Listen up: Beautiful Minds and Because I Love You

Growing up has always been a pretty challenging process, and as life gets faster, more complex and more connected, I’d have to think it must be more difficult now than ever before. Navigating your way through childhood, the teen years and young adulthood can be treacherous, and advice from clever adults is vital, even if at the time it’s not particularly welcome.

Today’s post is about two books that are both aimed at lending a hand to young woman as they establish themselves. The first, by Marina Passalaris, Beautiful Minds is aimed at teenage girls and the second, Because I Love You, by Barbara Toner (Allen and Unwin) is speaking to young women, in particular the author’s own daughters.

beautiful mindsBeautiful Minds, a journey of self discover for teenage girls… it is about discovering who you are, how to get through your tricky teen years and how to put your best foot forward!

Written by Marina Passalaris, founder and director of Beautiful Minds Australia, this book is a wonderful, sensible (and sensitive) guide for girls aged between 11 and 17.

Now, I’m not a big one for deportment and make-overs, but this guide is a wonderful combination of the more ‘cosmetic’ side of confidence, and the really practical stuff. Marina includes some really sound advice on things like how to hold a conversation, how to deal with bullying (online and otherwise) and even how to handle a break-up…

Find someone that you trust to talk to. A parent, a friend, your sister or if it gets really out of hand, a counsellor. Allow that person to help you process what emotions you are going through. Do not, however, become the victim. We must all take responsibility for the men we pick as partners and if these men end up being toxic we could perhaps have a few of our own issues to clear up before the perfect partner shows up. Choose to make peace with your past and any unresolved issues. Then, decide not to dwell on it for a minute longer.

It’s been a while now since I was a teenage girl, but I think if I’d read this book when I was I would have taken quite a bit away from it, even if it was a little despite myself.

At the core of Beautiful Minds is respect. Respect for others, and most importantly, respect for yourself. I like it.

But what about when we’re a little bit more grown-up – moving out, getting jobs, starting families – is it any easier? I’d say not, and I think it’s at this stage that we most need the sage advice of a motherly voice. Barbara Toner, in an interestingly brisk, unapologetic way, offers a range of hints and tips for her newly adult daughters in Because I Love You.

Because I love you What daughter doesn’t need advice? What mother can’t give it? Whether she’s 18 or 81 a daughter can always benefit from a second opinion on the condition of her soul, her heart, her head, her hair, her cleavage. Also her loves, her hates, her dreams, her debts, her teeth and sexting. No second opinion will be more valuable than her mother’s because it will be offered with love tempered by wisdom and in the certain knowledge that without it this daughter will end her days on the streets, in the gutter, with spoilt children, gum disease and bosom droop.

That kind of says it all really.

Barbara is really funny, and while she tries to be tough, her advice clearly comes from the heart. I found her descriptions of herself and her husband hilarious, and wished I could find out more about their oddball relationship. All the way through the book I could imagine the author’s daughters simultaneously cringing and smiling, and I’m sure even they must be a little bit unsure about just how serious to take their mum…

Body language is more likely to betray than deliberately convey, unless of course you have your fists raised. Be wary of suggesting sexual availability just because your back hurts or your belt’s too tight. And never slump: it signals defeat or self-loathing. If you slump to imply that you’re very tall and need to disguise it, you’re kidding yourselves. Eye contact is somewhere between a facial expression and body language. I’m keen on it but possibly overuse it to an unnerving extent. Avoidance always has a reason; being unnerved is one of them. 

Most off all though, this book made me think about the hundreds of times that my sisters and I have called on our mum for a second opinion about one thing or another. Almost daily, I’d say, and thank goodness for it. Without her, how on earth would we have known what do to when our husbands were misbehaving, or the noise-makers wouldn’t sleep, or when they had a fever, or for that matter, when we had a fever?

As I get older, I appreciate more the need for mentors and for sound advice, to help us work out the ‘what’s next’ of life. Each in their own ways, these two books offer really practical, followable advice for their target audience.

To find out more about Beautiful Minds, click here…

To find out more about Because I Love You, visit here…