I want you to do something right at this moment; look at yourself in the mirror. Are you doing it? Okay, now, when you see your reflection (while the catchy Disney song from Mulan is playing in your mind) and ask yourself, who is this person I see? Are you happy with that person, or are you trying full-heartedly to avoid this exercise with every fiber of your being, like I would be? Trust me, for years I have tried to avoid mirrors at all costs. I would look at myself and see flaws, see scars and hidden secrets of pain and sorrow. I was always criticizing myself about my looks, my weight, my personality, my intelligence level; no matter what it was I was criticizing, I always thought I could do better, be better. I was never pleased with myself. I wanted to be more like other people, even my own peers. So, yes I am doing this exercise with you right now, as silly and ridiculous it may be.
Now compare what you see with the strong woman you have always aspired to be. Is it the same person?
I can’t answer for anyone else who may be doing this with me, but for myself I know for a fact, the reflection I am staring at right now, is not the strong woman I wish I was or ever thought I could be one day. It isn’t even the person I thought I would be a year ago. Okay, so, now I want you to make a list of attributes you think a strong woman obtains. Go ahead; take your time. I am here all day.
How are we doing? Shall we continue? So, while reading over your list or thinking to yourself, where is this chick going with this, I will share my list with you. Five attributes I think a strong woman obtains are: to be confident, to see beauty in yourself and others, to be independent, to be motivated and to love.
Our lists may be similar or even completely different, but that is kind of the point. Each one of us is different and unique in our own ways. Why should our attributes and characteristics be completely 100% the same?
Now, I want you to look at your reflection again. I know, I know I am probably driving you all crazy, but really give it a shot. While looking at yourself again, do you see any of the attributes you listed? I bet you can. I know I do.
The point of this exercise is to let you all really look at yourselves. There is not one flaw, one situation, one characteristic, one attribute, one person that can make you think less of yourself, or make you dislike your own reflection. We are all the strong women we have always aspired to be since we were little girls. Through life’s journey’s these are important things to remember. We are all strong women, and we all are in our own unique ways.
Remember to embrace your individuality; that is what makes you a strong woman. What is it that makes you unique? Do you see your actual self when you look in your reflection in the mirror?  

Jeanine is a recent college graduate from Saint Bonaventure University; part-time nanny, full-time strong woman composing and journeying through every chapter of her life.
[Photo Credit]