5.09.2016

You Cannot Define Me

"Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined." 
- Toni Morrison  

How would you define yourself? You might say something like: friendly, compassionate, intelligent, determined - you know, all the buzz-words we like to use about ourselves. But, who's definition is this? It's yours! Would your mom have the same definition? What about your close friend? Your enemy? Maybe not. You see, the definition of YOU depends on who is writing the definition. It depends on their perspective. If they like you, their definition will most likely be similar to yours. If it's someone you've burned a bridge with, I bet their definition of you would be vastly different. Definitions are created by the person doing the defining. They are not static, they are not absolute. These "labels" that people assign to us belong to them, not us. Someone's definition of you says more about them than it does about you. Only YOU are in control of YOU. We cannot accept them for truth unless we give them the power to be true. The only definition we can accept as truth is the one that we write ourselves. You are entirely up to you. 

A common word that most of us get wrong all the time is beauty. We allow magazines, Instagram posts, and reality television to define it for us. We accept Hollywood's beauty standards for truth and try to squeeze ourselves into their discriminating definition. But when we look in the mirror and don't see the beauty that we see on the celebrities, it's hard to imagine where we belong. Many of us find ourselves thinking: Well, I don't look like her and if that's what beauty is then I definitely don't have it or I'm anything but that. It's easy to feel like an "other" when we can't see ourselves in someone else's limited definition. We must rewrite the definition so that it includes someone as beautiful as you! Only you can decide what is and is not beautiful. 

At RISE like a girl this week, the girls and I decided to take some common definitions into our own hands. We cannot accept the way someone else defines it because we know it only applies to us if we write it. It's all about redefining what is valuable and making sure that we're included in the definition. I chose 5 words for girls to redefine in an inclusive, new way. Below, I compare the common dictionary definition to the definitions that the girls came up with. 

Beautiful 
Dictionary definition - (adj.) pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically; of a very high standard



Our definition - (adj.) being yourself; the qualities that someone has on the inside

Smart 
Dictionary definition - (adj.) having or showing a quick-witted intelligence 




Our definition - (adj.) knowing a lot of things but not showing off; showing what you know in your own way

Girl
Dictionary definition - (noun) a female child 




Our definition - (noun) someone who has many options of what they want to be and believes in equality 

Strong 
Dictionary definition - (adj.) having the power to move heavy weights or perform physically demanding tasks 




Our definition - (adj.) bring able to mentally overcome anything; being positive when someone brings them down

RISE like a girl (hehe I had to do it!)
Dictionary definition - (noun) it doesn't exist...yet! 



Our definition - (noun) an organization that helps girls rise above society's expectations of a female; a support system for girls that one day will become exceptional women


Never let someone else define your identity. There is no one else in this world that knows YOU better YOU! Embrace your individuality, make your own rules, and live the life that you've always imagined. 
You are entirely up to you.

Sending you all my love!

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