A Girl’s Guide to Self-Confidence: Week 3 – Sticks & Stones

The past couple weeks in our series, A Girl’s Guide to Self-Confidence, we’ve been talking about beauty – what real beauty is, what the media says, what God says, and how we can feel more beautiful from the inside out.
Women place physical appearance very high on their list of priorities in general.  We wear make-up, fix our hair, shop for cute outfits for every occasion.  While there’s nothing wrong with caring about our appearance, it shouldn’t be what we fixate on as a measure of our beauty.  To read more on Redefining Beauty, visit our post from last week.
As we’ve discussed, our appearance, and what other people think of it, shape our opinions of ourselves.  However, words also play a huge part in our self-image.  This week we are going to focus on words – the good, the bad, and the oh-so-ugly.
There’s an old saying that I’ve heard since I was little: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.
I say crap on that.
Words hurt.  Words heal.  Words transform.  Words carry such power, yet we toss them about, day in and day out, with very little regard to this power.
Allow me to share a personal story for a moment…
I was in a long-term relationship many years ago that, for the most part, was pretty good.  At least for a while…  A few years in to this relationship, the words that my significant other used to describe me became harsh and hurtful.  The word “potential” kept popping up.  And “ridiculous”.  (To this day, I hate that word.)
In his mind, all I had was “potential”, which told me that I was never enough.  The expectations were too high and I could never meet them.  Every idea that I had on my own was “ridiculous”, which made me feel incompetent and dumb.
At times, he would even complain to my own mother about me, telling her that “I needed medication” because I had a “chemical imbalance in my brain”.
It was absolutely verbal abuse, and I was able to get out of that relationship.  It took a lot of time, strong support from friends and loved ones (especially my amazing mom), and finally, a man who loves me for me, to finally dig myself out of that hole that I allowed him to put me in.
Did you get that last part?  The hole that I allowed him to put me in.
 
That’s the whole point of this week’s post.  Words can hurt – they can maim and scar and cause blood and tears if we allow it.  Confidence arms us with a set of tools to combat this type of abuse.
Confidence will tell you that you are so much better than the words you hear.
“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.” – Beth Moore
 
Where does verbal abuse come from?
 
In the home: Sadly, most verbal abuse begins at home.  Parents have unrealistic expectations of their children, for example, and condemn their child when those expectations aren’t met.  It could be something as simple as, “Why can’t you clean your room like your sister?” or “Don’t you know how to match?  I swear, you look thrown away!”
All too often, parents compare their children to their siblings or to their friend’s children.  It’s important to understand that God made each and every one of us different and unique, designed purposefully and with great attention to detail.
{Psalm 139: 13-14}
My pastor shared a story with us recently that I really feel is relevant here.  In the book of Genesis, Chapter 27, we read about Isaac and his two adult sons, Esau and Jacob.  The short version of the story is this:  Jacob stole his brother Esau’s blessing from his father.  More than anything else in the world, Esau wanted his father’s blessing.How many children work their entire lives just to get their parent’s blessing?  It’s vital to a child’s self-image to feel that they have pleased their parents.

At school:  Gone are the days of playground insults like “I know you are but what am I!?”  I tell my daughter all the time that kids these days are just mean.  I hear young kids using adult language to torment and harass other kids.  It’s disgusting and sad, but it’s prevalent, and we need to arm our children to defend themselves.

By having complete confidence in who they are, kids of all ages, and adults, too, can stand their ground and walk away virtually unaffected.  It’s not easy, and a lot of times those hurtful words start to creep into our minds with that nagging little thought,
“What if they’re right?”
I promise, they’re wrong.
{Ephesians 4: 29}
{Proverbs 12: 18}

 

A few years ago, I was leading a 5th grade girl’s Sunday school class.  We were spending several weeks studying the book “More Beautiful You” by Jonny Diaz, and on one particular Sunday, we began discussing bullying.
My co-leader, a middle-school teacher, gave the girls a tool that I have since given to my daughter to defend herself from vicious verbal attacks.  No, it wasn’t a hammer or a knife or anything crazy like that!  It was words.
 
She told the girls about her days in elementary and middle school…about how she was very overweight and was picked on because of it.  Finally heeding her mother’s advice, she stood up for herself one day.  Someone called her a really ugly name, and her response to them was priceless:
“Thank you.  You’re right.  I am {insert ugly name here}.  Will you pray for me?”
The bullies were simply dumbfounded, and eventually, they left her alone.
Acknowledging your attackers with a sincere and kind word, and asking for help, will confuse them to the point that it’s no longer fun for them to attack you any longer.
Lift yourself up!

I am a firm believer in positive self-talk.  Everyone needs encouragement from time to time, and sometimes encouraging words aren’t always easy to come by.  Surround yourself with uplifting quotes, memorize Bible verses, list your blessings…  There are so many ways to give yourself a boost.I’d like to share a few of my personal motivators with you – and I bet you can guess what this week’s activity is going to be?  🙂

Are you ready to be positive and encouraging?  I hope so!

For more information on having a “Yes” day, check out THIS POST by The Natural Child.
I look forward to hearing your stories this week!  Please remember to connect with me and other moms and daughters joining us on this journey.

Now it’s your turn:

  • What Bible verses or quotes lift you up?
  • Have you ever had a “Yes” Day?  How did it go?
  • Are you noticing a change in your daughter’s attitude since the beginning of this series?  How about your own?

11 Responses

  1. Bravo! Great post! And I totally agree with your crap to that sticks and stones things. Words are so powerful. They are containers that release blessings or curses. The power of life and death are in the tongue. Awesome post!

  2. Thank you so much Melanie! This was one tough to write, to be honest. It’s so strange when I thought back to those hurtful words my ex used to use, how fresh the pain was. But God allows trials sometimes to strengthen us and give us something to share with others in order to connect and encourage.

    So glad I was able to do that today!

  3. I absolutely love this post. This past week I have been letting my daughter pick my clothes out (for a 3 year old she has great taste – or she just knows my jeans and tee style). We watched the video together and she kept asking what they were doing to the ladies eye, and I explained it is paint, sometimes it is fun to put paint on but we don’t need to do that to be beautiful. I never wear make up so she really doesn’t understand it. My favorite quote in the bible is the Ecclesiastes 3:1 – there is a season for everything.

  4. Beautiful, Melissa. Warms my heart to know you are already instilling in your daughter what it truly feels like to be a confident woman. Sounds like she has a fantastic role model! 🙂

  5. I love this series! Seriously, it is hitting home for me so much especially after these last few months! I have been letting my little girl (4) do my make up – Pretty crazy with purple/pink eyeshadow but she loves it and always says how beautiful I am when she is done 🙂
    I love all of these encouraging motivators. I have several journals with bible verses and quotes that I read/use daily!
    Thanks for sharing! Love ya girlie!!

  6. Wow. Good for you, Kirsten, for talking about your past relationship. It’s amazing how the words of others can really mold how we feel about ourselves. And I agree – we teach people how to treat us. It’s funny, because we (and rightfully so) spent so much time focusing on the attacker, but at the same time, we need to empower the receiver of this negativity (didn’t really think the word “victim” was appropriate here).

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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