The cofounder of I AM THAT GIRL on how vulnerability leads to empowerment. #100StartsWith1
We’re teaming up with our friends at Sambazon for 100 days of little ways to change our world. Follow along for the next 100 days of action (and giveaways) on Instagram @Sambazon and at www.sambazon.com/100. And don’t forget to tell us @GOOD about how you’re changing your world with the hashtag #100Startswith1.
Champion: Emily Greener
Action: Write yourself a love note, snap a selfie, and share both using the hashtag #100StartsWith1.
Emily Greener says that girls can't really be empowered until they let themselves be vulnerable.
A conversation at a party changed Emily Greener’s life.
“I was new to Los Angeles, I hadn’t made any solid girlfriends yet, and I shook hands with this girl who she told me her life story. The honest version,” she says. Greener couldn’t believe how “real” the girl was being, so for maybe the first time in her life, she felt comfortable being real, too. The strangers swapped stories about their fears, their failures, the things they’d done that embarrassed them—all right alongside their successes, which Greener usually tried to be modest about.
“I felt a fire in my gut… I’d spent my whole life comparing myself to other girls. I knew I’d never be as pretty, or dressed as good, but I was confident and a good leader. I thought, if you’re confident, you don’t have fears. You don’t have self-doubt. I’d pushed down my insecurity so deep that I really believed I didn’t have any.”
Being exposed to a stranger’s vulnerablity helped Emily realize that she’d been struggling all this time, but that it was okay, because everyone struggles—even other girls. “Including that girl, you know, the who’s last on the dance floor and the first one in class, who is so so so unrelatably pretty and also the nicest person. That girl is just as insecure as we are—because she is everything that we already have within ourselves.”
Not long after that party, Greener founded the nonprofit I AM THAT GIRL with Alexis Jones. Through 162 local chapters across the country, the organization is a community, a support system, and a movement inspiring girls of all ages to love, express, and just be who they are—flawed and brilliant and the best versions of their authentic selves. That word “girl” is important to Greener: “There’s a girl inside of every single one of us, regardless of age—crippled with self doubt, struggling to fit in.”
But, says Greener, I AM THAT GIRL operates on the assumption that meaningful conversations and a spirit of kindness and generosity towards each other will help all of us—including guys—to move beyond insecurity. The end goal is a culture that empowers everyone to be themselves every day.
Tell yourself (and the world) what you need to hear. Image courtesy I AM THAT GIRL.
Before you can change the world, says Greener, you’ve got to know and love who you are—and be okay with feeling vulnerable. Honest selfies taken in a totally unguarded moment are a great way to start that process, she says. So for this week’s challenge, Greener wants you to “take back the mirror.” Really and truly look at yourself in a mirror, write yourself a love note, snap a selfie, and share it far and wide on social media using the hashtag #100StartsWith1.
To really own this action, download this #MirrorLove worksheet and consider these tips from Greener:
1. Look at yourself in a mirror for 60 seconds. “Look directly into your own eyes. Once you get to that point where you see beyond your face, and you’re looking at your inner self, you’re ready for step 2.”
2. Ask yourself how you are. “Get a pulse for how you’re really feeling.” Are you stressed? Happy? Afraid? Try to pinpoint what it is that’s weighing you down, or lifting you up.
3. Write something nice about yourself. It really is important to be kind, says Greener. Whatever encouraging words that you might need to hear from someone else, say them to yourself. Say I love you, say you’re beautiful, say I got your back today, it’s gonna be okay.” Jot down those words in lipstick on the mirror or on a scrap of paper.
Image courtesy I AM THAT GIRL.
4. Snap a selfie and share it. Let people see the real you—and be sure to post your love note to yourself with your photo. Once your community knows that it really is okay to be yourself, maybe they’ll get inspired to do the same thing.
5. Pledge to be that girl (or that guy). If you feel empowered for even a moment by sharing a little bit about what you go through every day, go ahead and commit to making that mindset a reality for everyone. Pledge to be the best version of you! You can also find out how to join or start a local chapter for girls and guys in your area.
Today, Wednesday, June 3, GOOD, Sambazon, and I AM THAT GIRL will be bringing this action to life in Santa Monica Place. Think: big mirror installation; supplies for writing love notes to yourself; easy ways to make the pledge. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, be sure to stop by Santa Monica Place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.