Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Catch-22 of Self-Esteem

Dear Claire,

Just when you thought being a young woman couldn't get any more complicated...

Mothers, fathers, teachers, youth workers, and Dove commercials have all it made their goal to increase your self-esteem.  That's right, we want you to belive you're smart, fun, driven, and of course, beautiful.  We want you to avoid eating disorders, feeling too fat, feeling too skinny, feeling like you have bad skin, feeling like you have bad hair, the list goes on and on and on.

There's a catch though...because you're a girl, you can't actually tell anybody that you feel good about your appearance.  God forbid you like your face, hair and thighs and actually say that out loud - you'll be immediately delegated as the girl who "thinks she's better than everybody else".  Other girls will come sprinting out of the woodwork to inform you why you're not so perfect after all.  Phrases like "who does she think she is?" and "she's not that pretty" will be thrown around behind your back for days to follow.

So my darling, you might ask - what's a girl to do?

1. Know that everyone, in their own way is beautiful and that on the day each one of us was born, someone held us and wept thinking we were the most wonderful person that ever lived.

2. Give compliments.  Everyone loves getting a compliment regardless of whether it's about a new pair of shoes, a great grade at school, or scoring a goal.  Find something about everyone that can be appreciated, and share that appreciation for others out loud.

3. Accept compliments properly.  In other words, say "thank you, that is so kind of you".  Don't every reject a compliment - that's just bad karma!

4. Remember that confidence (not cockiness) makes people more enjoyable to be around, so don't ever deny you believe in yourself and don't ever pretend to be less than you are.

5. Lastly, if another girl ever asks "Claire, do you think your pretty?", just say "yes, and I think you are too".  It's hard to hate someone who just complimented you.

Love you because you know you're one of a kind!