I was in honors classes, I was in the band, and I wore glasses. I had very little fashion sense, and I sure wasn't anywhere near popular.
|That's me on the left. Check those bangs!|
I wouldn't wish my middle school years on anyone.
As I grew older, I learned to accept who I was, and embrace it. My honors classes got me scholarships. My band activity gave me a career. I learned a bit about how to present myself better physically. I married a wonderful man who thinks I'm beautiful. I wish I could go back to my 13 year old self and show her my life. I never would have believed it back then.
Most of these things just came with time and patience. I know, though, that the influence of others directly impacted my self-esteem. I was blessed to have a group of friends who loved me anyway. We could all be nerdy together. I knew that it didn't matter what I looked like or if my interests were "cool enough" for them. If I didn't have the friends I did growing up, I may not have made it through my teenage years.
|That's me choking my friend Jen. These are just some of the great girls in my life!|
I was also blessed with adults in my life who loved me. My parents were awesome and totally supportive. My leaders at church were great fun, and always loved me just as I was. They also taught me that I was a daughter of God, and could turn to Him for comfort.
Next weekend, Oct 21-23rd, Dove is sponsoring the Dove Self-Esteem Weekend. Dove is well known for encouraging real beauty, not the fake stuff we see in most magazines and other media. They believe that by encouraging young women to establish a positive relationship with beauty, they can help them reach their full potential. I think it's a worthwhile and really awesome goal! Can you imagine how this world would be if every young woman (or us older women!) believed she was beautiful, wonderful, and worth notice?
The people at Dove are asking you to pledge one hour of your time to a self-esteem building activity, either for yourself, someone you love, or even a group of women. You can add your activity to their Pledge Map here. If you're not sure what to do, or where to start, Dove is providing some great ideas via their Self-Esteem Toolkit, found here.
If you'd like to participate, Dove is encouraging you to change your Facebook Profile to their pledge image. We'd also love you to get the word out to other women and young women in your life. Share it on Facebook, blog about it, tweet it, whatever!
If you look back on your childhood, I'm sure you can remember a time where you felt worthless. I'm also sure you can remember a time where someone lifted you up and made you feel special. I hope you can do that for someone in your life.
I plan on doing some activities with my six year old daughter. Even though the focus is on girls ages 8 and up, I know the influences of the world on girls starts early, and I want her to be prepared. I want her to know that she is smart, she is loving, she is kind, and she is beautiful, and that the world's opinions don't matter. I also want to teach her how to be the kind of friend I had growing up, and that she will always be confident that whoever she is, however she dresses, whatever she loves to do- I love her, and it is okay to love herself.
I hope you'll join in with me next weekend, and help our daughters, friends, nieces, granddaughters, or whoever is special to you, develop and grow their self-esteem.