Expectation is a prickly word. It leaves so much emotion on the table and is the downfall of many relationships. It is also the cause for many women feeling unworthy. The female culture tends to dictate a “female expectation”—let me rephrase that “unrealistic female expectations” on how we should dress, apply makeup, what swim suit to wear for our pear-shaped bodies, and what color of lipstick is trending this summer. Friends- I simply cannot pull off coral lipstick.

Sadly, in my own work with young girls, I find the further away young girls are from meeting this unrealistic expectation, the worse they feel about themselves. The irony here is that I have never met a woman that agrees with this expectations but yet, our daughters are still growing up in a world full of them.

Which leaves me with the following question-

If we, as females, hate the “female expectation”…why do we try so hard to meet it? Why do let it hang around? Could it be that confidence really found in a tube of corral lipstick? In a cute hair style? Can we not be confident with makeup free faces? With messy hair? Why can’t we feel confident in our natural state? Why can’t we just “be”? And if we all want it, why do we judge the females who don’t meet society’s definition of beauty? Why do we think less of her if she lives outside the norm?

I look to the women who have impacted history, those strong women we read about in history books I look at their facial features, study pictures of them, read their stories. Yes, some of them did appreciate makeup and fashion and some of them don’t even bother with it. Yet, they are both revered. What was different about them? Why didn’t they care about expectations? What made them dare to step outside the norm?

I find myself concentrating on that part of us that no one really talks about. The spirit. Perhaps that is “it”. How much do you reveal your spirit to others? These women who made history embraced their spirit and revealed a great deal of it to the world. They had a spirit of perseverance, adventure, of service. I realize beautiful things happen when you listen to your spirit.

When you live through your spirit your face radiates in ways that rouge and lip gloss will never match. You laugh harder, smile bigger, live with true passion. You push yourself to try new things, turn perceived failures into learning experiences, and immerse yourself in the knowledge that you have worth. The spirit of these ladies is so big that they couldn’t take it all with them when they passed. They have left some of it behind….waiting for other women to come along and pick it up.

I point these traits out my daughter, to the girls I work with every week. I share the stories of women filled with fierce spirits. Oh, how appealing it is, how glorious it feels to give girls this un-corseted territory of grace. For an hour all girls are free. Then that hour is over, we part ways, they pick up the fashion magazines, they watch entertainment TV.

But when we meet again, there is always one. She tells me she refrained from the fashion selfie, she didn’t worry about her hair this morning, and instead she concentrated on helping her friend. She picked up a bit of spirit of a strong women. The other girls look to her and I see a glimmer of their spirit again coming unattached from expectation. Ready to set sail again, but still a bit timid. Still a bit worried. They have become engrained in rising to the expectation of others. I realize if all women could become unattached to the anchor of expectation we would move much faster as a society. Let go ladies, let’s give the gift of spirit to our daughters instead of the anchor of expectation.