imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Do you compare yourself to others?

Comparison can be a dangerous game to play.  When we compare ourselves to others, we are looking at ourselves as deficient in some way and judging ourselves from a negative perspective.

How many young people, especially women, compare themselves to others, believing they are prettier, smarter, more popular, more powerful, more talented?  The answer is>>>>TOO MANY!

  • Young girls compare their clothing, their hair, their body image, their possessions, their achievements and think that other girls are so much better than they are.
  • Young boys compare their style, their athletic ability, their muscles, their skills and think that they fall short of other boys.
  • Even adults compare themselves to other people and believe that they are inferior in some way

Instead of trying to be the best person we can be, we waste our time and energy searching for something that will make us happy and fulfill our dreams.  We live our lives believing the lie that we are just not good enough and who told you this anyway?  Maybe it was a parent who was struggling with their own identity.  Maybe it was a friend who had a mean heart.  Maybe it was something that you were watching on TV or reading in a magazine.  Society is very good at tearing us down and destroying our esteem by encouraging us to play the comparison game.

It is time to STOP comparing yourself to others and START looking at yourself.  Discover your strengths and accept your weaknesses.   Build confidence in your abilities and increase your self-esteem by becoming more positive.

There is nothing to be gained by comparing yourself to someone else unless you are using them as a role model to follow or a positive example.  Be the person you were created to be and use your amazing gifts as best you can.

 

 

 

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Is childhood becoming extinct?

Many child psychologists and therapists are in agreement on one thing – children today are becoming adults too soon.  In reading various articles and also from personal observation, I am in total agreement with this.  Everywhere I go, I see young children dressing provocatively, using language that is inappropriate and acting in ways that would have embarrassed me at their age.  Instead of enjoying the few short years of their childhood, they are trying to be mini adults.

So why is this happening?  It is because many parents are pressuring their children to become responsible for themselves at a young age.  They allow them to make their own choices and often try to be a friend instead of a parent.  In many homes there are no restrictions as to what children watch on TV or the computer.  Children often watch the same programs and movies as adults do which causes them to be exposed to sex and violence at a very early age.   Children can’t handle this information emotionally, physically and spiritually and the result is early sexual activity, teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and violent behaviour.   This results in relationship issues, problems in school, low esteem, eating disorders, addictions, depression and possibly even suicide.

Children are a gift and we should treat them with special care.  We don’t need to show other people that our children are smarter, faster or better looking.  We don’t need to tell our children that they are better than someone else.  We  don’t need to help them grow up any faster than they need to.  Children need to be children.  They need to play and explore.  They need to be loved, appreciated and respected.

Do your children a favour and allow them to be a child.   We have enough adults in the world.  Don’t let childhood becoming something that is extinct.

Which child would you rather have?  The one that looks like a serious model or the one that looks like she is having fun being a kid?

tots in tiaras1happy girl standing on hands

 

 

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Are you good enough?

teen leaning on handIt is hard to be confident and keep our esteem strong in a world that constantly tells us we aren’t good enough and tries to convince us that we need more money, more power and more possessions to be happy and successful.  We are driven to become the ‘perfect’ person but this only causes us to fail again and again.  The result is often stress, anxiety and/or depression.

Pursuing perfection is a lose-lose situation in a world that is far from perfect.  No matter how hard we try or how much money we spend, we will never achieve perfection.

So how can you become confident and build esteem when you feel like you have failed?  What do you do when you feel unworthy?  What if you feel like giving up?

When you come to the end of your rope or the bottom of your pit, you need to stop what you are doing and make some positive changes to your life.  It doesn’t matter how people have treated you or how many mistakes you have made up to this point.  Your past does not define who you are.  You have to focus on the present and work hard at building confidence and increasing your self-esteem.young sad man

We often have distorted ideas about who we are, so we have to rid ourselves of any negative thinking.  Becoming aware of who we are is the first step to making positive changes in our lives.

