“What movie do you want to see tonight?”
“Where do you want to go eat?”
The automatic, knee-jerk response from most teen girls to such inquiries is, “I don’t care, whatever you want.” The long-term consequence of not stating their needs and desires is that they often don’t get what they want, and resentment ensues. Little by little, girls give up their power to others.
There is an Aesop’s Fable about a fox who offers a group of birds a deal: he’ll bring them a fat worm and all he wants in return is one of their feathers. One bird took him up on the offer, received her worm, and willingly gave up one of her feathers. This pattern went on for several weeks until the bird had given up so many of her feathers that she could no longer fly. The fox promptly ate her up.
The moral of the story for girls: don’t give up your feathers! For girls, this means stop giving up your power. There are many ways girls do this, and one of the most common is not advocating for themselves. When a girl doesn’t state her needs or desires, she is teaching her friends that what she has to say is not important, and therefore SHE is not important. That is why she needs to care.
Before a girl can speak her needs, she has to KNOW what she wants and what’s important to her. That usually requires some quiet time to go inward and access their inner knowing, their intuition. Then when someone asks their opinion, I teach girls to catch themselves before they give their automatic reply and take a minute to figure out what’s right for them in that moment. I encourage them to put it out there and then assess the results. Almost always, friends are fine with them stating their needs; no harm no foul. And that becomes new evidence for girls who too often believe friends will get mad at them, criticize their choices, or reject them if they have an opinion.
Speaking their truth with authority teaches people that what they have to say is meaningful, and therefore THEY are important. I want every girl to both know and care more, and that takes practice. The benefit is they will become more confident and happy.
DON’T GIVE UP YOUR FEATHERS!