Let’s face it so many of us grown up’s and young girls are so busy following the lives and dreams of other people that we often forget to focus on who we are or what we want. We become absorbed in the carefully crafted brands of famous (or Insta-famous) personalities that we fail to notice our own unique talents and desires. We need to role model and teach girls the social and emotional skills necessary to develop their own “brand.”
The highly curated social media accounts that girls love to follow frequently inspire jealousy and awe… just as they’re meant to. They make girls want to go to Coachella and rock that flower crown and boho chic outfit they’ve been planning for months. They make teens want to photograph those amazing sushi rolls that they’re eating or that perfect pair of Sam Smith sneakers they’re wearing. They feel like they should have boyfriends like Tyga posing with them at all times. They wonder why a random mystery man didn’t give them a Rolls Royce for their birthday! (Okay, maybe it doesn’t go that far, but you get what I’m saying.)
Instead of constantly staring at the screen watching others in admiration, it’s important for girls to learn the skill of introspection so that they can focus on what they really want. What is actually important to them? Are the people and things in those uber-edited photos and pristine snaps really their desires too? Are those their life goals? Really?
Girls need to realize that a person’s Instagram gallery is their “greatest hits” album and not an honest look into their everyday life. They shouldn’t compare someone else’s highlight reel to their uncut feature film! Because even when it comes to celebrity accounts, we don’t get to see those multiple, awkward attempts at the perfect selfie or the insane amount of time they spend editing, cropping, and filtering those pics. And most importantly, we forget that they’re real people looking for online validation through that double-tap too. We ALL (men too ladies) don’t feel smart enough, pretty enough and capable enough at times. It’s what we do with these thoughts where the rubber hits the road (different saying ideas? This is so old-fashioned)
I recently watched an episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” with my teen daughter just to see what it was all about and sprinkled throughout the insanity of their lives were seeds of self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity. We’re all human. Even those with bigger cars, homes and celebrity status.
While the lives of others – or those snippets that we get to see via social media – may be really fun to look at, they’re often just distractions. And they definitely don’t further any sort of self-development. You become a fan of someone else’s brand rather than building on your own!
Instead, we should encourage girls (and ourselves) to start focusing on the brand of me!
To help you and her discover what your brand is, ask yourself a few questions. What comes inherently easy to me? What do I enjoy doing when I have free time? What do I do that causes me to lose track of time? Crafty art projects, singing, dancing, cooking, a particular sport, planning parties, organizing, fixing things, following the latest fashion trends are just a few.
Got to a bookstore (yes, they still exist) and notice what types of books you both are most drawn to. Cookbooks, Science Fiction, an Autobiography? Open a magazine and notice which articles you both turn to first? What are you interested in learning more about? What issues are going on in the world that touch your heart? When you both see a homeless person, hear about abandoned animals or notice that communities right around the corner don’t have as “much” as you do how do you (and she) react? What does your daughter tell you that she wishes she were “old enough” to do?
The answers to these questions can help her create “the brand of you!”
Try to look inward. Rather than fixating on the already-developed brands of social media mavens, find what you love and be distinctive. Be original. Be interesting. Become good at what you love. Pursue things you care about, not what others say you should care about. That’s what makes a brand fun to “follow.” Put that on display for the world to see and what the magic (and confidence) come to life.
(Besides, do you know what tickets to Coachella cost? And what if you don’t even like sushi?)
But remember that your brand isn’t permanent. It doesn’t have to stay the same forever. Your brand is ever-changing, and it can grow along with you. You may love fashion right now, but in the future, that passion might be replaced with a newly discovered love of yoga and meditation. You and your brand might evolve into something else, and you may even feel like a different person. As long as it feels authentic in this moment, stick to your brand. Grow it and cultivate it.
Be able to own who you are. Make your brand something you’re proud of. And be able to own the mistakes you’ve made along the way too. This means everything.
Develop the brand of you. Know it. Appreciate it. Allow it to change when necessary.
…Flower crowns are so lame anyway.