[I recently published this on Thought Catalog and thought my readers here might enjoy.]
I remember how it used to be – sitting at home, out in the country with nothing to do, trying to figure it all out. At the crossroads between girlhood and womanhood, you think you are ready for the adult world, but you’re not quite sure where you are going and you don’t know what your next step should be.
You want someone who can just tell you what to do so you can be on your way already. They can’t do that though, and it’s ultimately for the best.
The future seems uncertain and you are confused as hell. The truth is, you are naive and you still have a lot to learn. For these reasons, I am writing this letter because there are some things you need to know.
The next 10 years of your life are going to be a wild ride, some of it will be awesome and some of it will not be. What I’m saying might not be exactly what you want to hear right now, but it’s what you definitely need to hear.
No More Miss Nice Girl.
The first thing I am going to tell you is that most of the time, you are being too nice. Yes, there is such a thing, and yes that’s exactly what you are, so knock it off. You think people are going to like you more because you’re sweet and accommodating. They’re not. They might like you for a minute because of what they think you can do for them, but they aren’t going to respect you, at least not for that reason.
You’re going to find out real quick that being nice will only get you so far. It won’t keep your boyfriends around. It’s not going to get you ahead at work or in life. It’s not what makes you successful or remembered. Looking back now, a lot of people aren’t going to be worth the effort or flattery you are putting forth. This doesn’t mean you have to be an unpleasant bitch either. There’s a spot there in the middle and that’s what you need to aim for. It will take practice. You’re still going to occasionally screw up and be too good to people who didn’t deserve it, and you might go overboard and say something bitchy to someone and regret it later. You’re human – learn from it and move on.
The bottom line here is that you are too nice because you are afraid of missing out and losing people. You’re not. The important people will understand you and stick around in your life anyway. The rest will fuck off, and you won’t miss them.
You’ve got to stop chasing these guys like you do. Let them come to you, but don’t play hard to get. BE hard to get. Men are born to pursue. They have a deep desire to be the ones to work hard to get to you.
There’s a saying that goes, “Things worth having don’t come easy.” Sure you can throw them a bone now and then, but let them bring it back to you. Men don’t appreciate women who jump for them.
Stop trying to be this false image of the perfect girlfriend who will become the perfect wife. It doesn’t exist. Yeah, some might say they want the nice girl next door type who doesn’t nag or cause drama, but there’s more to the story that they won’t tell you. There’s a difference between when a guy likes you and when he respects you.
Getting a guy to respect you isn’t what you think either. It isn’t in how nice you are or what you can do for him. Guys value women who are smart with confidence and audacity. They respect women who have a voice and aren’t afraid of calling someone out on their own shit, even if that someone is him. Any guy who isn’t okay with that knows where the door is.
Communicate your boundaries with men. They need to know what lines are not to be crossed. They need to understand that if they screw up, there will be consequences. A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.
Never settle for less. Know your worth and set your standards high. Those who want to be in your life will rise up to meet them.
This is your life. You control it.
At 19, your self-esteem and confidence needs work. You’ll build this in your own accomplishments, so get off your ass and do something. You are also a procrastinator, so pay attention to your motivation and time management skills. I mean it, move your ass! Life is happening right now so you don’t have time to waste – get it going.
Stop second guessing yourself. With most of the things that you will try to do in your life, you aren’t going to need anyone’s permission. You can’t always lean on someone to make a decision for you. Trust your gut and go with it. You’ll make the right choice more times than you think.
One more thing, it is extremely important in this world that you develop a thick hide. People are going to say things and do things that you won’t like and sometimes people can be downright nasty and unfair, but you can’t let it get to you. Don’t overvalue their opinion and never undervalue your own. You have to become so sure in who you are that no one’s opinion, rejection, or bad behavior can break you.
I’m writing this not to scare you, but to prepare you. Through it all, you will figure it out. You are going to grow up to be a badass dame with a fiery heart and wicked mind. A woman of a little sweetness, a little savagery. Unfuckwithable, who takes no shit from anyone. You’ll find your worth, but it won’t be in a man. Your worth will be in yourself and then you’ll find the man worthy of you.
Remember this advice and you will be unstoppable.
– Ash Pariseau