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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.

We are our own worst enemies

young sad manIt is a fact, WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES.  Who hurts ourselves more than we do?  Except for extreme cases, nobody does.  We put ourselves in situations where we allow ourselves to be hurt, we talk to ourselves in a negative way, we put ourselves down, we call ourselves ‘stupid’, we tell ourselves that we are worthless.

Other people will often hurt us and then disappear from our lives, but we will continue to repeat their unkind or cruel words over and over again in our minds, sometimes for the rest of our lives.  We will re-live the abusive actions and tell ourselves that we deserved what happened.   We create harmful habits that hurt us continually.

Self-harming has become a growing problem with young people.  Stats show that at least one in four teens are using harmful behaviours, such as eating disorders, cutting, and self-criticism.  Some young people are convinced that inflicting pain on themselves is the only way to feel alive and often this is the only thing that they are able to control in their lives.

Parents and other adults are often hesitant to discuss these topics and will avoid speaking with the young people in their lives.  This creates a feeling of loneliness that will cause these neglected young people to isolate themselves when they really need to connect with someone.   Sadly, some media sites encourage self-harm by promoting and glorifying these actions.

It is important that we take action to help young people today realize that their lives are valuable and they should never do harm to themselves.  Start a conversation with the young people around you and let them know how special they are.  Help them build confidence and increase their self-esteem.  Be a positive role model and help someone become their own best friend!

Here is an article on this topic with some information on a new campaign to address this issue.   http://www.ypulse.com/post/view/the-social-network-of-self-harm

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Educate your children about advertising

adsAdvertising has a huge effect on people, there is not doubt about it and the effect is not usually a positive effect.  Companies try almost anything to sell their products even if it has the power to destroy our esteem.  Money is the ultimate goal and the result is the ever-growing problems of alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, excessive dieting, poor esteem and suicides.

Every day we see thousands of ads on TV and in magazines that can be harmful to our physical, mental and emotional health.    We need to educate our children about the reality of advertising and try to protect them as much as possible from any negative effects.

Following is an article from the America Academy of Pediatrics that describes in detail what effects advertising can have on our children and teens.  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/6/2563.full

In the Netherlands, there was a study done that shows how kids values are being shaped by their exposure to advertising.  http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/tv-commercials-linked-to-materialist-values-in-kids-55116/

If you have children, please help them develop strong esteem and educate them about advertising so they will be better prepared to deal with the pressures put on them.   If you don’t have children, consider volunteering some time to an organization that helps children and become a mentor to someone in our younger generation.

Our children are valuable and they need our love and support!

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One small word, many huge problems…..

Slide15DIET!!!  This one small word is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, yet it causes numerous problems for people when it becomes an obsession.

Start the new year right by trying to lose some weight!   Companies promise to help you lose that excess weight so you will find happiness and be successful.  There are all sorts of different diets to try, fitness clubs to join and exercise equipment to buy.   But are these promises real?

Many people become obsessed with dieting because society projects unrealistic images of beauty.  And who gains from this?  Certainly not the people who are dieting – it is the companies who sell diet products and exercise equipment, the gyms, the doctors who perform plastic surgery, cosmetic companies and so on.  They make billions of dollars each year trying to make us feel bad about ourselves.

In actual fact, most people who go on diets do NOT succeed.   About 90% FAIL, so you have a 1 in 10 chance to succeed – not very good odds.  Besides, dieting causes other problems like eating disorders, damage to internal organs and depression.  Why do we want to hurt ourselves?  I dieted myself for years and was always frustrated because I wasn’t successful.   Dieting became an addiction and I was obsessed with losing weight.  So what happened to those promises of finding happiness?  And where is all that money I spent on diet plans and equipment?  All gone for what!

Instead of trying different ways to lose weight and then giving up when they don’t work, find a healthy diet that includes the 4 basic food groups, don’t skip meals, don’t overeat, exercise regularly and do everything in moderation.   Ask your family doctor about a healthy diet and exercise plan that will work for you.   Also, remember that it takes time and patience to lose weight properly and keep it off.  Nobody gains weight in a few days or weeks and we can’t expect to lose it quickly.  Since I stopped looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight, I’ve been eating properly, exercising when I can and I am able to maintain a healthy weight.hold 2 red pompoms

Society makes it hard to feel confident about ourselves.  We are constantly told that we aren’t good enough and we keep trying to be that perfect person; whoever that may be.  We need to stop comparing ourselves to other and enjoy being in our own body; it is the only one we will ever have and we should take good care of it.  We can never get away from ourselves – everywhere we go, there we are.  We have to live with ourselves, so we need to learn to like ourselves.  We were born special and unique – so let’s celebrate this New Year and be happy just being ourselves!

 

 

 

 

 

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WHAT ARE WE DOING TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY?

In today’s world, young people have huge issues about beauty and body image.  Did you know that about 2/3 of all females avoid participating in some activities because they feel bad about how they look and almost half of all males are unhappy with their looks?  There is so much pressure on young girls and boys to be physically perfect and this creates all sorts of problems – stress, anxiety, depression, addictions, eating disorders, and so on.

All you have to do is read a magazine, turn on the TV or look at a computer to see images of ‘beautiful’ people living ‘perfect‘ lives.   These unrealistic images of beauty become reality, especially for our young people and they become obsessed with their looks, losing all sense of their own unique identity.

Body weight has become a major issue and even though only 19% of teenage girls are overweight, about 67% think they need to lose weight.  Stats show that 80% of girls have dieted by the time they are 18 – but listen to this – 40% of girls have dieted by the time they are 9!!!  This just about blew me away!!!    What is happening to our young people?

We need to start promoting healthy living to our younger generation.  How?  By becoming a positive role model and setting a good example.

Are you confident in your own abilities and do you have a strong self-esteem about your own body image?  This will have a positive effect on those around you.  Or are you constantly dieting, criticising your own looks and obsessed about your clothing?  This will have a negative affect on those around you.

Make some positive changes in your life and then consider becoming a mentor to someone in our younger generation.  There are so many young people who don’t have any positive influences in their lives and they are desperately struggling to find out who they really are.    Try to make a difference in someone’s life and you will find it very rewarding!

Dove has put together a lot of ideas on how to start discussions with young people.  Visit their site for some great ideas  http://www.dove.ca/en/Social-Mission/default.aspx

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