Value vs. Worth

Have you ever thought about the distinction between the term “Value” vs. “Worth?”

When something has value, it is worth something. Or, is it the other way around: when something is worth something, it has value? Hmmm…

As young girls and women, we often struggle with issues of self worth and our value. A couple of months ago, actress Jennifer Lawrence wrote an article voicing her concerns about current wage gaps between male and female actors in Hollywood. Her experiences are shared by many other women – celebrity or not. And, there are many other issues for which women struggle to maintain their self worth/value. At the core of Jennifer’s sentiments is the need to really know oneself – Who am I? Whose am I? Why do I exist? What assets do I possess?

Here are Google’s definitions of these terms (as nouns):

  • Value: “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”
  • Worth: “the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.”

I am struck by this definition of worth “the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.” In other words, we need to know the worth of something/one before a value can be placed on that thing/person.

This being the week of the Christmas holiday – a time when we await/remember the birth of Jesus, the Son of God – let’s reflect a little on the significance of Christ’s birth. God decided that the world needed a Savior. He thought that you and I were worth being saved from our sins and the evils of the world. Hence, he allowed Mary (a Virgin) to be conceived by the Holy Spirit and give birth to Jesus (Immanuel; God with Us). Take a moment and reflect on the fact that God thought you and I were worth it. As a result, we have value! And that value is priceless 🙂

Here’s an assignment as we usher in the New Year: watch the video below, reflect on your worth and value (we all have worth and value), and write out and say “I AM _____” statements as instructed by Iyanla everyday for at least one month or 40 days. Also, share your thoughts on why it’s so hard for girls and women to feel worthy and valuable in the comments section below. Why do we doubt (or hesitate about) our worth/value?

 

Our hope at SEGEI is that every girl and woman starts recognizing and embracing her self worth and value. As the L’Oreal commercial says, “Because You’re Worth It!”

Stay beautiful! ❤

P.S: We have moved to our website. Keep up with our posts at: http://strongenoughgirls.org/blog/

… not on the other side

A couple of weeks ago, i met someone who recently returned to her former job after taking a job with another institution for two years. She said “I realized the grass is not always greener [on the other side] and i decided to return.” My response was, “Wow! It’s nice that [your former institution] was nice to take you back.” 🙂 Interestingly, she is back in the same position she was before she left. Well, guess it’s true that whatever is meant for you will be for you.

I thought i’d write on this subject because quite often, we as girls/women see pictures of our friends (or other women) or hear about an exciting thing someone else is doing and we begin to wonder what if? We start analyzing our situations and begin comparing our positions/places in life with others around us. Many times, this happens when we look at pictures of our friends on social media outlets or when we catch up after a long time. Ever wished you lived/worked in another City? State? Country? Another part of the world? Ever wondered how your life would be different if you were single, in a relationship, married, dating/married to someone else?!

grass greenerThere are several circumstances we face that might cause us to think that life is better on the other side. However, i want to caution you today to think carefully before you get envious and/or make a drastic decision. Below are some questions and tips to consider before your next big decision:

Regarding a career opportunity:

  • Is this my passion? (Do not pursue an opportunity for the money, glam, or because of your friends)
  • Will this make me happy? And/or will this opportunity help me grow?
  • How much more value will this opportunity add to my life/career trajectory?
  • Have I watered the grass where i am and it still isn’t getting/looking greener?
  • Have I spoken to and heard from God about this?
  • Am i ready for the implications, whatever they may be?

Regarding a romantic relationship:

  • Will this relationship make me truly happy?
  • Why do i want this relationship?
  • Am i (physically, mentally, emotionally/spiritually) ready for this relationship?
  • Have i spoken to and heard from God about this relationship?
  • Am i confident in/of who i am as a person? (It is important to know yourself well before getting involved in a romantic relationship with another person; things get very emotional)

Those are the tips that come to my mind at the moment. But, i would love to hear any tips/advice you have to share. Also, if you’d like to chat about this and other SEG posts, send me a note at nigerianstar2007@yahoo.com. And, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/strongenoughgirls?ref=hl.

Remember, you hold the key to your happiness.

learn-to-appreciate

Stay beautiful,

Mizz “O”

How Much of the Real You Do People See?

Hello Strong Enough Girls,

Here at SEG, we’re fans of authentic living, so, we want to share a fun quiz we found on Oprah.com to help you reflect on how authentically you are living life. What does it mean to live an authentic life? Merriam Webster defines authentic as “not false or imitation: real, actual; true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” Are you ready for the quiz?

authentic-self-soul-made-visible2

Go here: http://www.oprah.com/inspiration/Genuine-Life-Quiz (and come back; see below)

How did taking the quiz make you feel? What did it reveal? Do you feel it is accurate? Share with us! We’re a community. We want to support and empower girls and women to be their best selves, always. Together, we can help each other live beautifully, strongly, and authentically.

