What We Can Learn from Meghan Markle

Photo courtesy of The Wrap

Growing up, I was obsessed with princesses. Whether they were Disney characters, heroines of books or real-life royalty, I couldn’t get enough of their glamour and beauty. As I grew older, I became particularly fascinated by the British Royal family. I read article after article about Kate Middleton’s wedding, outfits and public appearances. When Meghan Markle came on to the scene, she blew me away. A talented and empowering American actress winning over Prince Harry’s heart? It seemed like the ultimate fairytale.

Despite my lifelong love for all things royal, I fully support Meghan Markle’s recent decision to take a step back from her position in the British monarchy (a timeline of this process can be found here). I think her choice shows immense courage and self-awareness, and below I have explored ways we can all apply a similar energy to our own lives.

First and foremost, the way Meghan Markle has been treated by the media is a result of racism, sexism and unethical media practices.

Meghan Markle has experienced the same media scrutiny and harassment that lead to Princess Diana’s death because, like Diana, she is a strong and outspoken woman who isn’t afraid of challenging rules. As a woman of color, she has also faced additional, horrifying remarks and criticism for the same things Princess Kate has been praised for. There’s even a Buzzfeed article comparing headlines about the two women and highlighting this double standard. Meghan and Harry distancing themselves from the Royal Family is a direct result of these ugly behaviors, and is proof that racism and sexism are still prominent issues today. This development should serve as a call to action for people to recognize and fight against these horrible forces.

Reading social media posts about setting boundaries and walking away from toxic situations is great, but seeing a woman apply these concepts to a powerful, centuries-old institution is revolutionary.

#SelfCare, boundary setting, and “walking away from everything that doesn’t bring you peace” have become big buzz phrases on social media. They’re each valid sentiments, but I think constantly seeing them circulating as pastel Instagram quotes and viral tweets has desensitized us to them. For example, how many times have you reposted some quote about “changing habits, cutting off toxic people or transforming your life,” while doing absolutely none of those things in real life? Sometimes, social media allows us to feel temporarily good when we post something that reflects the way we would like to be, while still allowing us to sit stagnant and comfortable with our negative patterns in real life.

The only thing that can really convince you to change is yourself, but I do think it’s inspiring to watch someone lead by example. Meghan is the perfect embodiment of these sentiments. I mean, how many people have had the guts to stand up to / walk away from a 1,500 year old institution? Being able to do what’s right for yourself, specially under a worldwide spotlight, is extremely admirable. If you’re struggling to do what’s best for you, whatever that may be, remember that if Meghan can do it, you can too.

We all need to stop going through the motions, take a step back and question different aspects of our lives.

Anyone can see how remarkably strong it is to stray from the path that’s been laid out for you, but making that decision is only half the battle. The first half is garnering the self-awareness it takes to take a step back from your life and reflect on what’s making you happy and what isn’t. So often we get so caught up in the craziness of our schedules that we forget we have a choice in what we do. How often do you evaluate how happy you are with your job, hobbies, relationships and daily routines? For example, someone recently told me they were quitting a job that we both hold. Although I love this job and didn’t feel the same way as them, it occurred to me that I had never viewed leaving it as an option. I find myself continuously going through the motions and not questioning some parts of my life, but thanks to both Meghan Markle and my peer’s choices, this has become something I plan to work on.

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I hope these reflections resonate with you almost as much as I hope Meghan Markle is currently thriving in Canada. As always, thank you for reading and free to comment below!

Love always

Victoria

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