I asked 60 teenage (13-15 yrs) girls if having a boyfriend does or would make them feel more beautiful. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was when 60-70% of the girls raised their hand ‘yes!’ I was running a workshop on inner beauty and had a panel of 4 of their peers talk and answer questions. I also had opportunity to share part of my life journey with them.
I got to talk about when two people get together in a relationship it defies mathematics, it must be 1 + 1 =1. We girls are not half a person seeking another half, when we choose a life partner we must be happy within ourselves (even with our looks), otherwise we spend our lifetime trying to get others to fill our emptiness (including any feelings of ugliness or not-good-enough-ness).
I asked the girls what their definition of beauty was and they were adamant that beauty is inside and outside.
Audrey Hepburn said it like this – “The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.”
I love that, a great summary to remember on bad hair days when my kids are fighting and i haven’t shaved my legs or done the washing all week.
I asked the girls to put a percentage on how they perceived boys looked at beauty. The girls chatted in groups of 4’s and then we heard from each group. Every group except one pegged the percentage of boys looking at outward beauty vs inward beauty at, at least 50% and a quarter of the groups had it as high as 70%. I was saddened to hear that these beautiful, fresh face girls feel such pressure.
As a teen i loved attention from boys and went out of my way to seek it. I feel humbled to have the privilege to stand before some teen girls and share my learnings about boys, true beauty and body.
My favourite part of the workshop was having the girls turn to each other and solemnly repeat:
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is noone alive, who is youer than you!” – Dr Seuss
(Thanks Ky for the above quote!) There was lots of giggling and fun, wish i could share the whole 40 minutes with you all, i loved hearing from the girls their encouragement toward each other and their openness to express their uniqueness and their spiritual journey. I wish someone had of spent time with me as a teen facilitating discussions on girl stuff, i think the teen years would have been a whole lot less confusing if they had.
I have the privilege of raising 2 amazing girls and treasure the one on one time i get to snatch with each of them.
I think passing on wisdom is a very important part of being a woman and mother, I think that’s why a cup of tea was invented (herbal for them of course).