Lady O, a woman of authenticity

Lady O, a woman of authenticity

The fullness of our humanity can be expressed only when we are true to ourselves. Your real job on earth is to become more of who you really are. To live to the highest degree what is pure, what is honest, what is natural, what feels like the real you.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/inspiration/What-Oprah-Knows-For-Sure-About-Authenticity#ixzz3pp2BJ352

Till next time, remember to:

Pinterest.com

Pinterest.com

Bodily Integrity

Hello ladies!

Something much like this outfit

Something much like this outfit

I watched the Steve Harvey show the other day, and on the show was a 21 year old female college student whose mom brought her on the show because of the way she dresses; the young lady’s sense of fashion always leaves nothing [of her body] to be imagined (aka she enjoys wearing revealing clothes). In fact, a picture of the young lady was shown in which she had on a dress with cut-out slits down the sides (see sample image on the right). She confessed that she wore this outfit to church! In defense of her decision, she told Mr. Harvey  “God sees everything; He sees how i dress when i’m not in church, so, i like to be myself at church.” (paraphrased) Wow! #Bold

Mr. Harvey responded by saying “Yes, God sees everything. But man does not need to.” Excellent response! (*applause for Mr. Harvey*) He added that a man who looks at the lady in that dress, “sees what he can get.” He advised her to dress in an appropriate manner that doesn’t show a man what he can get, but makes him “imagine what he can have.” (*snapping fingers*) I think i know what he means, and i’d have to agree. Well, well, leave it up to Mr. Steve Harvey to be the women’s coach!

I write this post to say dear girl, please protect your bodily integrity. I don’t mean to deny you of your right to dress how you choose, but please, for decency’s sake and for the love of the temple [your beautiful body] that God has so graciously blessed you with, dress modestly. And, please, never wear an outfit like the one in the sample image to church (or any religious institution). Church is a sacred place; honor God, at least! I almost reached into my TV screen to give the young lady a slap when i heard her remarks to Steve Harvey. But, i didn’t 🙂 I chose to forgive her… just this once though. #Fatherhelpyourchildren

Feel free to share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

With concern (and love),

Mizz “O”

Dear Girl

12144663_10153335834906185_307051250012350915_nDear girl (adolescent, youth, or adult),

When you meet a guy you really like, be sure to ask for an open line of communication. Just say, “Hey! I value honesty in my relationships so, can we be straight forward with each other about our intentions and expectations?” This is one lesson i have taken away from my encounters with guys and many conversations with my girlfriends. You know those girlfriend conversations when you’re like “I’m not sure if he likes me…,” or “He said ____, but i don’t know what that means?” Yeah, those ones! They’re not very fun, and they signal miscommunication. Blurred lines create disappointments and mishaps. One of the ills in society is that there are too many blurred lines between people of the opposite sex. And for this reason, some people have said that it is not possible for a guy and a girl to be just friends. While i can say that i have guy friends who are indeed just friends, i also realize that when/if care is not taken with each other (and we get too close), human nature (aka our hormones) goes to work. And, this often creates a complicated relationship and most times ends the friendship. So, when you meet that guy who makes your stomach feel like you have butterflies or who piques your romantic interest, be straight forward. I bet you, he’ll respect you a lot more and you’ll feel like a Champ! Besides, being straight forward makes whatever happens next (good or bad) less blurry… and i think less blur is a good thing 🙂

So, dear girl, I hope you always remember that you are brilliant, beautiful, and brave. You never know until you ask; and asking, my friend, makes things less complicated.

Stay strong,

Mizz “O”

Sex Ed is not just for girls…

I read this article today Why Schools Can’t Teach Sex Ed and it has inspired this post.

As an advocate for young people’s positive health and development, i think Sex Sexuality Education is critical for pre-teens and teenagers – girls and boys. I recently returned from a one-year learning adventure in Nigeria exploring adolescent health issues. My work focused on sexuality education and gender issues. My activities included conducting workshops and school outreaches with secondary school students on adolescent and sexual and reproductive health. Interestingly, many of the male students i interacted with felt that the information being taught (via the Family Life and HIV Education curriculum) was geared mostly at girls. You know, i have to agree with them. Many of the lessons discussed consequences of teenage pregnancy, myths about sexual health, and sexual abuse, and when these topics are taught, girls are often the focus; when girls get pregnant, they (not their male partners) are kicked out of school; girls are the ones who get abused by men, etc. These sentiments need to change; boys are also impacted by negative myths around sexual health and they also experience sexual abuse. The article and selected statements below speak to a couple of ideas that i think are very important when teaching sexuality education to young people and for all parents/guardians. (You might need to read more of the article to get the full perspective.)

We teach girls how to protect themselves, adds Wiseman, and their rights to say yes and no to sexual behaviors. But we don’t teach boys the complexities of these situations or that they’re a part of the conversation. “We talk to them in sound bites: ‘no means no.’ Well, of course it does, but it’s really confusing when you’re a 15-year-old boy and you’re interacting with girls that are trying out their sexuality,” she adds. Data show that boys are less likely than girls to talk to their parents about birth control or “how to say no to sex,” and 46% of sexually experienced teen boys do not receive formal instruction about contraception before they first have sex compared to 33% of teen girls.

