Interestingly, I think there is one thing that has killed more dreams than death itself; that is a person who is concerned with what other’s think. Unknown
Girls are conditioned to look outside of themselves to get a sense of themselves, resulting in low self-esteem. The changes and challenges brought on by puberty and adolescence often cause girls to feel more insecure and to wonder if they are ‘okay’. They look to their friends for validation and approval, and even to “friends” on social media sites that they have never met in person. Thus their self-esteem goes up and down, up and down and who is in charge of it: not them. Girls become too dependent on what other people say or don’t say, desperately conforming in order to fit in, creating never-ending inner turmoil.
If you live off of compliments, you will die from criticism. Unknown
If girls allow compliments to bolster them up, they are setting themselves up to be discouraged by disapproval. Comparing yourself to others has a similar negative effect: you will never be happy because you will always find someone who in your mind is prettier, thinner, funnier, and more popular.
I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself. Rita Mae Brown
Giving up who you are to fit in creates an internal vacuum; you lose sight of who you are, what you like, and what is right for you. 17 year old Mia describes this well: “I didn’t like how I felt; I knew I was being fake, and even though it did allow me to go to parties and be involved in getting wasted and hooking up with the popular guys, I hated myself because I knew that it wasn’t me. I felt more and more depressed, and also anxious because I was scared people would find me out. I feel so relieved since I pulled out of that group; the pressure is off and the friends I am making now are true friends who love and accept me for me.”
To be truly happy and productive, you have to tune out the crowd and listen to the voices that we hear in solitude. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The answer to questions like ‘who am I’ and ‘what is right for me’ are best found within, not online nor in friend’s judgments. Teach your daughters how to get comfortable with alone, quiet time for reflection and soul-searching. Educate them to be media and image savvy so they are not swayed by popular opinion and fads. Comparing yourself to others, trying to fit in, and conforming to gain the approval of peers are all ingredients for anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. Lao Tzu
Check out my new podcast, Raising Daughters, at https://drtimjordan.com/raising-daughters-podcast This weeks topic is how to help girls keep their power and not give their power away to ‘mean words’.