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Illustration: Jen Troyer

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Perhaps you recognize this question. It came from the amazing Elizabeth Gilbert. The first part of asking yourself this whopper is to look at the first half of the question. Who was it specifically who told you? Dad? Grandma? Yourself? All of the above, plus the ex-husband? The second part is looking at the message in the question, because once you know who it was, it no longer matters who it was. In other words: It wasn’t God, fate, a higher power, or genetics that told you. It was a human, and humans make mistakes. A lot of them.

Let me tell you right now, you’re allowed to be the heroine. You have full, irrefutable permission from the one authority that counts—thy own holy self. Cast yourself this very morning as the girl with the glass slipper or the girl with the bow and arrow or the girl with the very big retirement account on the fast track to her own corner office. You can wear a costume-drama bonnet or a 10-gallon Stetson. But you must do what heroines do—endure a series of challenges...and triumph.

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