A Girl’s Guide to Self-Confidence-Week 1: For the Moms

The response to this Summer Series, A Girl’s Guide to Self-Confidence, has truly been overwhelming, and I am thrilled beyond words to see so many moms take such a genuine interest in the hearts, minds, and futures of their daughters.  It is my prayer throughout the next two months that you grow closer to your daughters, that we inspire and encourage one another to be better role models, and that we all take away something positive from this series.  To get the background of this study, visit my post HERE.
Welcome to Week One of A Girl’s Guide to Self-Confidence.  I’m so happy you’re here!
I think it’s important to understand that, in order to help our daughters gain self-confidence, we must first exude that self-confidence ourselves.
Did I hit a nerve, moms?
 
You read that right.  YOU are your daughter’s best role model.  Don’t freak out.  Stay with me.  Nobody said raising girls would be easy, but we’ll get through it together, okay?
Facts About Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence Issues:
  • Low self-esteem forms in childhood, beginning at BIRTH and is usually cemented by age 8 to 10.
  • About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before reaching adulthood.  Of those, roughly 30 percent will abuse drugs or alcohol as a result of their depression.
  • Over 70 percent of girls ages 15 to 17 will avoid normal daily activities (going to school, hanging out with friends, etc.) if they feel bad about their looks.
  • 81 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat.
The one that hit home the most:
Seriously moms?  If those statistics don’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
That’s precisely why this week, the first week of our series, is dedicated to you as a mother.
It is vital and completely 100% mandatory that you understand your own attitude about yourself before you can help your daughter have a more positive attitude about herself.  Right?  Right!
{My mom, dad (making some weird face, holding our friend’s new baby) and me…in what used to be my absolute all-time favorite outfit.  I even rocked the tight roll pants!  Age 13, 1991}

From the “More Beautiful You” study:

“Can you remember back a few years ago to the carefree days – the days when so many of the things that concern and consume you right now didn’t matter at all?
 
– It didn’t matter if your hair was a mess.  Your ponytail whipped back and forth as you sped around the cul-de-sac on your brother’s bike.
– It didn’t matter how many calories an ice cream cone added to your daily consumption.  It was the best reward you could possibly receive for completing all your chores.
– It didn’t matter if your only sundress was a hand-me-down from an older cousin.  The fact she had worn it three summers before made it even more special.
 
But then something happened and everything changed.  One day you looked in the mirror and began to compare yourself to an external standard of beauty you had never considered before.”
 
{Me on the left + my bestie on the right in our super stylin’ matching plaid outfits, age 11, 1989}
I remember being that free…when I really didn’t care what I wore, much less if my outfit even matched!  I remember hopping out of the shower, throwing my hair in a ponytail, and walking out the door.  Now, I spend at least 45 minutes getting ready in the morning.
Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to care about your looks, fix your hair, look nice when you leave the house, etc.  I’m not trying to suggest that you quit doing these things in order to teach your daughter what it really means to be confident.
What I am suggesting, however, is that you teach your daughter that a hairstyle, name brand of clothing, jewelry or make-up is NOT what makes you beautiful.  It truly is what’s inside that counts.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty if fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.”
– Proverbs 31: 30
Think about this:
– Your spouse probably didn’t marry you because he thought you would always be beautiful 100% of the time.  As a matter of fact, I’d almost bet he finds you most attractive when you don’t try so hard to be beautiful.
– Your daughter most likely inherited some of your features.  The things you criticize about yourself might just be those features that she inherited.  If you and your daughter are anything like myself and my daughter, she looks just like me.  When I criticize myself, I’m criticizing her.
– Everybody has “bad hair days” from time to time, but grace determines if you can roll with it or let it ruin your day.  Showing grace in these situations builds confidence.  And confidence is sexier than any make-up and hairstyle you wear.
{Me, rocking the fanny pack, big bangs, and tortoise shell-rimmed glasses, age 13, 1991}

 

Your challenge for the next week is to evaluate, assess, and correct your negative behaviors.  In other words:
I want you to really step out of your comfort zone this week moms.  Try one or more of these little exercises throughout the week.  Don’t make a big deal out of it.  Don’t draw attention to yourself or even acknowledge that you are doing something different.  Just do it, and see what happens:

