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This Is What Makes us Strong

Sunday, August 02, 2015Pioneers of Wonderland


Lana Del Rey - What Makes Us (Album Version) from soulvocals on Vimeo.


While sitting at my office desk a few weeks ago organizing files, Lana Del Rey's melancholy song "This Is What Makes Us Girls" popped up on my Pandora. Though the song seems to epitomize the actions and thoughts of teenagers,  I feel that women beyond their teen years can relate to it as well.   On top of already being more expressive and sensitive in comparison to guys, girls at every age tend to give their hearts away so easily that love becomes the top, and sometimes only, priority.  


In many cases, we girls are so into our 'lovaas' that we sacrifice our own interests and the people in our lives who care about us. We ultimately end up losing our sense of self-worth and independence, which in turn, makes falling hard and getting hurt a continuous cycle.
Like a broken record, irrational hopes and dreams of love are on repeat in our heads. When it finally stops spinning, the silence is deafening. And, in typical girlish fashion, we comfort ourselves by stuffing our faces with a recipe of:
  • 3 tablespoons of anxiety
  • 1/2 a cup of hopelessness
  • a dash of self-loathing 
  • and a whole ton of  long-lasting resentment (mostly towards ourselves)
WARNING: This concoction of negativity can be lethal physically and mentally!
Every woman has her breaking point; at the age of 22, I finally had mine.  For the first time, I was sick and tired of constantly being the girl who cared so much about love. I was over the illusion that I could depend on a man for happiness.  But most importantly, I was done being the naive dreamer crying about "how I hate those guys."  #ICANT  It was time to grow up and become a woman that I could always be proud of. After adjusting my attitude, making a few tough decisions, and learning the tips that I'm about share with you, I had a spring and summer of unforgettable memories that I can call my own.
Tip#1 Prepare To Become Your Own Woman
It was the almighty BeyoncĂ© of Destiny's Child who once sang, "Ladies, it ain't easy being independent."  When a woman is able to take care of herself financially and emotionally (i.e without her parents or man),  we can't help but throw our hands up at her.   If you no longer want to be a girl out of Lana's "Born to Die" album, you best be putting on some Destiny's Child and becoming the strong, independent woman you deserve to be.
Find a good job, save some money, take up a hobby, set goals that you can achieve- go make your dreams come true, plain and simple!  We are no longer in high school, ladies. There should never be a reason why you're sitting around bored waiting for a phone call.  Work on building who you are and you'll never have to depend on anyone but yourself to survive!
Tip #2 Embrace Your Alone Time

According to author Kelly Williams Brown, "You will be with yourself for the rest of your life, so you'd best learn to enjoy your own company."  There's no way a girl can function happily and sanely if she doesn't value her alone time. Spending time with yourself allows you to unwind, discover who you are and what you like, make effective and logical decisions, and become more appreciative of those around you.  The sooner you accept that loneliness isn't always a bad thing, the sooner you're going to find yourself enjoying life.
If that's not enough for you, think about it this way- years from now, you'll most likely be bound to a man who you want to strangle. You'll have little carbon-copy human beings you created running around, crying, and spitting up all over you. You're going to wish you hadn't taken that loneliness for granted.#JUSTSAYIN
Tip #3 Anger, Resentment, Sadness: Don't Suppress It, Address it!
According to fellow Girlish Writer, Jasmine Osborne: 
"The only way to get over resentment is to let yourself feel it. It's actually a good sign. Anger is one of the stages of grief, that means you're over denial.  Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to have whatever feelings you have.  If you don't let yourself experience them now, if you suppress them, you're just delaying the inevitable."
Suppressing those ill feelings will lead to stress and anxiety. It is only when you allow yourself to fully experience the negative feelings that you can put them in perspective and utilize healthy coping mechanisms to eliminate them.

