We often spend more time comparing than appreciating ourselves and others. Right?
Hard not to. We're surrounded by media messaging that bombards us daily about what 'Pretty' is. And that's hard to ignore. Just as it can be hard to ignore unkind words from others.
In Australia as in elsewhere Stereotypes as to what's 'Pretty', feed negative self-talk and bullying. Here 1 in 4 kids at school cite that they're bullied frequently. 2 in 3 are teased about appearance.
We know most families find these stats disturbing. And we know that for Tweens who are living this reality, it can be hard to tap in to your own magic and simply DO YOU.
Well that's about to CHANGE! 'Cos we know MORE JOY definitely rests in simply revelling in life; being free to be you; and encouraging others to do the same.
Training to be your own uplifter + building self worth requires a coupla hacks.
Here's some from us to get you started. Get into training mode. It's worth it. 💪
Step 1: SHOW UP
You may be surprised that we have this here as a step - but the first hurdle can often be our own cynicism.
They say it takes approx two months to effectively change a habit.
So maybe pop a calendar up on your bathroom mirror and keep tabs on yourself.
This is Day 1. You don't have to be 'ready'. Just show up for this like it's an experiment, and from now through to Day 60 properly give it a go. 👊
Step 2. BEGIN
We're gonna switch off that inner voice that's telling you you're not enough.
No bullies no way. Not on our watch. Especially of the inner variety!
Step things up a notch. We're taking over the controls. Here's how....
Step 3: REFRAME
First, paint a positive picture.
Start as a 5 year old kid looking at yourself now (the point being we really can be our own harshest critics in our day to day, but give it some distance and you'd probably think you were A M A Z I N G!).
Through the 5 y/o's lens write down what you like about you.
Now forget looks, and write a list of everything you like about yourself today, from today's perspective. If it's the same as the 5 year old you, underline it.
Now write a list of everything you've achieved this year.
Now a list of everyone whose lives you've touched. And who values you and why.
Put all 4 lists together. They're who you are, what you do and how you be.
Our three criteria for the #prettyisasprettydoes #thisisrealpretty standard. Go You.
Read and enJOY. Read again.
And remember this is not a lifetime's worth of your goodness, it's all just what sprang to mind. Feel free to add and keep current.
Now keep this list somewhere safe and private. And read and re-read it whenever you're feeling down or simply need a reminder !
Step 4: CHANGE THE CHANNEL
One of life's key stresses is to feel out of control. And feeling our self confidence knocked can make us doubt ourselves significantly.
So to take back control, when verbal unkindnesses occur it can help to think of them as words only - without the emotion (hate/ meanness/ judgement) attached to them.
We hold the power to let those words affect us, or to brush them off. We hold the remote to change the channel. Always.
And that is a power to be aware of. And to hold on to.
It may not feel like that initially, but focus on this knowledge - that you hold the power of whether you need to put up with this or not, or let this affect you or not.
Holding on to this power you'll soon find that not only will you learn to care less, but your dissenters will notice and may well stop bothering you (because it's stopped working).
But if they don't stop bothering you then seek help from a parent, teacher or carer ok?
ON YOUR INNER BULLY
Now the same approach goes for your inner critic too. Negative self talk is just you bullying yourself.
The trick here is in recognising your inner critic doesn't get out much. And then it goes a little stir crazy and behaves badly. (That's not science btw).🙊
We like to be KIND and turn that little inner gremlin back to its better self by flicking it with our remote. Reminding them to be kind and play nice.
- An ayurvedic technique you might like to try is to tap yourself right between the eyes (where your inner eye is - Google if you like). The belief is that this switches your thinking back to where you are, instead of on your million distracting thoughts.
- Another technique could be to simply return to that long list of goodness you wrote about yourself in Step 3. A definite mood shifter!
- Another trick can be to have a laugh and talk to your inner voice. Call it out just as you would anybody else who treats you mean. "Play nice Susan. We're worth more than that"
Step 5: YOU DO YOU
The world around you will bombard you with views on what to look like and how to behave. What's cool. What's IN. What's hot and what's not.
In some countries it's cool to be darker skin. In other countries it's cool to be pale. In some countries it's cool to be big. In others it's cool to be small. In some families they do things one way. In others another..
But wherever you go, two things will remain constant:
1. Everyone's idea of cool is not always the same.
2. Everyone ends up finding the people who DON'T care about cool, the coolest.
Good to keep a healthy sense of humour about 😂 And most of all great to be free from wasting energy over.
Waaaay more fun to work out who and what brings you JOY and do more of that !
Say what you feel. Wear what you want. Keep it Real. (And Kind. Obvs😘).
As Tweens You have the power to define the world you walk into as young adults. Own that power!!
Being you, is your your greatest strength. And your greatest gift realised.
Here's to More Joy peeps. And less of the rest.
PS. If you're finding this easy to read but not so easy to do, or need some practical advice? You aren’t alone.
Chat to your parents. Plus here's some links to support services that help with bullying, negative body image, and self-worth. All contact is anonymous.