  • Leave the house without make-up.  Seriously, try it.  Run to the grocery store, go to the gym (I know you wear make-up to the gym!), run errands around town.  At first you might feel like everyone is looking at you, but I promise they are not.  The only person who cares is you.
  • Let your daughter choose your outfit for a day.  And actually wear what she picks out.  We tend to get stuck in a rut with our wardrobe and cling to the same few pieces over and over because we know they fit and we like how they look.  When you allow yourself to wear what your daughter picks out, you’ll have to learn to be comfortable even when you might not be comfortable.  Your outfit won’t dictate your beauty.
  • Compare your features to those of your daughter.  Lay in bed one night with your daughter and ask her what traits she thinks she got from you.  Do you have the same nose?  How about those freckles?  Pay attention to what she mentions.  She’s proud of these features, and you should be, too.
  • Let your daughter overhear you saying something POSITIVE about yourself.  Rather than commenting for the 1,975,432nd time that you really should lose some weight because your hips just aren’t what they used to be, why not check yourself out and pick out one thing you like about yourself.  Make mention of it and make sure she hears you.  Then, do it again the next day.  And the next…
  • Don’t care so much what other people think.  Act silly in public.  Embarrass yourself.  Laugh loudly.  Try on funny-looking clothes.  Have fun!  Don’t worry about what other people may think.
Go one step further and TAKE A PICTURE.  Take several pictures – of you by yourself with no make-up, of you and your daughter comparing features, of your stylish outfit she picked out for you, of the two of you being completely silly.  Share them with us on Instagram and Twitter using #girlsguide2confidence.
Let me share a little story with you before we close today:
     My dad was the kind of dad who embarrassed the crap out of me on a regular basis, and honestly never cared if anyone was watching.  He’s been gone for 16 years, and those are truly the best memories I have of my dad – the silly moments when he laughed at his own jokes, danced like nobody was watching, and just acted like a complete fool.
     Fortunately, I inherited this gene.  I, too, am loud and obnoxious and have no care in the world if people think I’m crazy.  I sing loudly, I dance in the car, I tell bad jokes, and have fun with life.  A couple years ago, my daughter would get embarrassed in the carpool line when I would drop her off in the morning.  She would mute the radio and ask me to stop for a minute.  I would oblige, but always told her I didn’t like stifling who I was.
     In January 2012, she came to me and said she had made her New Year’s resolution.  Just one.  “I’m not going to be embarrassed anymore.”
     YES!  Thank you Lord!  I was so happy!  And now, a year and a half later, I’m still happy, because she meant it.  We both sing loud and dance in the car.  We both act silly together and laugh loudly and genuinely don’t care who is watching.
     And it’s liberating!
{See?  We really don’t care.  We’re cool like that.}
Try one or more of the exercises I mentioned above.  Pour your heart and soul into them this week.  Then, smile.  And know that you have done something positive for yourself, and most importantly, for your daughter.
One more quick thing!  We’re going to work on an “About Me” book with our daughters throughout this series, beginning next week.  I highly recommend going shopping with your daughter to find just the right book to use.  Here are my suggestions, both of which can be found on Amazon and at Michael’s stores:

Find the line of SMASH products HERE.
Find the line of SN@P products HERE.
Now it’s your turn.  I want to know:
  • Are you comfortable in your own skin?  If not, what will you vow to work on this week?
  • What features or traits do you share with your daughter?
  • What are you most looking forward to getting out of this series?
Please stay connected!  We’re in this together!  Share your photos and thoughts on Instagram and Twitter using #girlsguide2confidence.


{Sources: The Self Esteem Institute, TeenDepression.org, DoSomething.org, Dove, Confidence Coalition, More Beautiful You}

6 Responses

  1. This is a post that every mom needs to read. I remember battling a low self image when I was young(er) because I always thought I was fat (even when I wasn’t). Thank God, with His help, I overcame it. Now, going out in public without makeup? I don’t know if the world is ready for me to do that one – LOL. Great post! Bravo!

  2. Alli you can do it! Seriously – yesterday was my 35th birthday, and I spent the entire day not only with my daughter, but also without make-up! We relaxed, laid by the pool, and ran some errands. My favorite moment was when we were playing in the pool together and she just stopped and looked at my face. She pointed out all the freckles and said, “Hey! I have freckles, too!” Then she smiled 🙂 Made my day! Be confident, girl! You’re beautiful!

  3. Hi, Kirsten

    Great post! I feel the same way. I have met so many of my son’s girl friends and they have low self esteem about their looks and weight. It’s crazy. I always make sure to tell my sweet girl she is great! Great post and well said.

  4. Read this the other day and didn’t have time to comment but to answer your questions:
    Are you comfortable in your own skin? If not, what will you vow to work on this week? No, I really hate my stomach after having my 2nd daughter and not being able to fit into any of my clothes but I have been trying to work on commenting on the fact that I hate it so much & instead trying to visit the gym more often and focus on the positive.
    What features or traits do you share with your daughter? Everyone says my girls look just like me, I can never see it exactly but they do tend to act like me;)
    What are you most looking forward to getting out of this series? I’m most looking forward to learning how to be a better mom and to getting closer to them. They are my world!

  5. I love your story with your father and then you and your daughter having the confidence to dance, to sing and have fun carefree of what other people might think.
    I have the confidence to go out without makeup, may be to laugh loudly but I lack confidence to act silly in public.

Comments are closed.

MEET KIRSTEN

I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!

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