Tip #4 Keep Your Friends Close ALWAYS

As mentioned in Lana's song, girls are not known for sticking together because we put our love for our men first. Think about it- doesn't it always seem that there are more guys than girls that are still life-long friends with their buddies from grade school?  How many times were you unable to make plans with your girlfriends because you were waiting on your man to text you back? Do your "best friends" always seem to change over the years?
If there's one tip I would really want you readers to follow, it would definitely be this one.  Your true friends are the best sources of confidence, laughter, good times, understanding, and love.  When in despair, they're always there to give you words of encouragement and hope. When great things happen in your life, they're the first to cheer up and down, letting the rest of the world know how awesome you are.  They're the people who accept you for who you truly are and want what's best for you . It is important that you keep them in your life for a long time because you in fact DO need them.
The moment I hit an all-time low, my girlfriends were instantly at my side to plan our next adventure.  It is because of them that I can walk around with my head held high, a load of texts on my phone, and piles of memories to cherish.
Tip #5 Build Those Walls As High As You Have To 
We've all heard that you need to tear your emotional walls down so your soul can be free, seen, and understood. Contrary to the advice of the media, therapists, and men (and why are we listening to them, anyway?), my beliefs are a little off the beaten path. Unless you want to repeatedly get your heart broken and be treated like a doormat, I suggest putting up a Berlin Wall.
By letting every Dick, Tom, and Harry you meet know your strengths, weaknesses, or that you weren't loved enough as a child too soon, you're asking to get hurt. If you want to be a strong, unique, and respected woman, you should value yourself and let people WORK for your trust. You are a hot commodity, now act like it! If someone has to earn your trust, they'll think twice before they do something to lose it.
With time, the Cold War will end. You can take down your walls and let someone in. Just be sure that they deserve it.
Tip #6 Treat And Retreat
We girls tend to focus a great deal of energy on becoming what others want or need us to be: responsible, helpful, useful, logical, and somewhat reasonable. Though these characteristics are necessary to have, the only way you can develop and maintain them is if you care for the mind, body, and soul. Sometimes you need, and so rightfully deserve, to pamper yourself like a queen.
Here are a few sensual suggestions to get you on the right track:
  1. Drop by the nail salon for a mani/pedi
  2. Tame your tresses with a sleek new haircut
  3. Go on a shopping spree and perhaps even order that sexy dress you've been obsessively eyeing on Nasty Gal
  4. Call up your girlfriends and hit the club for some dancing
  5. Hike a huge mountain
  6. Beach it up to work on your tan
  7. Buy a plane ticket or fill up the gas tank and head to a place you've always wanted to visit
  8. Log onto Pinterest and try out one of the thousands of crafts you've pinned on your board
  9. Blast some music and dance around the house in your underwear (preferably when no one's around)
Taking the time to do things that make you smile can alleviate the stress of day-to-day life. Your happiness is contagious; when you treat yourself well, it's much easier to treat others well.
Tip #7 Wear Your Confidence, Not Your Heart, On Your Sleeve
 
As discussed, being too open with your emotions too quickly can be detrimental. Instead, you should be showing off your confidence. If you're already following tips 1-6 with success, this last tip should be a breeze. If not, fake it 'til you make it! Confidence is by far a girl's best accessory. It has the power to inspire and attract people.   Remember ladies- it was your lack of confidence in yourself that may have landed you in the situations that Lana sings about. You need to believe in yourself! If you don't, why should anyone else?
 ---

 I can't promise that these tips will prevent you from experiencing disappointment and heartbreak in the future. Sometimes circumstances are beyond our control. That being said, these tips should empower you to make the best out of any situation by focusing on your personal growth, joy, and self-love. Although I adore and appreciate Lana Del Rey's ballad, I can't let it define me. We cannot change our pasts, but we can take charge of our futures.

Author: Athena Gomez-Hipolito
Editor and Contributor: Jesse Meade
Photography source: Weheartit (Lana Del Rey, Destiny's Child, Audrey Hepburn, Marie Antoinette , The Great Gatsby, and Pitch Perfect)
Music: This is What Makes Us Girls by Lana Del Rey

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