED to work together as one giant, unstoppable force to be reckoned with.
If you're making a resolution, not just for this year but for the rest of your life, let this be it.