I received an email from an organization that I volunteer for and what I saw was not just words on a page but instead the greatest gift I could have received all year. The program coordinator shared with me a portion of a beautifully personal speech that had been made to students by a young woman in her twenties that I had been assisting. I will not reprint the email but this brave woman talked about what she had learned and how she could finally see her skills. Our work together (along with all her supports) changed her way of looking at what was possible for her life. She is safe, in school and setting goals but what is most rewarding is that she maintained her hope, pushed forward and knows she has a lot to offer this world.
I tell you this because this is what building self esteem can do. It can move layers of negative talk, it can free us to explore and open up doors that were previously thought to be impossible to walk through. How we see ourselves and our world is directly related to self esteem.
Girls get bombarded by outside messaging. From the minute we are born it seems people are telling us how to act, dress and speak. The media has done their part to reinforce all of this by celebrating false beauty and providing unrealistic chatter about what is good and bad for women and girls.
Parents also have a huge influence on what we see in ourselves. Hopefully we have caring parents to help build our confidence but if not, role models come in all forms. It is good to find a supportive person to help you develop a healthy outlook on self and life.
Then there is the issue of bullying. There are hurt people, hurting people and if you are a girl struggling to cope with your own self confidence and you are being bullied it can be a hundred times more difficult. As a girl who was bullied I can honesty say that things get better. I learned that it had nothing to do with me and that life has a way of distancing us from that past. No matter what was said or done by you or anyone else, we all have the ability to rise above. Get help and don’t let anyone define you.
I want to close out this Christmas season blog with a plea to girls and women everywhere:
Make an effort to not buy into anyone’s idea of who you should be. If you don’t know who you are, be open to finding the answer. Find that answer through quiet moments with self, journaling, read books about inspiring women, seek counsel and above all never give up. Don’t self sabotage. Don’t look for reasons to hurt yourself; you are worth more than that. Do what you love. Pay attention to what you are naturally good at. Stay away from anyone or anything that puts you in the path of negativity. Building block by block your self esteem is the greatest foundation for a successful, healthy and happy life!