Three Tips to Help Your Daughter Feel Comfortable in Her Skin
How much a young girl will value, like and feel good about them selves is unfortunately, for many today, very heavily influenced by social media, reality television and the pressure of living in a beauty obsessed and materialistic society.
For a lot of young girls this pressure can manifest into low self-esteem, low mood, disordered eating, isolation, self-criticism and negative body image. To help your daughters strengthen their relationship with themselves, as part of the upcoming Girls United course, I have created a series of workshops that will help her navigate her way through the murky waters that is self-esteem, body image and self-acceptance.
In the mean time here are three confidence boosting, clarity creating and action taking tips that you can read and implement right now to help your daughter embark on her journey into awesomeness.
The most important relationship in your life is with your self and that is why a young girls self esteem, or sense of self, is so important. To encourage your daughter to feel comfortable with her own thoughts, feelings and actions you can help her by discovering self compassion. The healing power of self-compassion and self-kindness will help your daughter feel good about her self and all that she does.
Given the value placed on beauty in our society and the ease of which you can make comparisons because of social media, TV and magazines its no wonder a young girls self esteem is closely linked with their perceived attractiveness.
If your daughter is self conscious about her body you can offer her comfort (and help her to comfort herself) by reminding her that she in unique and that to be unique is gift that should be embraced. Reassure her that her goal should be to feel comfortable in her skin and not to look perfect. Don’t tell her she can do it differently or better next time, encourage her to embrace and her accept her body (and mind) as it is today.
Teenagers today face a lot of challenges, including intense expectations and pressures from their parents, teachers, friends, social media and TV. Sometimes, however, their harshest critics are not other people, but themselves. Sometimes teens can be the ones who are judgmental and critical. This voice makes you feel anxious, judged and criticises you when things don’t work out. It puts pressure on you to act, think and look a certain way so you can feel like you fit in and are a part of something. This results in low confidence and low self-esteem.
When we have self critical, negative of “mean girl” thoughts we sometimes assume they are 100% true. But in actual fact they are far from it! You are not your thoughts, you are the creator of your thoughts and as the creator of your thoughts you can chose to create ones that will either help you or harm you.
Your daughter is going to experience a spectrum of thoughts, dialogues and feelings – some good, some bad. Some self-criticism can be a positive thing as it challenges us to check our behaviour – not all thoughts have to be acted upon. If we can learn how to filter our negative self talk, to quieten or soften the inner mean girl, then we will be able to understand her and give her the compassion she needs to let go or her harmful thoughts and chose to focus more on helpful thoughts.
The first step towards changing the way you treat yourself is to recognise when you are being self-critical. Once your daughter can recognise this “mean girl voice” she can then make an effort to quieten or soften it with compassion rather than judgment. For example, instead of saying to you inner critic “you’re so stupid, go away and leave me a long” she should say something like “I know you are feeling a little insecure and that’s why you think I should change but being so harsh and mean makes me feel worse and isn’t helping at all”
Body Image and Body Confidence
Body image is how you view your appearance — including whether you feel pretty to yourself and to others. For many people, especially people in their early teens, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem.
Human beings are inherently unique individual, fabulously imperfect. Being able to embrace our imperfections and value our uniqueness will help to quieten the “inner mean girl” or self-critic that many of experience. Imperfections, flaws and weaknesses are a natural and normal and part of being a teenager and adult. However, imperfections and flaws should not carry with them so much negativity. When you can learn that you are enough just the way that you are by valuing, liking and feeling good about yourself you are creating space for love, kindness and compassion.
Teens with positive body image understand that their body isn’t bad, wrong or unattractive. They appreciate their natural body and value its uniqueness. People with positive body image also feel confident and comfortable and have high sel-esteem. Body positive encourages people to feel OK with how they look right now – no matter their size – and to accept their body as it is.
To love your body does not mean that you have to love all of your body! Loving your body is a continuous journey, not an uphill battle to fall in love with every atom of your being. As long as your daughter focuses more time and energy loving the parts of her body that she loves instead of hating she parts you hate, she will be just fine.
I hope these three tips help you empower your daughter with new skills. To learn more about how you can help your daughter discover confidence, compassion and kindness please join us join us for the first session of our 7 week course Girls United: A Journey into Awesomeness starting Saturday 28th May which will run until Saturday 16th July. We will use this opportunity to explore what challenges have been thrown at them so as to help shape this and future courses.