A recent survey from Planned Parenthood shows that 80% of parents are willing to have “the talk” with their kids, but in order for these conversations to have real meaning, parents need to understand just how much sexual exposure their kids are getting daily and how soon. They also need to overcome the desire to lecture, and kids need to understand that the conversation is less about rules and more about guidance. All of this while having a conversation about what is usually a very private matter.

So, let’s incorporate boys in our sexuality education programming. After all, we all know that it takes two to tango.

You can learn more about my time and work in Nigeria here.

Cheers,

Mizz “O”

SEG of the Week: Jennifer Lawrence

Check out what American Actress and Hollywood Star, Jennifer Lawrence had to say about wage gaps between men and women in a recent write-up (copied below). Her honest and feisty reflection makes her our Strong Enough Girl (SEG) of the week. Your comments/thoughts are welcome.

Why Do I Make Less Than My

Male Co‑Stars?

By Jennifer Lawrence

J Law

(Illustration Credit: Jennifer Williams)

When Lena first brought up the idea of Lenny to me, I was excited. Excited to speak to Lena, who I think is a genius, and excited to start thinking about what to complain about (that’s not what she pitched me, it’s just what I’m gonna do). When it comes to the subject of feminism, I’ve remained ever-so-slightly quiet. I don’t like joining conversations that feel like they’re “trending.” I’m even the asshole who didn’t do anything about the ice-bucket challenge — which was saving lives — because it started to feel more like a “trend” than a cause. I should have written a check, but I fucking forgot, okay? I’m not perfect. But with a lot of talk comes change, so I want to be honest and open and, fingers crossed, not piss anyone off.

It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).

But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? I’m seriously asking — my phone is on the counter and I’m on the couch, so a calculator is obviously out of the question. Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?

A few weeks ago at work, I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive.

I’m over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard. Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share. Again, this might have NOTHING to do with my vagina, but I wasn’t completely wrong when another leaked Sony email revealed a producer referring to a fellow lead actress in a negotiation as a “spoiled brat.” For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.

International Day of the Girl Child: Why You Should Care

First lady of the United States, Michelle Obama recently set social media ablaze with her strong messages to girls about the power of an education. “It is part of my passion and my mission to make sure that every girl on the planet has the same opportunity that I had… I want you to be that hungry to get your education because it is going to be the key to your future,” she said. I can’t agree more. Empowering girls is also my passion + mission.

During the past year, I was in Nigeria and had the opportunity to work with adolescent girls on issues pertaining to their health and development. I saw firsthand the realities that girls in poor communities face. In September, I was privileged to host (as part of my work with Action Health Incorporated) a state-wide high-level dialogue in Lagos State to catalyze support for advancing the health, education, and livelihood of out-of-school adolescent girls living in Lagos slums. Many distinguished public and private sector guests including three-term member of the Nigerian House of Representatives Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Permanent Secretaries of the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Youth and Social Development attended the event. The event was a response to findings from research conducted by AHI in Iwaya and Makoko – two of Lagos state’s largest and well-known slums. The research revealed that there are over 480 girls who are out-of-school in those communities, and many of these girls’ lives are being severely compromised as a result of poor sanitary conditions, limited access to health services, poor social networks and lack of education to name a few.

Many barriers prevent girls from enrolling and staying in school. These barriers include supplemental costs of uniforms and school supplies, distance of schools from the home/lack of transportation, and lack of parental and community support for girl-child education. Sadly, many parents/guardians often prioritize girls’ labor over their learning as a result of poverty, which demands their daughter’s participation in generating quick income for family survival. This inability to attend school places girls at risk of many personal and social ills, including illiteracy, early pregnancy, harassment, violence, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Girls who are not educated are a threat to the economic and social stability of a country. Like every human being, a girl’s power lies in her ability to contribute actively to the social and economic advancement of her family and society.

On Sunday, October 11, the world will be celebrating International Day of the Girl Child, a day declared by the United Nations “to raise awareness of the situation of girls around the world” and to galvanize local and global support to help girls reach their full potential. This year, in honor of my work in Nigeria and for the over #62MillionGirls who are not in school, I am asking you to join me in elevating girls as follows:

A Call to Action:

  • Support evidence-based programs for out-of-school adolescent girls tailored to meet their needs
  • Provide opportunities for out-of-school adolescent girls to gain formal and informal education through facilitating their entry into school and/or vocational training programs
  • Inform members of your community about the value of an empowered girl
  • Support the creation and enforcement of policies that protect adolescent girls from sexual harassment, violence, and exploitation
  • Empower girls in your family and community with age-appropiate sexual and reproductive health information and livelihood skills so that they can take control of their bodies and lives

I appreciate you for reading and invite you to share the current issues/challenges that girls in your community face in the comments space below. Let’s help girls be great!

#GirlPower #UnleashIt

#GirlPower #UnleashIt