Don’t Just Love Yourself, Like Yourself Too!

me tree

So we’re going to try something new today.  Today is going to be an interactive blog post, if it’s even possible for a blog post to be interactive.  But we’re going to try it anyway.  We’re going to play a game.  Go to the kitchen and get a timer, something to write with, and a piece of paper. …..

No really, do that, I’ll wait…

I promise, this blog post isn’t going anywhere, that’s the amazing thing about the internet, it’s patient.

Ok, now that you have your materials.  Set the timer for FIVE minutes.  Spend the next five minutes making a list of all the things you like about yourself.  Try to be specific.  Don’t just say you are beautiful, but instead list out the things that make you beautiful.  Do you like your eyes? Your nose? Your hair? Think about what you’re good at doing.  What do you like about yourself that makes you good at those things?  Are you caring?  Good at sharing?

Whatever you do, don’t stop.  Keep writing for the entire five minutes.

READY……SET……GO……

How did you do?  It was hard wasn’t it?  Why is that?  Why is it so difficult to say nice things about ourselves?  As you’ve seen in the previous few blog posts, we’ve been very busy taking this message out into the community. We’ve learned, it’s not just hard for you and I to do this, but it’s hard for everyone at all ages.  Even adults have a hard time with this.  It’s hard because it’s a skill we don’t practice.  We get so used to taking the view of the world as the true view of ourselves that we forget to create our own view of who we are.  When we don’t have our own view, it is much more difficult to stand up against bullies.  If we aren’t self-assured, it is much more difficult to just walk away.  If we aren’t confident in ourselves, it’s even more difficult to stand up for our friends.  When we have to do a task that’s difficult or new and we don’t get it right on the first time, if we don’t have a positive view of who we are, it becomes much more difficult to keep going back and trying again.  Knowing all the good things about ourselves provides us a vast tank of positive self-esteem to help us fight against the negative thoughts and negative people the world throws at us.

Adults always say that we should have good self-esteem, but rarely does anyone teach us how to get good self-esteem.  It can be a learned skill.  Maybe you could only write down 8 things in that entire five minutes, that’s ok!  That’s 8 great things about you.  Keep practicing.  I bet as you go through the day today, you’ll think of more things that you should have said.  So try this exercise again tomorrow, and then the day after that, and the day after that too!  Once you can think of so many things that you can’t write it down fast enough, don’t stop playing the game, let the game grow!  Add a new rule, maybe you can’t say anything today that you said yesterday.  Use your imagination.  There is no limit.

We’d like to know how you did.  Leave a comment down below to let us know.  Was it hard?  Did you ask a friend to help you?

Let us give you the first one.  We think you are tough just because you tried this game.  It’s not easy to participate in an interactive blog, especially when it gets so personal so fast!

flower

(Above is a sample of a self-esteem flower we created at a recent community event. We cut out flower petals and challenged all girls and instructors to fill up the flower with things they like about themselves… what would your flower be filled with?)

-Jennifer S.

Self-Esteem & Long Beach

EM

My favorite Saturday of the year is coming up this weekend — Especially Me Super Saturday! This is a special day when I (along with about 25 other trained volunteers) get to teach a group of wonderful 5th grade ladies in Long Beach the skills they need to be happy and confident, to make good decisions, to be assertive, to express themselves, and to have a strong sense of self. The goal being to instill the idea in each young lady that she is unique and special. That she can take control of her life. How we do this? By providing tools to build and maintain self-esteem, providing correct information about the body, providing decision-making skills, and helping to set meaningful goals. I am counting down the days until I get to have my classroom of girls and we get to have open conversations about what we believe and are experiencing, and I get to share advice and input from my life growing up.

I think back to when I was in 5th grade and I wish I would have had a safe environment to discuss these thoughts, doubts and changes I was experiencing. What’s so cool, too, is that we are building this support system through The Confidence Post and through our community events, such as Especially Me! and Confidence & Me. Confidence & Me – A Toolkit for Empowering To-Be-Teens is our new self-esteem and bullying prevention programming in the Long Beach community put on by the Junior League of Long Beach. These self-esteem & bullying prevention events are kicking off this Spring and the events will focus on boys and girls in 5th through 8th grade (caregivers also are encouraged to participate) and are designed so attendees can participate throughout their middle school experience. Our hope is to develop ongoing relationships and interactions with students throughout their journey during these formative years, providing a toolkit of resources, knowledge and skills.

I encourage you and any others you know that could benefit from our in-person programs to get in touch with us, whether it’s through contacting us on this blog or emailing us at community@jllb.org. Whether you are experiencing this as a student, or if you have a loved one who is in 5-8th grade, please share this! It is so important that we take care of each other as a community and be each other’s support systems. There never can be too much support and knowledge!

-Alex W.

Tales of a 7th Grade Everything

bri

Growing up, my favorite author was Judy Blume.  I loved most all of her stories, but one of my favorites was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  In a very brief synopsis, Peter is annoyed with the antics of his younger brother, Fudge, how he never gets punished and how Peter believed that his needs/wants came second to attention paid to his little brother.  In middle school, I too remembered that feeling of coming second to siblings, classmates and friends.  Believing that who they are must matter more because they got more attention.  It wasn’t until later in life that I realized that we all are amazingly unique and special and although I have never wanted to be just like someone else, I learned I couldn’t if even I tried.

The Confidence Post was created to connect with children and parents alike to work together as a community to empower children with self-esteem, leadership and character development as a weapon against bullying.  However, we have not spent as much time talking directly to our young readers so I thought I would try to do that today.

I thought a great place to start would be to interview a 5th-8th grader that might be able to shed some light on what we as adults need to know about childhood self-esteem.  I hope in the coming weeks to interview more bright, inspiring young readers to share their insight with you.

**Disclaimer:  I started with my favorite 7th grader, my niece/goddaughter, Brianna.  Her parents have allowed for her picture to be shared so you get a sense of the amazing young lady she is and the woman she is becoming.  Brianna is a bright, articulate, talented young woman who agreed to be interviewed.  These are the questions I asked:

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.  My name is Brianna.  I am 12 years old and I am in the 7th grade.  In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends.  My hobbies are basketball and ballet.
  2. What is unique about you?  I think I am unique because I have my own style. I usually do things my own way and I do my own thing. Usually, I don’t do whatever everybody else does.
  3. Who helps you see how unique and special you are?  My family plays a big role in making me who I am. I am always able to be myself with my family.
  4. How do they do that (make you feel unique/special)?  My family always encourages me to do new things and new experiences so I can discover who I am.
  5. What would you tell other kids about how to know THEY are unique and special?  You are able to know you are unique by who you are surrounded by. Hang around people that know you are special and make you feel that way.
  6. Is there anything you would want to tell the parents/adults of those children on helping them feel unique and special?  Try to notice what makes children special and tell them you notice these things.
  7. Anything else?  I don’t think so…

Out of the mouths of articulate babes…My thanks to Brianna for taking time out of her very busy day to educate us and for being the super star that she is.  I love you!  Thanks also to her parents, Tim and Lily, for letting me speak to her, share her picture and overall fantastic example of self-esteem, leadership and character development.

More to come!

-Cheryl L.