Meghan Markle v #meangirls

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I didn’t mean to watch the Royal Wedding. I was in a hotel room in Florida and woke up before my alarm clock. I laid there, wishing myself back to sleep, but Instagram called. I followed the arrival of the guests and then finally sighed and clicked on the TV, I can’t be the only one awake who isn’t watching it.

I didn’t get caught up like others. I didn’t cry. I don’t know them. I’m always happy to see people in love, but my interest wasn’t seated in their romance.

No, I was more aware of the tone of the ceremony. It was one of marked diversity and inclusion. It asked the world to move from lines to love. It was purposeful and resolute. There was deep symbolism and meaning. Every moment was perfectly orchestrated. I saw two people who not only love one another, but who also recognize they are offered a global platform.

They said the things they needed to say without saying a word.

I was coming off a bit of a the world is changing kind of high. I had just watched Prince Charles reach out to Meghan’s mother, escorting her away from the alter as they supported their children by witnessing their marriage. This man, who will become King, also honored their family by walking Meghan down the aisle toward his son.

In those moments they were simply parents. Nothing more. Nothing less.

These are the moments that make me believe in people again. That make me fully aware that there is more good than bad, more hope than fear, more love than hate.

Until a bunch of women began posting comparisons of Meghan, a woman who just did what would have been considered impossible even a decade ago, to both Kate and Diana. Her dress was torn apart, her hair discussed in great detail and concerns over her minimal makeup were shared. Shared so that other women would join the discussion in a group-hating circle that would then be made socially acceptable by their complicity. Especially when toxicity begins with a compliment, “Don’t get me wrong, she’s amazing, but…”

They call this the Oreo Effect. Start with the good, say something terrible, and end with the good, so that the person eating your particular trans fat (or what they call constructive criticism in Corporate America) feel better about something negative.

If you ever start a sentence, “Let me start by saying…” or “I don’t mean to be a bitch, but…” check yourself.

Women have been programmed to take each other out. We are asked to compete with one another for jobs, security, mates, survival. We compare ourselves and others to feel better about what we consider our own shortcomings. At some point in time we believed we were unworthy in all matter of ways. I could go on for at least three more paragraphs about misogyny, the patriarchy, advertising and social influence, but you get the picture. This unworthiness, this competition, has become a hum in our veins, a social and cultural bias that has been coded into our DNA, and we don’t even know when we are doing it.

Start recognizing when you are doing it. Consciously monitor your internal talk. Do you judge others? How does seeing another achieve make you feel? If you aren’t happy for them, why? If you have to find something wrong, why? Recognize you’ve been triggered, send them a blessing, good for them, and dig in to why you are having a hard time saying something kind. I guarantee it has to do with you, your internal talk, your insecurities, and what you subconsciously consider failure or unworthiness.

Check your influence. Do you feel the need to share your negative thoughts with others so they agree with you or find you flip or funny? To feel right in your opinions? Justified? That’s you, girl. You need their approval. Why? Unless you are truly trying to build a band of #meangirls to yes you to death and tell you you’re pretty, recognize that negativity begets negativity. You don’t need it and you don’t need to attract it. You want good people in your life? Be good people.

I have such hope for women. I know in my bones that the world I’m leaving my daughter will be so much better and because of women I personally know or am reading about in the news. Women who are alive during my child’s adolescence. Women who are using their voices, their influence and their intelligence to change conversations.

Women like Meghan Markle who just told the entire world that she is here to make change and has the Royals in tow.

She wasn’t wearing a wedding dress, loves.

It was a cape.

Dear Young Amy Jo by Amy Jo Martin

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Every love letter seems as if it was written to or for me, arriving at the moment a question arises within or another idea regarding content is tucked into my iPhone Notes. The thing that makes my heart soar and shine, however, is that every single woman that has approached me has found a letter that resonated as well. Over the course of the past several weeks I have had people approach me at work functions, charity events and holiday parties to say, “Kimberly spoke to my heart,” or, “I use one of Jessica’s points as my daily mantra,” or, “Tracy was in my head!”

Forget Marc’s. His went viral and was picked up by God Updates.

The magical part? I am having conversations with people I don’t know about how we are all connected. We are talking about failure and freedom, why don’t we believe in ourselves more?

Another thing I’m finding that I didn’t expect is that letters are promised, but delayed. Every person that wants to share insists their words be meaningful, “I know what I want to say, but I have to get to a place.” There is a vulnerability and an openness that speaks, but it can be a scary journey.

Be scared.

Fear is the fraud, not us.

We are lighting the way for others; inspiring, impassioning, incandescent.

Send your love letters to loreandlittlethings@gmail.com 

We’re waiting.

I reached out to Amy Jo Martin after seeing a few of her empowered posts, but was blown away when I watched her Inbound talk, THE RENEGADE FACTOR: EVOLVING “PRETTY” TO “PRETTY DAMN RAD” FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. MEN REQUIRED.

