by Beth Shapouri
Getty Images Today marks the kick-off of the 4th Annual Dove Self-Esteem Weekend program to help take care of something they see as a major problem: 6 out of 10 girls stop doing the things they love because they feel bad about their looks. That's why their hashtag this year is #girlsunstoppable--they want girls and women to feel good enough about themselves to be empowered to follow their dreams. A pretty great cause, in my opinon--and one we could all benefit from. Which is why I asked their our global self-esteem ambassador, Jess Weiner for tips any woman can use to feel amazing about herself. Here's her advice:
1) Love your "little girl"
"That's right--whether you are a mother of a daughter or not, you have to learn how to parent that little girl within," she says. "You know, the 10 year old who felt like a dork when she got braces and refused to smile for an entire month. Or the 13 year old who developed before all her friends and was called horrible names that still makes her hate her breasts today. Or that 15 year old who dieted mercilessly to fit into the Spring Break bathing suit and who since still has a distorted view of her body image and weight. As adult women we have to learn how to ease the pain of our inner little girl -- to realize that we still might carry her issues with us and that it can be time to heal them and let them go."
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2) Say YES to saying NO.
This is a big one! Weiner explains, "The women I know who have the most consistent sense of high self-esteem are the women who value their own time. They protect their down time, they explore areas of interest that make them curious and they are unafraid to say No. We spend so much time in our lives doing things we don't want to do: dinners, coffee's, brunches -- with people we don't really fill up on. It's ok to say NO. To opt for a quiet day or reading or doing the laundry, of sitting under the tree daydreaming, or taking that art class you've been thinking about for months. We have to say YES to our inner lives and NO to social obligatory things that leave us feeling empty. Making that choice increases your sense of self-esteem because you are ending up choosing...you!"
3) Get Out of Your Own Way
"When you are in super body image beat down mode -- one of the best ways to break that negative cycle is to get out of your own way. To give to someone else. To literally spend time doing something for someone who needs you. For me, it's hosting workshops with Dove, helping to make girls unstoppable. Just an hour giving time to someone or something else can make you look at your life completely differently. And if you invest in this principle on a regular basis you will find the negative cycles of your life diminishing because you can't really feel badly about yourself while you are in service to someone else. It's just well....impossible."
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4) See Your Friends and Family
"And I don't mean on Facebook or Instagram," says Weiner. "Call them. Make a plan. See someone in person. The way our brain and hormones react to real life touch, eye-contact, and the sound of a loved one's voice is scientifically proven to boost morale. Don't settle on the 2D virtual version of support. No texting or IM's. Go and get (and give) some love to a close person in your life and watch your esteem raise instantly. It's silly that this even has to be a "tip" but in today's busy tech lifestyle -- we forget that nothing (and I mean NOTHING) trumps holding the hand or hearing the voice of someone you adore."
5) Leave A Legacy
"It sickens me to say this but I've spent over half of my life worrying about my weight and appearance. But now I can truly say that my focus is on something much greater than the size of my jeans or whether or not I'm having a good hair day. I am focusing on leaving a legacy. Yep, it sounds grand because it is! I now focus my energy during the day on asking myself these questions: 'Is what I'm doing going to make a difference on the world?' 'Am I truly helping someone in their life?' 'How can I challenge myself more deeply?' -- these questions have me learning a new language, jumping into a work project with my biggest career goals to date, and planning more volunteer time. But it also has me watching my words, managing my thoughts, and making sure I'm spending this valuable time here on earth loving the body I'm in and appreciating the beauty I already am. Changing my big-picture objective in life has made me see myself differently and that didn't just boost my self-esteem - it dramatically shifted it in my life."
All great advice here. Which of these hit a nerve with you?
P.S. Find out more about the program at dove.us/social-mission.
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by Beth Shapouri