  • do an honest self-evaluation
  • make a list of your positive qualities
  • say positive statements or affirmations daily
  • find your hidden strengths and skills then build on them
  • accept your weaknesses
  • learn from your failures
  • discover the truth about real beauty and stop believing what the media says
  • work on creating a new self-image

Change is not easy but success is possible if you have an open mind and heart, commit to actively working on change and you don’t give up.

YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!  Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t.   Listen to your own positive words and keep encouraging yourself.  Remember, your past does not define you.  Start creating a new you today!

 

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Are you an 8 cow wife?

How do you rate yourself as a wife on a scale of 1 (terrible) to 10 (terrific)?  If we have good esteem and feel confident in our abilities, we would probably rate ourselves around a 9 or 10.  If we have low esteem and don’t have much confidence in ourselves, we would probably rate ourselves around a 1 or 2.

Many people tend to rate themselves according to what others think of them instead of looking at their natural abilities, talents and skills.  We see ourselves through the eyes of the world, judging ourselves from a wrong perspective and not really seeing our own unique identity.  If others place a high value on us, we will feel worthy.  If others place a low value on us, we will feel unworthy.8 cows

Cow Wife by Patricia McGerr.  It appeared in the Reader’s Digest in February 1988 and has been circulating since them.   The narrator tells a story about a man called Johnny Lingo who went looking for a wife and ended up paying an exorbitant price for her.   In the island where Johnny found his wife, a marriage arrangement was settled in the payment of cows.  Two or three cows would buy a good wife with average abilities, four or five cows would buy a great wife with amazing qualities and just one cow would buy a wife that was plain and not very good at anything.  However, Johnny paid EIGHT cows for his wife and then took her away to his island.  Was she a real beauty or had special qualities?  No, she was shy, full of fears and insecurities and looked sickly.  So why did Johnny pay so much for his wife?  Johnny knew that the size of the dowry put a value on the women.   The wives who were bought with 4, 5 or even 6 cows would boast about themselves and make the ones who were bought for less to feel bad.  He loved his future wife and wanted her to feel good about herself so he placed a high value on her.   The narrator was curious about Johnny and went to the island where he lived with his new wife.   When he got there, he was surprised to see a beautiful woman.   He asked Johnny why the islanders laughed about him and said his wife was homely.  Johnny replied that she was exactly as they described because she was living down to their expectations, however now that Johnny paid such a high price for her, she was living up to his expectations.  He wanted an 8 cow wife and that is exactly what he got.

When people place a high value on us, we will try to live up to that value.  But when people place a low value on us, we will accept it and live down to that value.  It is really important that we place a high value on our loved ones and keep re-affirming that value, so they will have good confidence and strong self-esteem.

  • Are you an 8 cow wife?
  • Do others place high value on you?
  • Do you place high value on yourself?
  • Do you place high value on others?

Here is the complete story of the 8 cow wife:  http://www.ultimatehusband.com/8cow_wife.html

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keep it classy.

My thoughts exactly. Our culture sends out the message that women need to be sexy and show their body so they will be loved. But by presenting this image, women are not being loved, they are being looked at as a sex object and not with respect. Women are valuable and should see themselves in that way. Dressing provocatively will only attract the wrong type of person. Women – respect yourselves for the unique and awesome individual you are and be modest in how you dress.

There's a Spirit

A few days ago, one of my kids at work was lifting her shirt up on the playground. “Put your shirt down and cover your tummy or all of the boys are going to want to kiss you,” I joked with her as she ran off squealing something about cooties. But really, this got me thinking.