When I received her letter I was sitting in my car outside of my daughter’s school having just dropped Olivia to her teachers with a hug and a kiss and a promise that swim class is tomorrow night, don’t worry. Preschool conversations, share day and my next meeting fell away as I read Amy Jo’s words, nodding my head, eyes watering.

This is good stuff, y’all, and I love Amy Jo’s voice. It is math brain meets soft soul.

Ladies and gentlemen, Amy Jo Martin

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Dear Young Amy Jo:

I write this letter to you on a plane as I fly back to U.S. soil after spending time in Asia. As I boarded the plane in Hong Kong, yet another mass shooting in the U.S. topped global news. The more we’re exposed to in this world, the more we realize how little we know or understand. That said, please take what’s useful from this advice and leave behind what is not. You will create your own journey which makes you unique.

Btw, we’re quite stubborn and it’s possible you won’t listen to the advice below. Regardless, you will still live a fulfilling life (at least until you’re 36). And, we think in bullet points and absorb content best in the form of bullet points so here goes . . .

  • You’re going to experience some amazing things. Humble yourself or the universe will do it for you. The world is much bigger than us and it doesn’t revolve around us. The people we respect the most, including our mentors, are the humblest people we’ll ever meet.
  • We can’t bank sleep. Meaning, we can’t deposit and save up hours into a fictitious sleep account and withdraw rest when needed. This strategy simply doesn’t net out well regardless of what grades we earn in math. After averaging 4-5 hours a night for several years, our 36-year-old version has finally learned to respect sleep. She guards it fiercely. I encourage you to protect your sleep at a younger age. (PS – math is one of our sweet spots. It’s our jam. We like black and white answers and scenarios. This poses challenges for us. Read on.)
  • Learn to push your own buttons. Inspire yourself. Everyone else is busy. It’s wonderful and convenient when others inspire us but there will be droughts between the supply and demand. Subsidizing with a self-sufficient supply of inspiration serves as our safety net. This is how we make inspiration sustainable and scalable. Personally, our strongest source of inspiration is nature – being outdoors.
  • In third grade, you will be put in a ‘special’ reading and writing class because you’re not quite performing up to par with your classmates. Accept, listen and learn. We will apply these skills years down the road when we write our first New York Times bestselling book. We must always appreciate the opportunity we are given to slow down, listen and learn. Timing is everything. Trust the process.
  • Where purpose, passion and skill collide, bliss resides. This sounds like fluffy BS but it’s your reason for not worrying about knowing what path or profession you want to choose when you enter college – just be open, try everything and listen to how you feel. Purpose. Passion. Skill. Collide them. (Heads-up, they change so don’t get too comfy)
  • Don’t let other people rent space in your head for free. That’s valuable real estate. What other people think of you is none of your business. Be you and let go. Repeat. This is a tough one for us. It requires constant practice. We struggle and trip over this one at times.
  • Learn when to make things happen vs. when to let things happen. When you’re feeling strongly about one or the other, move confidently in that one direction. Down the road, if you don’t like that path after you’ve given it a red hot go, then simply choose again. If you are torn on whether to let something happen or make it happen then sit down at the fork in the road and pause. Hint: We have a tendency to make things happen (force it) at times. Ease up, sister.
  • Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is extremely powerful. It takes daily practice. Take risks. When in doubt, ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I try ____? And then what? And then what? Also ask: Is ____ safe enough to try?
  • Read. Read. Read. Make it a part of your day, your world. Surround yourself with people who also love to read. Give books as gifts. The benefits are unmatched.
  • Travel. Even if it’s an hour from where you live. Exploring will open your mind. If you have an opportunity to travel due to your career, take the ticket and explore while working – especially while you’re young and have less geographic anchors. Don’t spend 36 hours in Australia for the first time because it’s a “quick work trip”. Add a few more days and explore, chances are that nobody will question the request. Hint: You just have to ask.
  • Words matter. With all relationships, exchange “we” vs. “me” as much as possible.
  • Try not to worry so much about: your career, your weight, your finances, your future, etc. It all works out. We are warriors, not worriers.
  • Your career is going to take off, but please, please don’t get caught up. Make family a priority. I didn’t attend my grandmother’s funeral because I had a business trip that was “critical to my career.” We are one of 19 grandchildren and only two of us didn’t make it to the funeral. To this day, I don’t remember what that very important “career-altering” opportunity was. Show up for family. It matters.
  • Be kind and smile. It’s good for the soul, it’s a mood-changer, it’s contagious and … it attracts. Kindness and a smile are the ultimate positive boomerangs.

I love you and hope you learn to love yourself at an earlier stage than I did.

Ajo

Amy Jo, author of New York Times best-seller Renegades Write the Rules, founded Digital Royalty in 2009 to help corporations, celebrities and sports entities humanize their brands online through social communication channels. Amy Jo has worked closely with world-renowned brands such as Hilton Worldwide, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal to successfully humanize their presence. Her motto is, humans connect with humans, not logos.

