My special message to all women and young girls around the world, specifically to the women of Afghanistan, on this International Women’s Day.
1. Put yourself first. By putting yourself first and not ignoring your needs, you can better help others and your family.
2. Love yourself first. In order to get stronger and be able to love your family and friends, you must first love yourself. Find peace within yourself to love and accept who you are.
3. Teach people how to respect and treat you. Women often overlook this, but you can teach people how to respect you by your own actions and attitudes toward yourself.
4. Understand your worth and value. It is important to be confident in your love for yourself as you are worthy and fabulous. Be your authentic self and don’t worry what others think of you.
5. Prioritize your professional development. If you are a woman who constantly strives for greatness, make sure to invest in your professional development. No matter where you might be in your career, there is always room for improvement. Treat career development as part of your daily life. Learning, growing and expanding your skills everyday can build your confidence.
6. Make sure you are financially independent. If you want to have control over your life and your rights, your financial independence is vital. This will also help you leave abusive or violent relationships. As a woman, financial independence will give you confidence and credibility to participate in family matters. The moment you begin earning for yourself, you are in control of your life. When you let your husband completely pay for you, you are giving up your power and control.
7. Having a husband in life is not needed but wanted. As women, we have to always remember to never need someone to the point where we cannot live without them. Again, financial independence is important here. I am not saying you should not love your husband. Just make sure he knows that you are independent, confident and perfectly capable of living and taking care of yourself without his support. Once he knows that, he will make sure to treat you right, respect you and be a loving and supportive partner in everything you do.
8. Women supporting women is vital. It is so important that we advocate for each other, especially in the workplace. When women support women, there is almost nothing we cannot do. Try to help other women through mentorship and face to face meetings. No matter what point you are at in your career, try to always be open to helping other women. Specifically, if you are the only woman in a leadership position in a male dominated industry, try to help other women climb the ladder. Encourage and support your female co-workers. When women support and uplift each other, we create an environment that ensures an inclusive future for all women.
9. Believe in yourself and be bold. Believing in yourself is very empowering. Make sure to surround yourself with people who feed your vision and build you up. Believe in your strength, bravery, and capability and have the ability to trust yourself and erase all self-doubts. Do not surround yourself with people who bring you down.
10. Take care of your body and mind. Physical exercise not only makes you look good, it also makes you feel good. Exercise can increase your self-esteem and confidence, which is an important part of loving yourself. Through exercise, you can release tension and stress and treat depression. Prioritize your body, mind and spirit.
Do not feel selfish or self-centered for putting yourself first, loving yourself, taking care of yourself and knowing your worth. Prioritize your needs and focus on yourself. Only then can you fully and effectively be there for your family and friends.