Modest is hottest, ladies. I know that’s so cliche, but I’m a pretty firm believer in it. People always talk about how image isn’t everything, and while I agree to that to an extent, I have to admit that image is worth something. For so many people things like clothing are a form of expression. And to express yourself is to make known your interests,desires, beliefs, and traits. Therein lies the value of modesty. Your clothing says something about you. How your present yourself can give light to the virtues our Savior preached. Let…

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You are unique and valuable

adult and teenWhen we have problems in life, we often feel alone and think that we are the only one who is being hurt.   We think that:

  • nobody likes us
  • nobody cares about us
  • nobody understands what we are going through
  • nobody else hurts as much as we do
  • nobody else makes more mistakes than we do
  • nobody else is a bigger failure than we are

Does this sound familiar?  I’ve certainly felt all those things but the truth is, everyone in this world has problems and we are not alone in our pain.  We all make mistakes and this does not mean that we are failures.  Sometimes people will hurt us, but we have to realize that we are unique and valuable individuals and that we should not allow anyone to hurt us.   There are lots of people who understand what we are experiencing, care about us and want to help.   Try to connect with positive people who can help you build confidence.   Learn as much as you can about building esteem through websites, books and videos.  This will help you feel better about yourself and you will be able to deal with difficult situations.

I came across a site called Hey Ugly that was created to empower youth and be a part of the solution to bullying.  I don’t like the word Ugly but in this case it is an acronym that spells out – Unique Gifted Lovable You.  The website has all sorts of great information, videos and links on self-esteem and bullying to help people see the world from a real perspective and be able to understand themselves better.

There is a page with Celebrity Quotes that shows how some of your favourite actresses and actors feel about different topics.   Many of them have experienced self-esteem issues and bullying.  I’ve picked out a few to share, but you can read lots more at www.heyugly.org.

“People that feel alone or outcast that hurt, kids that feel bullied and lost, remember that you have a voice and you should use that voice to survive and persevere.”  ~Christina Aguilera

“I’ve realized that it’s time for me to show my audience that you don’t have to be perfect to achieve your dreams.  I’m okay with having bad dance moves.  I’m okay with having horrible lower teeth.  That’s what makes me me, and  for some reason it’s worked out all right.”  ~Katy Perry

“I was so shy.  Instead of waiting in line with the other kids at lunch, I’d go to a corner and buy a pretzel and orange juice.  I think I had that for lunch the first three years of high school.”  ~Peter Facinelli

“I’m like everyone else – I have days when I look in the mirror and I’m like ‘Oh my God, I wish I could change this or that’. The more you mature, you realize that those imperfections make you more beautiful.”  ~Beyoncé

“I was bullied quite a lot when I was growing up in my Peking Opera School.  I allowed myself to be bullied because I was scared and didn’t know how to defend myself.  I was bullied until I prevented a new student from being bullied.  By standing up for him, I learned to stand up for myself.”  ~Jackie Chan

 

 

 

 

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A story for anyone who’s not quite perfect

cracked pot flowersNone of us are perfect and never will be.   The world tries to convince us otherwise and many people spend their lives trying to find perfection, but we can’t become perfect in an imperfect world.  We need to realize this and just try to be the best imperfect person we can be.

In my self-esteem workshops, I talk a lot about the quest for perfection and how it negatively affects people of all ages.    Often I use stories or articles that demonstrate a good lesson.  Here is one of the stories that I use – it is called The Cracked Pot:  A Story for Anyone Who’s Not Quite Perfect. 

A waterbearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master’s house.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream: “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”

Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your mistress’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in her compassion she said, “As we return to the mistress’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.   But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?  That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.  For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my mistress’s table. Without you being just the way you are, she would not have this beauty to grace her house.”

Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots.   But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. We’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.

 

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Now is the time for change

Sad Teenage GirlMy passion is helping others and it breaks my heart when I see people being hurt in any way.   There are so many broken people in this world that have been abused, ignored, bullied or treated badly in some way.  I know how it feels because I have experienced a lot of pain and hurt in my own life.

One issue that bothers me greatly is how the media promotes beauty and body image.  It has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that people are affected negatively by what they see on TV and read in magazines.  Yet nothing is being done to stop this from happening.  What are the negative affects?

