Disclaimer: “Post sponsored by Mirum. Opinions are 100% my own.”
How to Build Self-Esteem
Guess what only 2% of women think they are beautiful.
Let that sink in. Let that fill your brain, lay heavy on the heart. Let that number roll around on your tongue before you spit it out in horror.
That is why this fall, I partner with both Kroger and Dove to talk about their self-esteem project and the resources they have made available to combat all the negative message. I love Dove products. I love saving money on their products at Kroger because they make me feel good about being in my skin while making me look good on the outside.
It isn’t hard to believe that only 2% of us think we are beautiful. Then if you think about it, it isn’t that difficult because we have been told from all directions we aren’t. We have magazines staring back at us with airbrushed images of people who do not look like us with slogans that say “best, greatest, beautiful.” We have people in our lives telling us what to wear, how to speak, and what is expected but we have very few people in our corner that say, “I love you just the way you are.”
Hey, “FA.” That was my nickname at home. That is what my mother and her ex-husband called me. I bet you can’t guess what that stands for? You know after I told my husband who was my boyfriend back then. He couldn’t believe that was my nickname either. He kept saying, “That can’t mean that.” It did.
I used to laugh it off. That is what you do when you are teased, bullied, and defeated. I was luckily confident enough in myself to assign that ridiculous behavior to the source and shake it off. What if I wasn’t that girl who knew her worth? What if I didn’t see the gifts I had to offer. What if I wasn’t confident in my own skin?
That is why I am sharing the most authentic way to boost a Girl’s Self-esteem when she really needs it. We all need this tool in fact, even now as a woman I could apply this solution.
We all wish we could go back in time and tell our younger selves it will all work out in the end. We wish we knew back then what we know now. We only wish it didn’t take so long to learn the lesson that taking care of yourself matters.
I decided to share my story of how I am helping to build a caring, confident, unique, kick-butt girl in a world that wants uniformity.
That is why I am sharing the craziest thing I have ever done at a girl’s sleepover party that worked better than I could have ever imagined. I am going to be part of the solution to bring that 2% number up. I figured out how to fixed the problem without directly addressing the problem and there were smiles, laughs, and happy tears.
You know the tears that spill out, and you wipe them away hoping no one will see them instead they come so fast and furious only to puddle beneath your chin.
I think we first need to address the problem and the problem is how we communicate verbally and non-verbally with our children. As parents, friends, and women we need to cheer her on for being her instead of looking for ways to make her conform.
The situation all started with seven girls who came over to bring in my daughter’s decade birthday, and it festered with time and everyone giving their two cents. There was enough change by the end to buy a new home once everyone got involved.
The result was a ‘mean girl” situation. The girls were having a wonderful time. They were all getting along until they weren’t.
I am sure this happens all the time. It is the balance of growing up. When you get together a group of people inevitably someone feels left out. They feel less than. It happens. I allowed the girls to play and hang out. I explained the rules of our house. They are all lovely and respectful kids so I wasn’t worried about them breaking the rules. I forgot to mention one.
The rule I forgot to mention was the one that could have saved a lot of trouble, hurt feeling, and anxiety. I was disgusted with myself and disappointed that I needed to even bring this rule up, but I remind myself we all need grace and we all need to be reminded at times.
This is the rule I forgot to go over. The one that could have changed everything. The rule is simply say nothing unless it is kind and if there is a problem come up with a solution, but do not talk about a problem in front of others. Problems need to be resolved in private. The problem was one child thought another was bossy. This happens all the time. There are kids that are leaders, there are kids that have a lot of ideas, there are kids that have no idea, there are kids who want to think of things to do, kids that refuse to do things, kids that like one thing over another, and kids that could care less what they do. In our home, all kids count. We welcome everyone but we ask for a compromise.
So what happened when my rule was forgotten?
We had someone that felt left out. We had someone that sided with the left out person. We had people that teamed up with the enforcer of party rules. We had some that weren’t on sides. What we had was a mess. I pulled my daughter aside and asked her what was wrong. I told her to fix it. When you have guests in your home you make sure everyone knows they are welcome and valued and we talked about how to do that.
1) Acknowledge their ideas
2) Talk about how they feel
3) Reassure them that they are right for feeling the way they feel
4) Ask them to think about how others might feel
5) Come up with a solution together
We resolved the issue and I woke up the next morning with what I think is the best tradition ever.
I had each girl go around the room and tell the other girls what they liked about them. I videotaped them and passed them on to their parents. I hope when the ugly voices come that they play these tapes and tell them to go away. The smiles on their face, the enthusiasm in their voices, and the joy as they poured their hearts out to one another made some of us cry. What surprised me the most is none of them talk about what anyone looked like. They all talked about how that person made them feel. The strong character they had, the determination, and the inspiration that they took from that girl being herself.
You see it all starts with how we talk to and about one another. How we share, show, and encourage. Take it from this FA girl (Fat A**). That what people say about you doesn’t define who you are. You define you, so choose your tribe carefully and know that being unique is what makes you special.
I thank my daughter every day for being our sunshine. She walks into a room and tries her best to talk to everyone to reach out and help. I thank her for raising her hand to help the new kid, sit with the child who hasn’t made any friends, and to offer to share her lunch with the child who doesn’t have one. I thank my daughter for putting on clothes that do not match because she likes them. I appreciate how she walks out of the house each morning ready to do her best. How she talks to everyone and how she gives real compliments. How she cheers on her friends when they make mistakes and reminds them that they can accomplish anything. I admire my daughter for her ability to love without condition and to offer when her heart even when it may be returned. I admire her grit when she gets pushed to the ground, dust off her knees, asks for a new pair of leggings, and get right back up to play again. I love to watch her in the mirror as she smiles at herself.
I thank my husband who reminds me often that our daughter is just like me because some days you forgot how incredible you are.
I am thankful that Dove has this wonderful project to help young people overcome body image issues and fulfill their potential by building positive body confidence and self-esteem. Visit The Dove Self-Esteem Project for articles, free resources for parents, curriculum-aligned body confidence workshops for teachers and activities and discussion topics for youth.
I am a mom to a little girl who will celebrate her decade birthday this weekend. I know I can’t change my childhood, but I can do my best to make sure she doesn’t struggle with her self-esteem.