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During one of our groups we shared some very important information with other females between ages 12-18. The response of these young ladies made me realize the importance of the topics addressed. Although it is way too much information to add in a blog post, I decided to try and break it down, adding some of the most important points. Please share this information with the teens in your life; in fact, take it a step further and turn these points into a conversation. There’s a lot that our girls already know, but with the struggles of making right and wrong decisions, talking about and encouraging them on what they know may be more beneficial than you can imagine.
There are several things that are very important when we consider all that it takes to grow into a strong, progressive, successful woman. Of those, we discussed self-esteem, assertiveness, inner/outer beauty and self-care. I will list a portion of the discussion below. Please feel free to share; in fact, we encourage you to share!
Self-esteem is one major key to becoming a successful individual, regardless of how one determines success. Whether or not one has high or low self-esteem will pretty much determine how far they will go in life. Those with higher self-esteem will, more than likely be more successful than those with low self-esteem. Recognizing the level of one’s self-esteem is pretty easy. Have the person (or yourself) answer the following questions, a) how do you feel about yourself; b) what type of behavior do you display when you are in public and/or associating with others; and c) how well do you take care of yourself (eating, exercise, hygiene, etc.)?
Some examples of people with high self-esteem include, a) acting independently; b) taking responsibility for their actions; c) taking pride in setting and reaching goals; d) welcoming new tasks; e) willing to help others, especially without wanting anything in return; and f) behaving positive in negative situations.
Assertiveness is a healthy way of communicating as it allows us speak up about things that may or may not be good or helpful to us. This can be important in all aspects of our lives including school, work & at home.
Assertiveness is something that we all have to work on, constantly. What is most important for us to learn is how to use our assertiveness. Sometimes we can be too assertive (mean, demanding, etc.) and other times we can be under-assertive (think I just made up that word…lol) (too quiet, allowing others to do what they want to us, finding ourselves in situations we are not happy about, etc.). Being assertive in a positive way, meeting in the middle of overly assertive and under-assertive. Examples may include a) giving an opinion or saying how you feel; b) asking for what you want; c) being able to respectfully disagree with others; d) speaking up about ideas and suggestions, even if others may not want to hear them or agree; e) saying NO without feeling guilty; and speaking up for others.
Self-care very, very important to our overall well-being. People in your circle may criticize you for self-care; they may think that you are selfish. However, without taking care of “self” then you risk “self”. Self-care takes practice and continued effort; without it we risk our physical and mental health, and the possibility of having healthy relationships with others.
You can start practicing self-care by creating a self-care plan. Some things to focus on include, a) school/work – engage in regular supervision, positive peer interaction, develop and stick to strict boundaries with peers, and develop knowledge in subjects/professional field; b) physical self-care – exercise regime, regular/enough sleep, healthy eating, rest/breaks at school or work, vacation; c) psychological self-care – keep a reflective journal, hobbies, take time for yourself, hang out with friends/family; d) emotional self-care – supportive friendships, reflect on good things you’ve done throughout the day, again…hang out with friends & don’t forget to take time for yourself; spiritual self-care – meditate, pray, exercise, reflect with friends and/or social/spiritual groups, read/journal; and relationship self-care – prioritize relationships with friends & families, form and nurture professional relationships (school/work).
If you take a good look at all of the topics listed, then you will see that they all play a role in one another. You can’t have high self-esteem if you do not practice self-care, or if you do not consider and build your inner beauty. You can’t build on your inner beauty if you don’t practice self-care which helps to increase your self-esteem. You get the picture! So please….if there is not enough information here, then research each topic. As previously mentioned, share this with the young ladies in your life. It can be a great “injection” of knowledge; and just may be what they need to set them on a path of building a solid foundation as they move into womanhood.
A life today, a nation tomorrow….
Mrs. Tomaro Pilgrim, BA, MSC, MSHS, HS-BCP