If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that’s all that you really are.
Time erodes all such beauty, but what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind: Your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in you.
I so wish I could give my girls a more just world. But I know you’ll make it a better place. — Marmee, Little Women
The movie, Little Women, was a Cortez family icon. I had four girls in my family, and so we resonated with the culture and dynamics of the March family. (After that movie, we even started calling my mom, “Marmee.”) We each identified with one girl over an other. I loved Jo. 😉
But tonight, when watching it again, this quote from Marmee was the one that struck a cord with me. I can see how my parents wanted these things for me – to place my confidence in those inner qualities and strength. And I can understand why. As a parent now, I want the same for my kids.
It’s so easy to get lulled into focusing on the outward – looking pretty or seeming cool. And of course, those are not bad things inherently. But over time, they become superficial and fleeting. Beauty wanes (or at least changes ;)), and “coolness” is fickle. For myself, growing up, I placed a lot of outward identity on the number of how many people “liked” me. It was another outward measuring stick.
But when we invest instead into those beautiful inner parts, by making all the millions of little choices along the way in life – loving friends, reading quality literature, caring for those in need, sharpening our thinking, not gossiping about a friend, finishing a project or paper instead of making excuses – not only do those character traits inherently grow, but our confidence in our ability to BE that person grows as well.
That belief is not measured by the number of shoes we have in our closet, the number of trips we’ve taken around the world, or the number of Facebook friends we have.
But it is what allows us to step into something new. To have that long-term friendship or commitment. To know that we will have the moral courage to do the right thing.
And when we believe those things about ourselves, it does have an outward affect. Others trust our confidence and inner strength.
We can provide more value to more people because of that reputation. We can make the world a better place, like Marmee said. In our homes, in our community, and in our businesses.
To me, there is nothing more exquisite than a woman who believes in herself – who knows who she is and who has confidence and peace about the “wonderful workings of her mind.” It is my hope for my daughter, my sisters, my friends, and my customers.