“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
Who wasn’t moved by these three words at the beginning of The Help as nanny Aibileen tucked a four-year-old child into bed? Kind. Smart. Important. Surely those three words strike a chord with many women across the world thinking, “Am I kind? Am I smart?” But perhaps the most significant question is, “Am I important?”
On March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, and women of the world took to the internet through meme, inspirational quote and hashtag to celebrate the importance of females everywhere.
However, nearly 100 percent of women still lack celebration from their most important supporters: themselves.
A study conducted by women’s magazine Glamour and psychologist Ann Kearney-Cooke, found 97 percent of women think at least one negative thought about themselves daily, specifically about body image. The study found a majority of these women had anywhere between 30 to 100 negative thoughts about themselves each day. That’s a negative thought one to four times every hour. Sound familiar?
You’ve heard this before; we’ve all heard this before. Our biggest critic is ourselves, even when we should be our most vivacious cheerleader. There is no need for this form of mental mutilation. Each of you is amazing for so many different reasons.
Primary General President Sister Joy D. Jones put it more eloquently than I ever could in her most recent general women’s session talk, “Value Beyond Measure,” when she urged the audience of international women to remember “the most inferior spirit on this earth is worth worlds.”
You are worth worlds, and you have value beyond measure. The women on this campus and the women in our lives are beautiful — both inside and out. We can continue to celebrate even when the voices of International Women’s Day have long since faded.
Women cannot be rightly celebrated if they are not first celebrating themselves without the constant shadow of self-doubt, unrealized potential and negative self-talk.
You are kind. You are smart. You are important.
On the other hand, women cannot be celebrated by others if we are not first celebrating each other.
In light of the #metoo movement, more women than ever are stepping out and pleading for the support of those in positions to create change, which in most cases are men.
While I commend and fully endorse the rallying cry for men to respect and support women in the workplace, relationships and everyday life, I want to shout my own rally, aimed directly at all women: Support for women begins with women.
I believe we live in a world where comparison is the thief of joy. The cry for total equality shadows the amazing qualities exclusively to females, and adequate admiration from woman to woman is in short supply.
Empower yourselves, and, in turn, empower other women. Empowered women empower women. Become inspired and enlightened by the actions of the strong women surrounding you.
Think of how many amazing women you know in your life.
I am inspired by my mother, who in the midst of a difficult time, began pursuing her master’s degree while working full-time as an elementary school teacher and learning how to be a single mother of four children. I am inspired by the female teachers I have had the opportunity to learn from on campus, many of whom have had successful careers in their fields before teaching at BYU-Idaho.
I am inspired by the ward Relief Society president, who amidst classes, midterms and a personal life, takes the time to learn each girl’s name. I am inspired by the students thousands of miles away from their home who attend the Writing Center each week because English is not their first language.
I am here to tell you I see you, I support you and I admire you.
Ladies, remember you are beautiful, but you are also kind. You are smart, and you are so very important.