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Modern Women and Improving Self Esteem
Society Today and Self Esteem
My generation is being labeled "The Boom-A-Rang" generation because so many people go away to college from age eighteen to twenty-five and end up moving back in with their parents due to the fact that they are unable to find a job that pays enough for them to support themselves. With the economy the way it is, war overseas, and the population of the world having tripled within the past one hundred years, the self esteem of young people, especially women, is on the floor. Women are highly valued for physical appearance alone and not the content of our character. Bullying among school kids has increased. Mental health disorders are on the rise. How do you fight the battle of low esteem? From someone who has struggled with the same issue here are some tips below.
- Only 3% of women have ever been governors in comparison with 2,319 men who have according to the Center for American Women and Politics.
- According to CNN Money, only 3% of the C.E.O.'s of Fortune 500 companies are women.
- Of the clout positions in the mainstream media, telecommunications, publishing, advertising, etc. only 3% are held by women.
- According to Advertising Age, only 3% of creative directors within ad agencies are women.
- Forbes says that 80% of all purchasing decisions are made by women.
- Miss Representative-Parliamentary Union claims that 89 countries employ more women in national legislatures than the Untied States.
- The Economist/2013 State of Women Owned Businesses claims that 29% of American firms are owned by women and employ only 6 % of the country's work force while accounting for barely 4% of business revenues. These were the same statistics in 1997.
What We Tell Ourselves
What Young Girls Are Facing
- According to the National Report on the State of Self-Esteem and the Dove Self-Esteem Fund 7 in 10 girls think that they are not good enough or fall short in some area including academic performance, the way that they look, and/ or interpersonal relationships.
- 98% of girls claim that external sources apply an enormous pressure to look a certain way.
- 90% of people who suffer from an eating disorder are girls.
- 1 in 4 girls fits the criteria to be diagnosed with a mental or emotional disorder like cutting, depression, and/ or an eating disorder.
- 53% of girls at the age of thirteen are not satisfied with how they look.
- 78% of girls by the time they reach 17 are unhappy with how they look.
Like A Girl
Don't Beat Yourself Up
When I was a kid and in Sunday School the teachers gave us an assignment to write down everything bad we could say about someone and everything good we could say about someone. The list of bad things far, far out weighed the list of good things, particularly with the adolescent girls. We carry these negative views of our self and other people into adulthood. Being in Weight Watchers and struggling with my weight, the leader of the meeting once said, " I can not track all the time. I do not always get my fruits and vegetables. I do not always exercise as I should. So you are probably asking yourself why is this woman even up here?" After a long pause by the audience she revealed, "I do not beat myself up." Pretty much everyone in the meeting beat themselves up. You put on two pounds and go to a weigh in and it is like the end of the world and you feel like giving up. But, losing weight is a process like anything. Any time you make a mistake look at it like a learning experience and not a mistake. What did you learn from this experience and what could you do better next time? The Native Americans believed that it was o.k. to make mistakes as long as you learned from them. The truth is no one is perfect. All of us make mistakes. Everyone of us has some flaws. So, instead of throwing in the towel be as forgiving of yourself as you would another person.
Starting with Self Esteem in Youth
You Have to View Yourself Positively
"Love Yourself Fiercely"
A yoga instructor once said, "Love Yourself Fiercely". In today's society how do we even do that? That was a question that I struggled with for quite sometime. Amy Winehouse, who was an extremely talented singer who died young of addiction, said in one of her songs, "I am going to have to be my own best friend". At the end of the day you really cannot depend on the rest of the world to lift you up or tell you how wonderful you are. You have to tell yourself that. When you get a good grade on a test, accomplish a difficult goal, get any type of praise on the job, or do anything no matter how small that was hard for you to do yet did something for the better, you have to reward yourself either by buying yourself something new, taking a hot bath, taking a walk, or just something no matter how small to reward and nurture yourself. One of the things that I learned in Weight Watchers is to write yourself a love letter. Just sit down with a piece of paper and compliment yourself on all the things that you are doing right or have done right. You will be told by many different people and by the world all the things you did wrong far more than you will ever be told what you did right. You have to build up where others have torn down and train your mind to not continue put yourself down.
Kids follow the behavior that they see in their parents. Girls' self esteem is considered good until they hit puberty and then it starts to go down hill. They typically model the behavior they see in the same sex parent, So, if you are a mother or a teacher or some kind of role model and you are always putting yourself down they will follow that example and do the same things themselves. If you do not stick up for yourself and not allow other people to treat you like garbage they will follow your example and do the same thing. That is why it is good to teach the next generation that they need to love and respect themselves by loving and respecting ourselves.
Take Care of Yourself
Care for the Caregiver
Women are taught from an early age to take care of everyone but themselves. They work themselves to the point of illness by trying to please everyone else but themselves. That is why when in an airplane they tell parents that if the plane is going down to put the oxygen mask on themselves first and then their child. If you put the oxygen mask on your child first you will not be getting any oxygen and just suffocate. If the child passes out do to loss of oxygen, once you have your oxygen mask on, you can always revive them by putting on their oxygen mask. You have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else. Girls are taught from a young age to put themselves on the back burner and not consider themselves important and worthwhile. This is why many people stay in an abusive job or relationship. They feel that they have to take care of everyone but themselves. Women and girls need to learn to nurture and care for themselves and learn to say, "NO" when someone or something is demanding too much from them.
Just Be Yourself
Do Not Compare Yourself to Others
Women and girls are constantly bombarded with images from the media about how we should look. Many people went to a hair salon and copied Jennifer Aniston's haircut off of the hit T.V. show "Friends". We see images of women on magazines who are in proportions that are not realistic to how modern women actually look. We have the T.V., the internet, magazines in the grocery aisle, and constant criticism about the way in which women look or are supposed to look. That is of course not the only source. We compare ourselves to our friends, our relatives, and other people not just in the category of physical appearance but in popularity, success, financial wealth, education, intelligence, or any perceived difference in which you feel you fall short in comparison with someone else. It is very hard to do. But, you have to only compare yourself to yourself. You should only look at the progress you have made no matter how small or insignificant to the rest of the world. There will always be someone smarter, more beautiful, more successful, etc. You have to learn to stop comparing yourself to those people and just love you for being you.
What is Real Vs. the Media
Build Each Other Up
One of the things society does is tear women down. Girls feel that they have to compete with one another. Even in the biblical times, there was competition among women like the two sisters Rachel and Leah. People have this impression that by putting someone else down they will make themselves look better. It does not work. If you build someone up and compliment them you are also building yourself up.The compliments have to be honest because if they are fake it will not work. If you do not see the beauty in others you will not see it within yourself. One of the things misogynists do fairly commonly is try to pit women and girls against each other. We need to learn to support each other and build each other up not tear each other down. Women and girls need to not only learn to build themselves up but build up one another as well. We are in this together.
Building Up Self Esteem
Know You are Not Alone
There are many books written about insecurity for women which is often related to low self esteem. The Christian books that I have read that deal with that issue for women include So Long Insecurity You Have been A Bad Friend to Us by Beth Moore and Untangled by Carey Scott. If you like poetry, there is a book called, God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise which deals with many different issues that a modern woman faces. The same author wrote a historical fantasy called, Spellbound which deals with many issues women face like jealousy and low self esteem.
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