  • Children are learning at a very early age that their worth and value are linked to their sexuality.
  • Men see women as objects instead of real persons and treat them with disrespect
  • Women are losing their unique identity.
  • People are becoming more aggressive and violent acts are being committed more often.
  • People are being desensitized to violence and don’t see that it is a problem

The American Psychological Association did a report on the Sexualization of Girls.  Research links sexualisation with 3 of the most common problems for girls and women which are:

  1. eating disorders
  2. low self-esteem
  3. depression or a depressed mood

You can see the full report by clicking here….  http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

It would probably be impossible to stop the media from producing anything harmful, but we all should do what we can by bringing attention to these issues and helping our children.  We can:

  • set a positive example for our children by not obsessing about our looks and wearing clothing that is considered ‘sexy’
  • teach solid values and morals
  • teach children to respect themselves and others
  • get involved and show interest in their activities
  • be aware of what they are watching on TV and the internet and what they are reading in magazines and books
  • discuss how the media distorts the truth
  • talk about the pressures to wear certain clothing or look like someone else
  • encourage them to be unique and not follow the crowd
  • encourage them to stand up for what they believe in
  • teach them not to judge others for how they look or judge themselves based on someone else’s ideas
  • voice your opinion by sending letters to companies, writing blogs, submitting an article to your local newspaper
  • join an advocacy group or organization

It’s time to stand up and make some positive changes in our world!!  Communicate with your children and help them understand how the media wants to make people feel bad just so they can make a lot of money.    The following video clips called, Killing us Softly 4, were created by Jean Kilbourne, who is an internationally recognized author and speaker on the subject of women in advertising.   There are 5 clips in the series.

http://youtu.be/MnDOdG0U07I

http://youtu.be/sZ80GaNIPOQ

http://youtu.be/Oq6WO18KpPc

http://youtu.be/XVu40iEmeCY

http://youtu.be/KbW7-cBWN3I

 

 

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This is a very well written post that brings reality into focus.

The Teen Years

Image

For teenagers especially, coming into our bodies is one of the most challenging aspects of our lives. How many times have you stared at another person and compared yourself to them academically, aesthetically, etc? For most, tons of times. You can be in a conversation with a friend and you’re gaze strays to a girls body and you sigh and chastise yourself for eating so much. You see a someone get a better score than you and you wonder why they did so much better than you when they studied as much. This mindset leads people to self- degradation and loss of pride. They start acting out in ways that they normally wouldn’t, trying to prove themselves through a vice that’s only harmful to them. Some spiral into an all-consuming depression where they can’t see a way out. Days become long and dreary, it loses it’s color and flavor. You…

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A narrow definition of beauty

Smiling woman portrait.Did you know that only 2% of the women around the world describe themselves as beautiful?

Did you know that two-thirds of women strongly agree that ‘the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can’t ever achieve’?

These shocking statistics were discovered by DOVE (you know the company that makes soap and other beauty products) through the results of a major global study – a study that showed how limiting and unattainable it was to be beautiful, unless one was thin, young and blond.  This narrow definition of beauty was having a profound effect on the self-esteem of women.

Dove decided to start a campaign to help make women feel beautiful every day by widening the stereotypical views of beauty.  Information about their campaign can be found on the Dove website at http://www.dove.ca

My project I M Confident supports the Dove campaign and I believe their social mission can help young girls and women of all ages to build confidence and develop strong self-esteem.  Click on the following link for information, articles, games and quizzes on self-esteem….. http://www.dove.ca/en/Social-Mission/default.aspx   PARENTS…check out the Self-Esteem Guides for Moms that will help give you ideas on how to start a positive conversation about beauty and body image with your daughter.   Dads you can get in on the conversation too!  With just some slight modifications, these guides can also be used for Moms and their sons or Dads and their sons.   These guides can also benefit adults in learning how to become more confidence and increase their esteem.

Let’s all try to help our young people develop an awareness of what real beauty is and encourage them to just be the unique individual they were meant to be!

EVERYTHING HAS BEAUTY, BUT NOT EVERYONE SEES IT.   ~Confucious

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