Amy Jo herself has a social media following of more than a 1.1 million people and was named the third most powerful woman on Twitter by Forbes. She travels the world to speak about the latest trends in innovation, the future of social communication and women in business.

In 2012 Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and Baron Davis, NBA player, invested in Amy Jo and her company. After a successful seven-year run as the Founder & CEO of Digital Royalty and growing the business globally into ten different countries, Amy Jo recently exited the company.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Amy Jo began working for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns during their 2005-06 season. These were the wild wild west days of social media and there were no rules or regulations in place. After asking for a lot of forgiveness instead of permission she became recognized as a social media pioneer while trailblazing through this new unchartered territory.

As a young female building her career in male-centric industries, Amy Jo has developed a passion for helping women thrive in business leadership. She is currently spending her time investing in other female entrepreneurs so they can reach their full potential.

Amy can be found at www.amyjomartin.com or The Guild Agency. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AmyJoMartin.

Dear She, Love He by Marc Graham

Holding Hands #heforshe

This one really needs no introduction.

Just read it and then make yourself aware of the #heforshe campaign that is growing in strength and numbers. These are men that are standing up for women. It’s gorgeous.

So is this letter.

Please click our Love Letters link for details and email yours to loreandlittlethings@gmail.com

If you work with at risk populations, have worked with (or are) survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, are a woman that has overcome adversity – we’d love to hear from you.

We’d love to post love notes from students to their moms and teachers. Email them, screenshot them, send them our way!

When I received this letter I could only sit quietly, moved. I couldn’t wrap my head around big, feeling words, simply emailing Marc, “It’s beautiful.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Marc Graham –

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Men are strange creatures. Frankly, I don’t know what you people see in us, or why you put up with our shenanigans, but I’m grateful you do. Much of what we truly feel goes unsaid, and what we try to say comes out wrong most of the time. So, for the times I’ve misspoken, when he said the wrong thing, when we completely biffed a conversation because our tiny brains were trying to process a message from our big hearts, here’s this.

Dearest She,

Thank you.

Among the many things I forget to say, this is right up there. You do so much every day, every moment. Things that aren’t necessarily your responsibility, but that need to be done and if you don’t do them, who will? So (1) please know that you don’t have to do it all and it’s okay to ask for help. And (2) I recognize all you do, and I’m so thankful.

I’m sorry.

Two words don’t adequately cover it, but there it is. I’m sorry for the times I judged you, rather than trying to understand you. I’m sorry for the times I made you feel less ­than, rather than celebrating all that you are. I’m sorry for just hearing you instead of listening to you, looking at you instead of seeing you, touching you instead of feeling you. Mostly, I’m sorry for when I acted like a boy instead of a man.

You balance me.

It’s become a lovely and sentimental notion to say, “You complete me.” It’s also unfair to you. Boys­, ­those needy, selfish creatures­­ naturally look to woman as a source of nourishment. That’s straight biology. But if I’m the man you deserve­­, whether my role is brother or partner, friend or lover­­, I’m complete already. Still growing, still learning, still changing, but complete. What I need is balance, and you do it perfectly. You counter my weaknesses with your strength. You temper my arrogance with your sound judgment. You smooth my rough edges with your gentle touch. You make me better, and you make me want to be better.

I’m proud of you.

Let’s face it, I’m awfully proud as it is, so I hesitate to use this phrase. Male pride is too often focused on self rather than others. But this is all you. You awe me. You’ve accomplished so much, in the face of challenges that would have had me cowering in a corner, tucked into a fetal position. The world puts so much on your plate, and you handle it with grace, which amazes me. And where you really shine, what makes my heart burst with admiration, is when you gently and courageously say, No. When you set your needs and higher goals above the expectations of others. When you recognize that, astounding as you are, even you can only do so much, and your energies are best spent on those things that matter and that feed your soul. You are a rock star.

You’re beautiful.

I mean it. You have a gorgeous soul, and when you let that shine through, when you’re being authentically Who You Are, you take my breath away. That way you smile and your eyes light up, because there’s so much Light inside you that has to come out. That way you laugh too loud, because your joy must be expressed. Even when you ugly-­cry, because you’re capable of feeling so much and so deeply that your body can’t contain it, that’s beauty. Oh, and those little things you try to cover up, those blemishes you try to hide? Don’t. Not for me. Those scars, those wrinkles, those stretch ­marks, all those so ­called imperfections tell the story of you, and are part of how you came to be who you are. Who you are is beautiful, and they are all part of that.

I love you.

Nothing more, no elaboration or justification. I just, plain love you.

Always,

He

Marc Graham is a writer, actor, singer, engineer, bard, and novice alchemist. His debut novel, Of Ashes and Dust, is slated for publication in 2017. He and his wife, Laura, live with their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in Colorado’s Front Range.